Despite the pandemic and its restrictions on personal interactions largely behind us, there’s no sign that people’s habits are going to revert right back to 2019.
This is especially true when we talk about our online habits. The expectation to find what you want, book an appointment, order a product, or communicate with businesses online is expected to increase.
Additionally, businesses eager to move out of the pandemic are finding it tricky to hire enough staff to meet their goals. Digital automation is key to making do with less, including integrated inventory systems, team management software, and automatic lead generation. Any tool that cuts down on workload has become a valuable asset to maximize the effectiveness of the people they have.
To help local businesses make effective digital investments, the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce has re-launched our Digital Main Street program.
The Chamber has received a grant from the Digital Main Street program for a two-year Digital Service Squad (DSS) program, which provides small business owners with the tools, personalized technical support and access to funding needed to digitally transform their businesses. The role of the DSS is to empower small businesses across the region to navigate new tools to remain competitive.
The DSS is the cornerstone of Digital Main Street, with trained specialists who meet with brick-and-mortar small businesses, at no cost, to help them complete an online assessment and to introduce them to online training modules designed to build their digital knowledge and skills. This one-on-one DSS assistance includes support for basic website setup, Google Business Profiles, 360⁰ photos, social media presence, and much more. Squad members are also trained to help qualified small businesses with the development of their Digital Transformation Plan and then with the application process for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.
To qualify for the Digital Transformation Grant, business owners must:
• Have a permanent brick-and-mortar location in Ontario
• Employ 1-50 employees
• Pay commercial property tax either directly or through commercial rent
• Be a registered business in Ontario and/or incorporated
Applications for the Digital Transformation Grant opened on June 21, with eligible brick-and-mortar small businesses able to apply for a $2,500 grant to adopt digital tools and techniques. The current intake period for applications will remain open until October 31, 2022 (or until funds have been exhausted). For more information about how to apply to the DTG or to access digital tools and training to improve your business, visit https://digitalmainstreet.ca/ to register on Digital Main Street and begin your journey.
Additionally, the federal government is launching the Canada Digital Adoption Program though the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, offering a grant of up to $2,400 toward adopting e-commerce solutions. The program also comes with a network of e-commerce advisors and our DSS can assist businesses in their e-commerce plan. For more details, visit https://www.peterboroughchamber.ca/canadian-digital-adoption-plan.html
To book a free consultation with a Digital Service Squad Team Member, contact Jacie Condon-Houghton at 705-201-1663 or Jacie@acorn30.com.
Investing in digital is key for all local businesses. We have experts available and grants to help make it happen. There’s no better time for local businesses to step up their digital game.