DBIA Launches Digital Main Street Service Squad

Downtown Peterborough is about to make a digital leap.

Starting in April, the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area will be leading the local Digital Main Street initiative with a Digital Service Squad to help main street small businesses improve their online capabilities.

The DBIA received a $10,000 grant from Digital Main Street as well as support from Community Futures Peterborough and the DBIA’s own resources to establish a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses in the downtown area enhance their use of digital tools and techniques to better promote and sell online. The Squad will see a trained online specialist visit and assist businesses at no cost to help them set up Google Business, conduct a digital-readiness assessment and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.

“This program is going to make our downtown more competitive and vibrant,” says DBIA Executive Director Terry Guiel. “We know we have to meet our customers where it’s most convenient for them. The beautiful bricks and mortar physical locations will always be the core of what makes downtown what it is, but we need to help our businesses make the best use of their resources for promotions, serving their customers, and reaching new markets.”

A joint program delivered by the Province of Ontario’s Main Street Enhancement Initiative and the Ontario BIA Association, Digital Main Street helps improve how small businesses use digital tools and techniques to become more successful. Today’s digital economy is vital to small businesses, and DMS will help them adopt new digital technologies from e-commerce and social media to back-office systems such as payroll and inventory.

“The Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area has taken a lead on using the power of Digital Main Street to help keep their downtown core vibrant and strong,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario BIA Association. “Our small main street businesses are a critical contributor to Ontario’s economic, social and cultural health, and it’s vital that we work together to ensure their success. Digital Main Street will help the main street small businesses of Peterborough compete in an increasingly digital world.”

Digital Main Street offers two types of grants:Digital Transformation Grant:

1. There are 2,000 grants of $2,500 each available to qualifying small “main street” businesses across Ontario to help them adopt new digital technologies.

2. Digital Service Squad Grant: There are 300 grants of $10,000 each available to qualifying municipal or business groups across Ontario to develop and implement local squads of digital vendors and experts to directly help small businesses.

Businesses within the downtown area will be introduced to the Digital Service Squad at the end of April, which will be available to businesses in the downtown area. For further information or to participate in the program, contact Communications Manager Joel Wiebe at joel@downtownptbo.ca or call 705-748-4774.