Chamber of Commerce launches Digital Main Street

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The Merrickville & District Chamber of Commerce announced last week that it had received a $10,000 grant from Digital Main Street (DMS) to fund a Digital Service Squad to help downtown small businesses in Merrickville-Wolford improve their online capabilities.

The Chamber received the Digital Main Street grant from the Ontario government to establish a Digital Service Squad to help main street small businesses enhance their use of digital tools and techniques to better evolve and grow. The Squad will consist of a trained specialist who will visit small businesses in Merrickville-Wolford at no cost to help them set up a Google Business Profile, conduct a digital-readiness assessment and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.

“This investment in the latest digital know-how for our small businesses will reduce slow sales periods by increasing their online presence and generating more e-commerce sales, while at the same time exposing a wider audience to the amazing range of businesses and things to see and do in our Village. This will ultimately benefit the local economy and enhance opportunities for all”, said Yves Grandmaitre, President, Merrickville-Wolford Chamber of Commerce.

A joint program funded by Government of Ontario and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association, Digital Main Street helps improve how small businesses use digital tools and techniques to become more successful. Today’s digital economy is vital to small businesses, and DMS will help them adopt new digital technologies from e-commerce and social media to back-office systems such as payroll and inventory.

“Our government is committed to helping small businesses improve their competitiveness, create jobs and attract investment,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “That’s why I’m so pleased that businesses in the Town of Merrickville will benefit from the expertise of a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses embrace digital technology. Our investment in the Digital Main Street program will help to ensure that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.”

“The exposure and training that small businesses will receive in digital technology will prove extremely helpful in gaining the knowledge necessary to compete in the digital age,” said Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds – Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. “Small businesses drive our local economy and this program is one more example of how our government is working to help them thrive in our rural communities.”
Digital Main Street offers two types of grants:

Digital Transformation Grant: There are 2,000 grants of $2,500 each available to qualifying small “main street” businesses across Ontario to help them adopt new digital technologies.

Digital Service Squad Grant: There are 300 grants of $10,000 each available to qualifying municipal or business groups across Ontario to develop and implement local squads of digital vendors and experts to directly help small businesses.

“The Merrickville & District Chamber of Commerce is showing leadership by demonstrating how Digital Main Street will help keep their downtown cores vibrant and strong,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario BIA Association. “Our small main street businesses are a critical contributor to Ontario’s economic, social and cultural health, and it’s vital that we work together to ensure their success. Digital Main Street will help the main street small businesses of Merrickville-Wolford to compete in an increasingly digital world.”

Businesses will be introduced to the Digital Service Squad over the coming weeks. For further information email info@merrickvillechamber.ca.

In the last year, the Chamber’s small group of dedicated board and volunteers have focused much effort in executing its vision for a much improved online and visible presence for Merrickville-Wolford businesses and events. Already, a variety of ongoing promotional strategies and renewed partnerships with the Municipality, the Regional Tourism Organization, Leeds and Grenville Economic Development and other relevant groups have started to bear fruit and as the implementation gains in momentum, the impact on our local economy will be extraordinary!

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