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Digital Main Street Program
The City expanded the Digital Main Street program which offers tools, resources, connections to trusted digital vendors, online learning and a Digital Service Squad who provide one-on-one virtual assistance.
Working with community partners, the program has helped small businesses with everything from websites and social media, to launching e-commerce platforms.
Digital Main Street was created by the City and Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) in 2016 and the expansion of the Digital Main Street program is a part of the Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force’s short-term economic support and recovery plan for Toronto’s businesses.
Digital Main Street – ShopHERE
ShopHERE provides Toronto’s independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store, which will be built and launched for free in just a matter of days. Hands-on support will be provided throughout the entire process from volunteer website developers and marketing and business students.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of having an online presence to sell goods and services. This is amplified that much more with the curbside pick up approach in the first stage of opening Ontario’s retail businesses.
What do businesses and artists get as part of ShopHERE?
- Their choice of a template online Shopify store customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
- Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store.
- Training and support covering digital marketing, shipping and operating their online store.
- Access to free tools and various credits (from over 10 partners) to help support the launch of their online stores.
The ShopHERE program is open to any businesses or artist that meets the following requirements:
- Pays commercial property taxes in the City of Toronto
- Have fewer than 10 employees, or fewer than 25 if they are a café, restaurant, or bar
- Not be a corporate chain or franchise
- OR must be an artist located within the City of Toronto.
To sign up for this program and receive a free online store you can fill out the application form here: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/
Digital Main Street provides other great resources for small businesses:
- A full interactive web platform: access to a free Digital Assessment for business owners, a comprehensive vendor directory that businesses can leverage, as well as a cache of thought leadership content providing businesses with best practices, how-to guides, and real life examples of businesses going through digital transformation.
- Digital Online Training through the Digital Main Street Academy: a full suite of educational and instructive online training sessions to help main street businesses grow by adopting digital tools and technologies.
- The Digital Service Squad will be continuing to service businesses remotely in area’s where they are active. If you have any questions about booking an appointment with the Digital Service Squad or to check if there is a DSS servicing your region – please email email@example.com
- Camp Tech Training: a series of free workshops and webinars, delivered by our training partner, Camp Tech, that will be available until June 30, 2020. Business owners are encouraged to sign up early for one of our four new webinars or attend a local in-person workshop. To check for workshops in your area or to sign up for our webinars, visit www.obiaa.com/training.
- Digital Vendors: over 700 digital vendors across Ontario have registered with DMS to give businesses access to numerous resources that can assist with their digital transformation.
- Resources: digitalmainstreet.ca is a comprehensive resource of interesting case studies, articles, tips and techniques; everything your small business needs for your digital transformation