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Burlington Launches Digital Service Squad to Help Small Businesses Adopt Online Technologies with the help of $50K Digital Main Street Ontario Grant

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*Please see below a media release issued by Burlington Economic Development.

BURLINGTON, ON – September 22, 2020 — Burlington Economic Development on behalf of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) has received a $50,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario for a Digital Service Squad (DSS) to help main street small businesses use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.  Funding for the grant is provided by FedDev Ontario, a federal program. The squad will begin engaging businesses in Burlington in early Fall.

Click this link for a backgrounder on the Digital Service Squad and how it works

BERN is an initiative led by Team Burlington and is comprised of Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Tourism Burlington and the Aldershot Village BIA.

Anita Cassidy, Executive Director of Burlington Economic Development is thrilled to bring this program to Burlington.

“The Digital Main Street funding will provide our small business community with capital they urgently need to recover from COVID-19 and prepare to thrive well into the future. Burlington small businesses make up 65% of our business base, and supporting them is a priority for Team Burlington. BERN has worked diligently over the last several months to really understand what our business community needs to get through this difficult time, so we are very proud to bring this program to support businesses and help them go digital.” — Anita Cassidy, Burlington Ec Dev Executive Director

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.

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 Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario congratulated Burlington on the launch of the program.

“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the keystone of our economic recovery. 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 Burlington 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.” — Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) is also a key partner on delivering the program to communities across Ontario.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street is needed more than ever. 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 like Burlington.” — Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA

Interested companies are invited to request more information on Digital Main Street Ontario and the Digital Service Squad program at digitalmainstreet@burlington.ca.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

Over the last several months, BERN has worked to remove some of the barriers businesses have been facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – assisting manufacturers to retool and connecting businesses with federal and provincial resources. I’m very pleased to see Digital Main Street Ontario coming to our community to help us all in our continued efforts to support our small local businesses. This funding will go a long way in assisting our small business owners who are facing unforeseen pressures to go digital in a very short amount of time. It’s great that with this program, we’ll be able to help them do just that.

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600