Supporting Small Businesses Now and Into the Future

Published on June 11, 2020

$57 million investment in digital platform will help businesses reopen, recover and grow long after COVID-19

Ontario's small businesses are vital to our communities and critical to our economic health and well-being.

As we continue to combat COVID-19, we know small businesses across the province are struggling. That’s why our PC government today announced it has partnered with the federal government to create a new platform aimed at helping small businesses seize big opportunities.

The Digital Main Street platform – a joint provincial-federal investment of $57 million – will help thousands of small businesses in Ontario establish, run, and grow their operations online, supporting them now during COVID-19 and giving them a competitive edge beyond our economic recovery.

The platform will allow businesses to take advantage of valuable e-commerce opportunities though the following targeted initiatives: 

  • shopHERE, which will leverage Ontario’s strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, to help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.  
  • Digital Main Street Grant, which will help businesses sell more effectively once they’re online by providing support through an up to $2,500 grant for them to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Businesses will also have access to Digital Service Squad grants, which will provide personalized, one-on-one support to help them navigate these new tools and maximize their return on investment. 
  • Future-Proofing Main Street, which will provide a tailored evaluation for businesses by analyzing their business models and potential digital transformation pathways. This will help businesses develop and implement a plan that will help them adapt to new digital trends, challenges and technologies. 
  • The Recovery Activation Program, which is a virtual learning platform targeted at supporting small and medium-sized businesses to develop resiliency in their back-office operations by adopting online and virtual systems.  

This platform, together with the recently announced investment in rural broadband, will help pave the digital road forward for Ontario small businesses to travel en route to success.