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Innovation Insights: Digital Main Street: Future Proofing Niagara - innovate niagara

Innovation Insights: Digital Main Street: Future Proofing Niagara

Oct01

Are you a main street business looking for the right digital tools and technologies to help you survive and thrive in a digital world?

It’s no secret that in recent years, consumer patterns have shifted to include more online spending. While many consumers prefer to support local businesses and Canadian products, the modern urban lifestyle often prioritizes the convenience of an online experience. Compounded by COVID-19 closures and ongoing restrictions, the need to have a robust online presence has never been more urgent.

Digital Main Street is committed to ensuring that main street businesses can not only survive but thrive in an online world. With incredibly successful programs such as ShopHERE powered by Google, Digital Transformation Grants, and Digital Service Squad,Digital Main Street has helped hundreds of main street small businesses create or improve upon their online presence.

Digital Main Street is led by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association. To augment existing support, Digital Main Street has launched the Future Proof Program. Future Proof is made up of several initiatives: Transformation Teams, Digital Main Street Lab and the Community Collaboration Program. Future Proof builds on existing COVID-19 supports offered by the federal government and aims at addressing some of the challenges that have newly arisen.

As part of a $57-million investment announced by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev) and the Province of Ontario to deliver Digital Main Street programming across the province, Innovate Niagara is working with its regional innovation partners Communitech, WEtech Alliance, Innovation Guelph, Innovation Factory and Haltech to support 5,200 small businesses and create more than 700 jobs for co-op students in the Southwestern part of the Province.

Transformation Teams offer individual businesses an opportunity to achieve a true digital transformation via a six-week engagement with an interdisciplinary team of marketing professionals, web designers and creators. The teams are made up of highly skilled students and recent grads, giving them valuable on the job training. Digital transformation plans help to create new business models, develop, and implement digital marketing strategies; maximize digital tools and more. Applications for Transformation Teams projects are now being accepted.

In launching Future Proof, Digital Main Street aims at creating lasting improvements for main street businesses on individual and community levels. For more information or to apply for Digital Main Street programming please visit digitalmainstreet.ca.