Digital Main Street: E-volving Opportunities for Small Business
The Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA), in partnership with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Area’s (TABIA), has released its Digital Main Street progress report Digital Main Street: E-volving Opportunities for Small Business. The report showcases the impact of Digital Main Street (DMS) and its Ontario Grants Program (OGP) on the ability of Ontario small businesses to weather the pandemic and to rapidly adapt to the changes in technology and consumer behaviour for sustainable growth.
The report covers the past four years and data highlights include: 10,000 Digital Transformation Grants totaling over $24 million to small businesses across the province; almost $18 million in Digital Service Squad Grants covering 226 municipalities and creating 580 jobs; and providing digital training for over 33,000 business owners.
Recognizing the importance of the DMS program in reaching and supporting new businesses and new markets, the Government of Ontario followed through on their 2021 Fall Economic Statement commitment to invest an additional $40 million over the next two years. This renewed support is expected to help 32,000 small businesses embrace technology, work more efficiently, and generate new revenue streams that will sustain them through tough economic times and be ready for future long-term growth. The report supports the case that further investment in the DMS program will deliver positive short- and long-term results for small businesses that will help stimulate economic recovery and revitalize local communities.
Digital Main Street: E-volving Opportunities for Small Business and its accompanying video highlight the success of businesses using the power of digital tools and techniques, with the help of Digital Service Squad members, to generate new revenue streams, stay connected with customers and find back-end efficiencies. Much has been accomplished from 2018 to 2022:
- Over 45,700 brick-and-mortar small businesses in 226 municipalities served by DSS members, both in-person and virtually;
- More than 580 DSS members were hired to be part of DSS teams located across the province;
- More than $24.8 million in DTGs was distributed to 9,955 small businesses;
- Over 33,000 businesses participated in various DMS training on topics such as digital marketing, e-commerce and back-end systems.
The time to invest in digital transformation was yesterday, and it will be those small businesses who have invested in digital transformation that will be better able to withstand the recessionary consequences and be better positioned for long-term growth.