Toronto City Council votes to extend urgent support to Digital Main Street Program through 2023 – City of Toronto

newsrelease

June 17, 2022

This week, Toronto City Council voted to continue funding the Digital Main Street Program through to 2023.

To support Toronto’s ongoing economic recovery, Council supported a motion put forward by Mayor John Tory and seconded by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre) to provide the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) up to $550,000 each year in 2022 and 2023 so that critical supports can remain in place for main street businesses.

The approved motion can be viewed on the City’s website.

Digital Main Street was initiated by the City of Toronto and TABIA in 2016 to assist main street businesses to grow their operations with easy-to-use tools and resources. Digital Main Street is owned and operated by TABIA and is part of the City’s continued support for a strong, post-pandemic recovery for Toronto. In 2021, Digital Main Street assisted approximately 2,000 businesses in Toronto through its Digital Service Squad – teams of trained students and/or recent graduates with strong technology and digital marketing skills that communities can access to provide to their business members – and workshops series.

Continued City funding will help supplement costs for TABIA associated with Digital Main Street Program delivery in Toronto. In 2022 and 2023, Digital Main Street staff will be focused on supporting businesses in underserved areas of Toronto not currently represented by Business Improvement Areas (BIAs). Staff will be trained by the City’s Business Improvement Area Office on various City programs available to small businesses so that they can make the businesses they work with more aware of these supports and opportunities. This approach is designed to take full advantage of the direct touch points which Digital Main Street Digital Service Squad staff have with local business operators in their own communities.

Since 2018, the City has provided funding for Digital Main Street’s Digital Service Squads, through TABIA, to provide targeted support to small businesses in Toronto. This service was initially focused on BIAs, but has since expanded to be able to assist main street businesses in neighborhoods across the city.

Digital Main Street currently has up to 10 Digital Service Squad members serving businesses in Toronto, as well as delivering bi-weekly workshops for Enterprise Toronto.

Interested business owners can sign up for the ShopHERE program for help to create online stores for independent small businesses and artists at no cost or for help from the Digital Service Squad.

Quotes:

“We are working non-stop to make sure Toronto comes back stronger than ever. In 2021, Digital Main Street continued to help businesses across this city expand their offerings and to help them get online so that they can broaden their customer base. We’ve extended this program to 2023 as another important way the city is supporting post-pandemic recovery. I encourage small businesses to see if they are eligible to participate in programs.”

– Mayor John Tory

“Extending Digital Main Street funding through 2023 is a significant step forward in our support of local businesses. Our focus on businesses in areas of Toronto not currently represented by Business Improvement Areas is especially important, as it will make these businesses more aware of the supports and opportunities available through the City.”

– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee

“Supporting digitization of local business is the foundation of Digital Main Street and continues to be critical in a post-pandemic world. I’m excited that TABIA will be able to continue to offer these services through to 2023 and support small businesses in the city.”

– John Kiru, Executive Director, Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit www.toronto.ca or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CityofTorontoon Instagram at www.instagram.com/cityofto or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cityofto.

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Media contact: Media Relations, media@toronto.ca

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on TwitterInstagram or Facebook.

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