Ontario and Toronto gov’ts launch grant program for digitizing small businesses

While many small businesses are constantly trying to keep up with evolving digital business practices, they sometimes struggle to implement a strong digital plan that includes an up-to-date website or building a stable ecommerce presence.

To help small businesses adopt digital technologies, the Ontario government and the City of Toronto have announced the launch of the Starter Company Plus — Digital Main Street Program.

The program will provide main street businesses, located in any of Toronto’s 82 Business Improvement Areas, with grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, as well as one-on-one guidance from an Enterprise Toronto small business advisor. Participants will also receive access to eight half-day training sessions aimed at helping the program’s participants develop an improved digital plan.

The training session will be led by tech training company Camp Tech, which will provide education and guidance to participating main street businesses as they work through their digital transformation plan.

“The health of Toronto’s neighbourhoods are interconnected with their commercial main streets,” said Chris Rickett, manager of entrepreneurship services at the City of Toronto. “Working to ensure Toronto’s small business community is embracing the latest in technology in order to grow their businesses is one way we are supporting the health of Toronto’s neighbourhoods.”

The Starter Company Plus program is not the first to provide support for Toronto’s main street businesses. In September 2016, the City of Toronto also launched the Digital Main Street Lab, a retail tech incubator that focuses on launching retail tech companies that can work with main street businesses in Toronto.

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.