Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre assembles squad for digital assistance for small business

October 14, 2021 – The Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre recently received a $68,760  grant from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association as part of the Digital Main Street program. The grant was used to create a local team of experts to assist small businesses with improving their online presence. Team members were selected through an rfp process and are from a variety of Thunder Bay based marketing firms. The team members are as follows:

  • Brook Dallaire (co-founder of Sociable Thunder Bay)
  • Dylan Uurainen (co-founder of Digital Mammoth)
  • Lauren Rigato (founder of Superior Digital)
  • Leanne Mitton (founder of Norlink)
  • Palash Bakshi (co-founder of Sociable Thunder Bay)

“Many businesses continue to navigate the difficulties of the pandemic, and need to adapt their business to support online options,” says Ryan Moore, Development Officer, Thunder Bay CEDC. “We are excited to expand our services for the small business community and help them further their online experience and knowledge. This program will provide local entrepreneurs with one-on-one time with a professional as they continue to make changes and strengthen their online presence”

Since 2019, the Digital Main Street program, developed by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, has provided a platform to help train and educate main street businesses on how to improve their online presence. Training includes email marketing, website basics, social media and digital marketing strategies as well as various tools and resources. To complement these learnings local squads were set up across Ontario to provide one on one support as the businesses try to implement these skills and find new opportunities.

“Ontario’s small businesses have had to work harder than ever to have their message heard and OBIAA is so proud that we have been able to help small businesses all the way through the pandemic with Digital Main Street – the Ontario Grants Program. Now as we move from reopening to recovery Digital Main Street is now even more necessary in helping small businesses strengthen their online presence,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA. “Service Squads are in place to provide one-on-one support to your business. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre so small businesses can take advantage of the DMS Digital Transformation Grant program; get one-on-one support from the Digital Service Squads, take valuable training and apply for $2,500 funding to help cover the costs of adopting digital methods.”

Additionally, there is a Transformation Grant that is administered by the Ontario Business Improvement Areas Association, and those businesses with brick-and-mortar locations can apply for up to $2,500 to accompany the training help them achieve their goals.

Businesses interested in accessing services from the Squad can visit the website and book appointments directly via:

Applications for the transformation grant can be made via: or contact the Entrepreneur Centre.

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