Milton digital support program extended to help more small businesses

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Published August 24, 2021 at 2:44 pm

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The Town of Milton received a $25,000 grant from the province on Tuesday to extend a program that helps local small businesses.

The funding from Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program will help the Digital Service Squad (DSS) continue their service which provides trained digital specialists to local small businesses to help them adopt online technologies and digitally transform their sales, marketing and back-office operations.

“Small businesses are an integral part of our local economy, local identity and the heritage of Milton,” said Milton Mayor Gord Krantz. “Milton’s Digital Service Squad ensures business owners continue to have access to free resources and the technical support they need to not only recover through this pandemic, but to continue modernizing services for years to come.”

Renewed funding of $12.37 million for the Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program (OGP) from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev) includes $3 million for the Digital Service Squad program and $7.5 million to provide 3,000 Digital Transformation Grants to qualified brick-and-mortar small businesses.

The OGP is administrated by the Ontario BIA Association, in partnership with the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA).

“Ontario small businesses are the heart of our neighbourhoods and the economic foundation of our communities,” said Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Our government is committed to being there for them as they reopen. This additional support will give these businesses the digital boost they need to raise their profile and rebuild better than ever.”

The cornerstone of Digital Main Street, these squads consist of trained specialists who meet with brick-and-mortar small businesses at no cost, to help them complete an online assessment and introduce them to online training modules to build their knowledge and skills.

These experts can also assist businesses with developing their Digital Transformation Plan (DTP) and applying for a one-time $2,500 grant to implement it.

“In the past 17 months, as small businesses across the province fought to stay open and keep customers engaged online, Digital Service Squads were there to help,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA. “Squads jumped online themselves during lockdowns to help virtually, and businesses have consistently told us how important the DSS were to their success through the pandemic.

“We are thrilled to support the Town of Milton DSS and help them provide assistance to more small businesses than ever.”

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