Burlington City Council is urging the provincial and federal governments to renew the Digital Main Street Program which helped retail business transform to online during the pandemic.
• renew and expand funding to the Digital Main Street program as soon as possible to help our businesses to survive the provincial lockdown and reopening of the economy in the future;
• renew the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant and Digital Service Squad support; and
• expand the Digital Main Street Transformation Grant to be available to main street businesses that are located outside of BIAs as the initial program restricted applicants to BIA member businesses only
• commit to a minimum 2 year funding extension to the Digital Main Street program
The resolution was passed, in partnership with the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington.
Digital Main Street
The Digital Main Street Program has been a critical support to local main street businesses during COVID-19. Qualifying businesses have been able to access a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant to implement digital tools within their business. As part of the program Burlington has benefitted from hiring two Digital Service Squad members who have had over 1,000 touchpoints with businesses and supported over 130 businesses to date in growing their digital presence and tools.
When the province of Ontario went into lockdown December 26th, 2020 online and online sales became the primary method for main street businesses to interact with customers and generate revenues. Many businesses reached out to Burlington’s Digital Service Squad team for support in how to engage with customers, update their website and use social channels to promote curb side pickup and takeaway. The program ended last December 31
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said, “the Digital Main Street Program is a critical lifeline for many of our businesses. Now more than ever, our businesses need help to go digital to ride out the continued shutdown. Extending this program, and expanding it to businesses outside of BIA areas, will go a long way to help ensure our small businesses will be there for us on the other side of COVID-19.”
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