Collingwood Expands Digital Service Squad to Help Small Businesses Get More Digital

September 22, 2020
Category: 
Business Buzz, Corporate Service
SGB Business Centre Logo

Collingwood, ON [Tuesday, September 22, 2020] - The Town of Collingwood and the South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre have received a $75,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario, funded by FedDev Ontario.  This grant will extend their Digital Service Squads (DSS) to help small businesses use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. 

The County of Simcoe and the towns of Collingwood and the Town of the Blue Mountains committed funding earlier in the year to support a continuous Digital Service Squad strategy in the South Georgian Bay and Simcoe County region.  The squad can now service businesses in specific downtown areas in Collingwood, Town of the Blue Mountains, Meaford, Clearview, Wasaga Beach, Adjala-Tosorontio, Penetanguishene, Tiny, and New Tecumseth.

“We are excited to have been awarded a second round of funding to support the ongoing efforts of our Digital Service Squad, which originally launched in June 2019,” said Tim Newton, Manager of the South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre.  “This will help expand DSS services by hiring new squad specialists, offering more funding to businesses, increasing webinars, and continuing virtual café chats.”

DSS offers several key services:

Initial Consultation

A 30 minutes free discussion with a squad specialist to assess business goals and identify what program best matches their need.

Webinars and Weekly Virtual Café Chats

Squad members will be offering more webinars, inviting experts to speak on a variety of digital transformation topics.  Tuesday morning virtual Café chats will return, giving small business leaders a chance to network and discuss issues others in the region are facing.

Digital Audit

Eligible businesses receive an audit of their digital footprint including an extensivereview of their online properties. This includes recommendations  to enhance their website, Google My Business listing, search ranking, social media presence, and more. The service includes additional consultation support, educate,  and implement those recommendations.       

Transformation Grants

Squads will 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).

Digital Service Squads are fundamental to Digital Main Street’s design and success. The trained specialists meet with small businesses, at no cost, to help them improve their online presence. In South Georgian Bay, DSS augment the extensive services already offered by the regional Business Development Centre in downtown Collingwood.  The squad is led by Ben Frisch of bfresh.media, a digital expert passionate about helping businesses enhance their digital footprint, especially during a time of such great need.  For all the details on the services and scheduling an initial consultation, please visit http://enterprisecentre.ca/digitalservicesquad/

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 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. 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 Collingwood and South Georgian Bay 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.” (The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

“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 Collingwood and in communities across South Georgian Bay.”

 

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ABOUT the Business Development Centre

Located in downtown Collingwood, the regional Business Development Centre (BDC) is a one-stop-shop that helps business thrive in one of the top entrepreneurial towns in Canada.  The BDC offers a full range of services to help business start and grow, find land & space, network and secure financing.  The South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre, and the Digital Service Squad, are some of the partners at the BDC, specializing in delivering programs such as Digital Main Street, Starter Company Plus and Summer Company. They also provide free consultation services, educational and networking events throughout South Georgian Bay.  www.BusinessDevelopmentCentre.info  

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

Media Contact:

Tim Newton, Manager – South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre. tnewton@collingwood.ca
705 446 3355