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Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre provides over $300,000 to help local and regional businesses get online

The Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre helped 125 local businesses boost their online presence through the Digital Main Street program by providing digital support and over $300,000 in grants. The Digital Main Street program, administered by the Entrepreneur Centre, consisted of five team members who were able reach over 500 businesses in the Northwest region.

 “As many businesses navigated the difficulties of the past year, the need to adapt to online sales and strengthen their online presence allowed for businesses to stay open and continue to connect with their customers,” says Ryan Moore, Development Officer, Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission. “Through the Digital Main Street program the Entrepreneur Centre was able to connect with over 500 business in the region and we are excited to continue to support our local and regional business community through a strong recovery with the next round of funding being announced very shortly”    

In response to the pandemic, the Federal and Provincial governments provided funding to enhance the Digital Main Street program in partnership with the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association. A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and a $7.45-million investment from the Province of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, Communitech, and Invest Ottawa to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario.

Due to the additional funding the Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur was able to set up a local digital services squad. The team to provided assistance to local and regional businesses to help them through the Digital Main Street training and acquire the $2,500 Transformation Grant. There was 3500 grants awarded in Ontario, of which, 233 were in Northern Ontario.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, and particularly in Northern Ontario.  Digital Main Street was there to help small businesses strengthen their online presence and manage through the pandemic,” said Kay Matthews, executive director of OBIAA. “We are excited to see how the small businesses in Thunder Bay and District took advantage of the DMS Digital Transformation Grant program to take valuable training and obtain funding to help cover the costs of adopting digital methods.”

View local and regional success stories by visiting News section of the DMS Thunder Bay website:  https://www.dmsthunderbay.ca/news

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