The program connects eligible businesses with digital experts for training, advisory support and development of their own digital transformation plans. Over the course of six months, participants will complete eight half-day training sessions provided by CampTech, a workshop provider known for their fun and welcoming in-person classes.
In 2015, GoDaddy and Redshift Research conducted a study of over 4,000 small businesses, and shockingly, 59% of Canadians reported that they don’t have a website. Of that, only one third have plans to build one. If you fall into that category, Jason Faber of CIRA has an excellent blog about why no business is too small to have a website you should read next.
With that data in mind, it's timely for a program like this to be introduced. Perhaps business owners don't see having a website as a priority because they simply aren't aware of how valuable they can be. Providing business leaders with education and tech literacy through the Digital Main Street program is a great first step in breaking down that barrier. Education is key.
Another barrier to getting small businesses online: cost. It's a widely held notion that professional websites are expensive, and of course they can be, but they don't have to be. There are a plethora of options available to small business owners - from working with an agency like abilibee, to going the DIY route - there is something out there for every budget. (PS: If you're curious about the kind of value you would receive in working with us, schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your goals.)
No matter which route to you decide to take - agency or DIY - the Digital Main Street program provides a grant of up to $2,500 to carry out your plan, which can include creating a new website, or other utilizing other digital marketing tools. If budget constraints have been holding you back, now is the time to take advantage of these funds.
In addition to the grant money, program participants also have access to vendors (like us!) who are committed to helping small businesses succeed online. As an added bonus, many vendors offer discounts and incentives that are available exclusively to businesses in the program.
Ready to apply? Visit www.toronto.ca/starterspace to find upcoming training sessions, and to register. If you have any difficulty, feel free to contact us and we'll help point you in the right direction.
Still have questions? Check out the FAQs below. You can also visit the City of Toronto, Province of Ontario and Digital Main Street's websites.