The City of Mississauga’s Digital Service Squad (DSS) is back again to help small businesses thrive in Mississauga. Made possible through a $67,500 grant awarded to the City by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA), the Squad will support the digital transformation of local main street businesses through the adoption of digital tools and technologies.
“We know many of our small businesses have faced difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d like to thank the federal and provincial governments, and OBIAA for this grant, which couldn’t have come at a better time to help Mississauga businesses become more tech-savvy, remain versatile and competitive,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Our local businesses are the backbone of our community. “This grant will help give them in recovering from the impacts of the pandemic – which is critical now to help them increase sales locally and be competitive globally.”
Funding for the grant was provided by FedDev Ontario, a federal program. Made up of five digital technology specialists, the DSS will help main street small businesses this fall and winter in Mississauga’s Business Improvement Areas (BIA). The Squad will achieve this by focusing on digital assessments, building an online brand, attracting clients, marketing and selling their products through the use of digital tools and technology, and seeking support from the BIAs to reach their members and local BIA businesses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street (DMS) 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. By helping main street small businesses enhance their digital presence, we want them to be able to embrace the latest technologies and benefit from the expertise of the Digital Service Squad. We hope this grant gives them this opportunity to prepare and flourish well into the future.”
The Squad program will be delivered though the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC) under the City’s Economic Development Office (EDO). MBEC provides guidance and support to help individuals start and grow their small business, including:
- free business information and guidance
- low cost business seminars and workshops
- low cost online business courses
- training and mentorship programs
- young entrepreneur program
“The MBEC and our Economic Development Office are excited to again run the Digital Main Street program in Mississauga. After an incredibly successful program in 2019, we feel providing digital support to our small businesses is more important now than ever, especially given the impacts of COVID-19,” said Bonnie Brown, Director, Economic Development. “Main Street businesses are the heart of our community and the DMS program will allow for these businesses to survive and even thrive with the support of our Digital Service Squad.”
For more information on the DSS program, please visit thefutureisunlimited.ca/small-business/programs-and-resources/digital-main-street-mississauga/.
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.