This free program has helped Mississauga businesses increase digital reach and improve revenue
While there's finally a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, there’s no denying how difficult the last year has been for business owners — which is why the Economic Development Office has continued to support local Mississauga businesses through a variety of programs and resources, including the well received Digital Main Street program.
Digital Main Street helps main street businesses (small, independent brick-and-mortar establishments) reach new heights by taking their business online. The program provides an online learning platform along with several training programs — and best of all, it's free! Applications are open now.
In our increasingly digital world, making sure your business has an online presence is an absolute must.
"Mississauga is home to over 90,000 small businesses. Our digital technology specialists work directly with your business to review their digital footprint and provide guidance and support through digital tools and technologies," the city says.
Business owners will get one-on-one assistance from the Digital Service Squad (a team of digital experts) in order to:
Complete a Digital Assessment of your business
Help your business gain a basic web presence
Teach owners how to enhance their existing web presence through tools such as Google My Business, social media, or e-commerce
Provide guidance, resources, and recommendations on growing digitally
Complimentary services include identity & brand management, content creation, 360 degree photos of your space, and help in establishing your business' website and social media presence. The free digital service squad menu has a list of services offered through the program.
In the past, the Digital Main Street initiative has helped more than 15,000 main street small businesses across Ontario find support and increase their revenues. In Mississauga alone over 451 businesses have been helped by Digital Main Street, including Supermoon Cheesecakes, a Japanese cheesecake shop and bakery located on Queen Street South. This initiative is part of Mississauga's Economic Recovery Plan, outlining opportunities to help the city's business community build back better.
"Partnering with Digital Main Street last year was a turning point for our bakery. It really opened our eyes to the possibilities of growing our business in the digital economy," said Mona Halabi, co-owner of Supermoon Cheesecakes. "Little did we know that the upgrades we would be making to our online presence, be it through social media advertising or building an e-commerce enabled website, would be critical for surviving the challenges brought on by COVID-19 this year. The Digital Service Squad was incredibly helpful throughout the application process."
The Himalaya Restaurant in Malton called Digital Main Street an "amazing program" that helped the restaurant digitally market itself in a number of different ways, such as setting up a TikTok account.
"When the pandemic started we were just on UberEats, but the Digital Main Street team introduced Doordash, SkipTheDishes and Ritual for home delivery, which helped a lot in lockdown to sustain our business," said the restaurant. "The grant money was extremely helpful and we used it for our website update and social media."
The Digital Main Street program won't be around forever, so local businesses are strongly encouraged to apply soon and get the help they need. The program ends on February 28, 2022.
As part of the #MississaugaMade campaign, the city has also launched #MySaugaSummer, an extensive guide of all the best places in Mississauga to enjoy the summer (such as local businesses, festivals, farmers markets, and fishing on Lake Ontario).
Business owners are also invited to share how COVID-19 has impacted their businesses by completing this quick survey. The survey is anonymous and confidential and created to help better understand what kind of help needs to be provided to Mississauga business owners.
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