Chatham-Kent Economic Development has launched a new program to help businesses increase their digital footprint and work towards improved digital transformation across the municipality. Thanks to an $85,000 grant made available from the government of Ontario through Digital Main Street to fund a Digital Service Squad to help main street small businesses improve their online capabilities.
The three Digital Service Squad members, which are part of the Economic Development team, are reaching out to main street small businesses in Chatham-Kent to help enhance their use of digital tools and techniques to better evolve and grow. The team are trained specialists are working with businesses to conduct a providing no-cost digital-readiness assessment, help improve their presence in tools such as Google Business, and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.
“Our government is committed to helping small businesses improve their competitiveness, create jobs and attract investment,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “That’s why I’m so pleased that businesses in Chatham-Kent will benefit from the expertise of a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses embrace digital technology. Our investment in the Digital Main Street program will help to ensure that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.”
“The goal here is to enhance the use of digital tools and techniques for growth,” said Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham – Kent – Leamington. “The team specializes in working with businesses to conduct and provide no-cost digital-readiness assessment, help improve their presence with tools such as Google Business, and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.”
“There is no doubt that in today’s digital economy a strong digital footprint is essential for small businesses,” said Stuart McFadden, Director of Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “Our Digital Service Squad team is helping businesses adopt new digital technologies including e-commerce, social media, and important back-office systems such as payroll and inventory.”
McFadden added, “The Digital Service Squad team has been setup with some excellent technology including 360-degree cameras, tablets, and specialized software. We know that there is a need in our community and that they will be part of our strategy to help address this opportunity.”
A joint program funded by Government of Ontario and delivered by 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.
A formal kickoff is planned for November 12, 2019 as part of the TeCK Night: Beyond 2020 event being held at SOAR Innovation at 202 King Street, Chatham starting at 6 pm. The event, which will include comments from Mayor Darrin Canniff, is exploring the future of technology and innovation in 2020 and beyond.
“We are looking forward to introducing the Digital Service Squad to the community that night with opportunities for businesses to meet them and have a full discussion on Wednesday at the Business Development Tradeshow being held at the Bradley Convention Centre,” said Andrew Tompsett with Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “We have already been in discussion with many of our local Chambers and BIA’s and now is the time to start working directly with businesses.”
For more information about Chatham-Kent Economic Development and the Digital Service Squad, visit them online at www.investck.ca.
Representatives from Chatham-Kent Economic Development and Digital Main Street speaking to business owners at an event held earlier this year. Based on feedback from businesses, the Digital Service Squad team was formed.
- Chatham-Kent Digital Service Squad team:
- Irene Sispar
- Kevin Vadovic
- Zainab Oda
- To apply for the grant you must create a profile on www.digitalmainstreet.ca, complete the online Digital Assessment and complete the online training program.
- Learn more about Chatham-Kent Economic Development on our website: www.investck.ca
About the Ontario BIA Association
OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. The Association supports and advocates on behalf of its members through the building and nurturing of strong relationships and partnerships. OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.
About Digital Main Street
Digital Main Street is an innovative program designed to help main street small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, grants and Digital Service Squads teams of street-level experts that help main street small businesses manage and grow their operations through technology adoption. The program was originally created by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and a group of strategic partners including Google, MasterCard, Rogers, Microsoft and Shopify. The Province of Ontario expansion of Digital Main Street is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association. The Ontario expansion is part of the government’s $12 million Main Street Enhancement Initiative to create jobs and support communities across the province. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca
Marketing and Communications Officer, Economic Development Services
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Phone: 519-352-8401 x2039