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City of Burlington and Team Burlington Calling for Renewed Funding to Support Future Proofing & Digital Adoption for Local Business

LOGO_Team Burlington_Business Advocacy Update

*Please see below a joint news release issued by the City of Burlington and Team Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. — Feb. 22, 2021 — On Feb. 3, 2021 Burlington City Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for the Federal government to renew funding for the Digital Main Street (DMS) Future Proof program. Current funding for the DMS Future Proof program ends in February 2021. Burlington’s small business community continues to face barriers to technology adoption and a lack of resources to implement necessary technologies to remain competitive given the impacts of COVID-19.

Burlington welcomed the development of the DMS Future Proof Program in 2020 to support local businesses as they transformed their business model in light of the impacts of the pandemic and the acceleration of digital sales and servicing.  The need for digital transformation of business models is not just in local retail and main street business sectors but also in manufacturing and more traditional industries.  The expansion of the Digital Main Street (DMS) program in 2020 to include the DMS Future Proof components DMS Labs, Transformation Teams and Community Collaboration projects administered through the Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) has been a critical support in helping businesses adopt new technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution was passed, in partnership with the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington and Haltech Regional Innovation Centre, calling on the Federal government to:

  • Work with the Regional Innovation Centres to renew and expand funding to the Digital Main Street Future Proof Program as soon as possible to help our businesses adopt new technologies to support their digital transformation and adapt their business model due to COVID-19.
  • Explore opportunities to provide additional support to our main street business sector in adopting digital technologies and future proofing their business models.
  • Support Canada’s technology sector to develop and bring to market new technologies that can support businesses in Canada and globally to adapt to the new business realities following the impacts of COVID-19 to both Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B) business models.

The resolution was developed in partnership with the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington, which includes representatives from Tourism Burlington, Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Chamber of Commerce and two business improvement areas – Aldershot Village BIA and the Burlington Downtown Business Association. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith sit on the BERN. Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith and Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna have both being longtime business owners in Burlington and Councillor Bentivegna also has a long history in the hospitality industry.

“Extending the Digital Main Street Future Proof funding can enable organizations that assist local businesses in their recovery efforts as the economy begins to open again.  These supports are extremely important at this time and into the coming year as many businesses are discovering new ways of doing business through digital technologies.  Assisting businesses through digital transformation of revenue streams can certainly help future proof them from further lockdowns and restrictions from the ongoing pandemic.” — Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, City of Burlington

“I thank my Council colleagues, Burlington Economic Recovery network (BERN), Team Burlington and Haltech for their continued support of small business. The continuation of this Digital Main Street Future Proof program is vital for small local businesses to survive during these difficult and uncertain times. This program will add a higher level of digital expertise that could be available to businesses in achieving next generation technology.  These new digital techniques will support local businesses during lockdowns and restrictions as well as improve the transformation of their e-commerce, and websites for post Covid.” — Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna, City of Burlington

Haltech Regional Innovation Centre provides entrepreneurial education, advisory services and strategic connections to technology start-up and scale-up companies in Halton Region. Since its inception, Haltech has worked with over 800 technology and innovation companies. In its last fiscal year, clients of Haltech generated over $63 million dollars of revenue, created 428 jobs, and raised $21.5M in capital.

The Chair of BERN Randall Smallbone, Chair of Haltech Regional Innovation Centre Jamie Barron and Mayor Meed Ward co-signed a letter to Federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly including a copy of the resolution calling for this critical DMS Future Proof program funding during COVID-19.

“Now more than ever we need the Federal government to continue to fund the DMS Future Proof program, so that local businesses can have some hope of continuing into the future.  The pandemic is not ending anytime soon and will in all likelihood impact businesses into 2022.” — Randall Smallbone, Chair of Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN)

“Small business is the backbone of the economy and with reopening just starting, our main street businesses need the advantages of technology and the support to reap it’s benefits now more than ever. With extended funding, our local businesses will be in a position to fully embrace the DMS Future Proof opportunities to overcome the barriers to technology adoption and accelerate recovery.” — Jamie Barron, Chair of Haltech Regional Innovation Centre

The Burlington and Halton Region business community have been leaders in the DMS Future Proof program including:

  • 25% of DMS Labs projects have been in Burlington and Halton Region
  • 18% of Transformation Teams projects have been in Burlington and Halton Region
  • 3 Community Collaboration projects have been led by Haltech Regional Innovation Centre and Halton Region including TrustD SpaceAll Checked InMy Well Self and further projects are in development.

The City of Burlington’s fundamental priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to protect the health and safety of Burlington residents, employers and employees, and support our business community to survive the economic impacts of COVID-19 public health measures.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

We’ve seen firsthand how critical the Digital Main Street program has been in helping our businesses go digital and adopt new technologies to stay afloat through the COVID-19 storm. Our small business community still faces ongoing barriers to adapting new technology coupled with a lack of resources. Federal and provincial government funding is crucial to keep and expand this important support program. I also want to thank BERN for their exceptional advocacy work on behalf of our local small businesses throughout this pandemic and this latest push for the expansion of the Digital Main Street program.

RELATED LINKS:

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 consolidated page for information and updates on the work of the provincial Ministers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force is available at bit.ly/COVIDVaccineUpdates.

Halton Region has also created a dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for up to date information on the status of our COVID19 vaccination program.

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