GUELPH – The Business Centre Guelph-Wellington (BCGW) has received a $200,000 grant from the Digital Main Street program.
The funds will support a two-year Digital Service Squad program, which provides small businesses and entrepreneurs in the Guelph-Wellington area with the tools and support they need to digitally transform their businesses.
Digital Service Squads (DSS) are the cornerstone of Digital Main Street (DMS), with trained specialists who meet with brick-and-mortar small businesses, at no cost, to help them complete an online assessment and 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, 360 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.
This is the fourth time the Business Centre has partnered on the DSS program.
A team leader has been hired for the Business Centre and a co-op student from a local school will also be hired to assist with the fall programming.
“Business owners are getting customized services,” said Kristel Manes, executive director of the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington.
“Many of the older generation business owners are embarking on digital strategies for the first time. COVID has been a big lesson for people of all ages to get online to maintain their businesses.”
The $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant program re-launched on June 21, and will continue until Oct. 31, (or until grant funds have been fully exhausted).
In recent years, over 1,000 local businesses have applied for funding and assistance through the DTG program.
“We really want to get these funds into the small entrepreneurs’ pockets so they can upgrade their digital platforms and streamline their operations,” said Manes.
There are also opportunities for local businesses to receive support for basic digital services, identifying and implementing technologies and tools, as well as to access other resources such as assessments, articles and best practices.
Free training will also be provided with weekly webinars on topics such as e-commerce, social media and website development.
“Small businesses are innovative and entrepreneurial, but often lack the resources to respond to change,” said Kay Matthews, executive director, OBIAA. “OBIAA is delighted to work once again alongside the Digital Main Street team and is thrilled to support BCBW’s squad.”