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The Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre joins Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE powered by Google to Support Local Businesses

Wednesday July 15, 2020 – The Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre is excited to announce that Thunder Bay businesses are now eligible to sign up for a free website through Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program. The ShopHERE program offers businesses and artists the opportunity to build a digital presence and minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Federal Government along with Google are funding the program to ensure every small business has an opportunity to go digital.

To help support our local small businesses, the Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre is joining the ShopHERE powered by Google program.

“Now more than ever we are seeing the importance of having an e-commerce site for small businesses,” stated Eric Zakrewski, CEO of Thunder Bay CEDC, “People from global, national and local markets are relying on the internet to shop, find information, or order their weekly groceries. By providing small businesses with the opportunity to build a free online store ShopHERE is ensuring small businesses can tap into these markets and continue to do business virtually”

ShopHERE powered by Google, which started in the City of Toronto, helps independent businesses and artists build a digital presence and minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, Google Canada annouced a one million dollar investment to enable Digital Main Street to expand the program to municipalities across the country, offering more businesses and artists the opportunity to build their own online store.

“Digital Main Street has a great track record for training and preparing businesses to improve their online presence,” says Ryan Moore, Development Officer, Thunder Bay CEDC, “Programs like ShopHERE provide a great way for businesses to start their eCommerce journey as DMS will build one for any business for free and provide some initial training on how to use. This way, many of our small businesses can now be virtually open 24/7 and reach more customers than before.”

Because the opportunities afforded by the digital economy are still limited if people don’t have the right skills, Google’s investment will also help more small businesses and artists receive the digital skills training needed to participate in the digital economy.

The program is now available to small businesses in Thunder Bay. Local businesses and artists can apply for the program at www.digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere to get their online store built at no-cost.

 “Since Google began its business in Canada nearly twenty years ago, we’ve been focused on helping Canadian businesses of all sizes to unlock the prosperity of the internet,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada. “We remain optimistic and more determined than ever that technology is the toolkit for a world of opportunities. Our one million dollar investment will go towards expanding the ShopHERE program nationally, so we can help small businesses across Canada navigate the challenges ahead.”

“Main street businesses are facing unprecedented times due to COVID-19. They need to be able to sell online if they are going to survive and we are proud to expand the ShopHERE powered by Google program to help them achieve this. This program is critical in ensuring main streets can adapt and evolve during this crucial time.” – John Kiru, Executive Director, Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas

“I’d like to thank the Federal Government and Google Canada for funding Digital Mainstreet’s Shophere Program which provides our local small businesses with the opportunity to build a digital presence free of charge. Our small businesses are critical to the economic health and the overall wellness and vibrancy of our community.” Says Bill Mauro, Mayor of Thunder Bay, “This is another opportunity for them to promote and sell their goods and services by increasing their reach and accessibility. I also want to thank the Thunder Bay CEDC and the Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre for their efforts in connecting local businesses to the Program, and for all of the work they have done in supporting our local businesses in navigating the extreme challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Thunder Bay CEDC and the Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre are encouraging any local small business that is in need of a website to take advantage of this incredible program.

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Contact: Ryan Moore, Development Officer, Thunder Bay CEDC, (807) 625-3972, Email:  rmoore@thunderbay.ca

About CEDC: The CEDC is responsible for business development, retention and expansion, entrepreneurial support, opportunity promotion, and the collection and assessment of key business data. The CEDC receives formal proposals for projects that will contribute to economic development. It responds quickly to new opportunities and initiatives to attract direct financial involvement from the government and private sectors. For more information, visit www.ThunderBayCEDC.ca.

About Google Canada: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a global technology leader, Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. Google Canada has offices in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa with over 1,500 Canadian Google employees working on teams across Engineering, AI Research, Sales and Marketing.

About Digital Main Street: Digital Main Street is a program that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and our Digital Service Squad, a team of street-level team members who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology.

Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft and Shopify.

About the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA): The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) is a non-profit umbrella organization working with the 83 Business Improvement Areas within the City of Toronto, who in turn represent more than 40,000 business and property owners.

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