Laurentian Valley Launches Digital Service Squad to Help Small Businesses Adopt Online Technologies - Receives $7500 Digital Main Street Grant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                           NOVEMBER 13, 2020

Pembroke, ON.  The Township of Laurentian Valley has received a $7,500 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario for a Digital Service Squad (DSS) to help small downtown businesses use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.  Funding for the grant is provided by the federal program FedDev Ontario. The squad member will begin visiting small businesses in communities across the Laurentian Valley this month.  

“We are thrilled to have received the Digital Main Street Service Squad Grant,” said Steve Bennet, Mayor of the Township of the Laurentian Valley. “As a large geographic municipality, we lack a centralized core and do not have a formal ‘downtown.’ As a result, it can be challenging for us to provide support to our small businesses. We are grateful to all the funding organizations of this program to extend the guidelines to our rural-commercial zoning areas. We are excited to see the digital growth of these businesses, especially during these difficult times.”

Established in 2018, Digital Main Street Ontario was recently extended thanks to an investment of $42.5 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and $7.45 million from the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). The nearly $50-million investment will help small businesses across Ontario to pivot their operations to include online business models, regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers. The Ontario BIA Association administers the DMS grant program to Ontario’s main street small businesses. 

“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the keystone of our economic recovery,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “That is why we have invested in Digital Main Street to help these enterprises adapt to doing business in a digital world, and take advantage of the record number of people shopping online. Congratulations to the Township of Laurentian Valley on the launch of your Digital Service Squad. The work you’re doing with small businesses in your community will help keep our main streets vibrant, support good, local jobs and help our economy come back strong.”

Digital Service Squads are fundamental to Digital Main Street’s design and success, with trained specialists who meet with small businesses, at no cost, to help them improve their online presence. The squads assist with a number of activities, including developing a Google My Business profile, enhancing their social media presence and providing support for basic website and e-commerce set-up.  Squads will also assist qualified small businesses through the application process for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant, which includes an online assessment, online training modules and the development of a Digital Transformation Plan (DTP).

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street is needed more than ever,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA.  “We know that businesses that participated in Digital Main Street last year were better able to cope when the pandemic hit, and we’re excited that FedDev Ontario and Ontario are providing the funding to extend this important program to help businesses in communities across the Laurentian Valley.”

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ABOUT the Township of Laurentian Valley

The Township of Laurentian Valley is known throughout the Upper Ottawa Valley as an area of distinct charm and natural beauty. Residents enjoy a rural-urban lifestyle second to none with a balance of small urban and rural areas with a beautiful natural heritage found in many forests, rivers and lakes throughout.  Created on January 1, 2000, the Township has a population of 9,387 persons and is experiencing significant growth as it continues to capitalize on its strategic location in Renfrew County.

ABOUT OBIAA

OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. The Association supports and advocates on behalf of its members through the building and nurturing of strong relationships and partnerships. OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.

ABOUT Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street is an innovative program designed to help main street small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, grants and Digital Service Squads teams of street-level experts that help main street small businesses manage and grow their operations through technology adoption. The program was originally created in 2016 by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and a group of strategic partners including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Shopify. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca.

ABOUT Digital Main Street Ontario

Digital Main Street was expanded across all of Ontario in 2018 with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the $38 million Main Street Revitalization Initiative. It has been further extended through funding from FedDev Ontario and the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT).  The new round of funding includes $42.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, a national recovery initiative delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies. With $7.45 million from Ontario, this combined federal and provincial project will strengthen Ontario’s economic capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration, and will promote the development of a strong and diversified Ontario economy. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants

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Have questions? Please email Katie Tollis directly below.

Katie Tollis
Telephone:6137356290
Email: Katie Tollis
460 Witt Road
Pembroke, Ontario, Canada
K8A6W5

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