Business and Operations
Ontario pizzerias encouraged to go digital with new program
By Canadian Pizza
By Canadian Pizza
The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program designed to help Ontario businesses create or improve their online presence and generate jobs for students.
The new program was announced in June by Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, joined by Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
Through the $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, bakeries will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:
- shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario’s strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small bakeries compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
- Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
- Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.
In addition, the Recovery Activation Program, operated through the Toronto Region Board of Trade, will help businesses grow and digitize their operations with custom consulting sessions, online resource sharing, learning webcasts and business planning. As a result of the investment announced today, the program will be offered province-wide and at no cost to businesses.
“As local economies across Ontario reopen, we’re focused on ensuring that our main streets don’t just survive, but thrive,” said Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.”These businesses are the backbone of our economy, a source of local jobs – and local pride.”
“The global marketplace is rapidly changing, and in order to compete and succeed Ontario must adapt,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “By using innovative tools and technologies, Digital Main Street will help our businesses in expanding their reach to meet new markets and adjust to the new realities of doing business during the pandemic and into the next phase of economic recovery.”
About 60 per cent of Ontario’s small enterprises have a website, and only seven per cent have an online payment solution.
In response, the Ontario government is providing significant support to small business. Along with the Digital Main Street platform, the province is investing an additional $150 million in rural broadband which will help open the digital road for many Ontario small businesses. In addition, the province has proposed a ban on commercial evictions to help businesses that have been impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19.