Business in #BrantWorks News Bulletin – Digital Main Street Program Helps Small Businesses Go Online

Posted On Thursday April 01, 2021

Over the past 5 months, the County of Brant has contracted two digital marketing experts to assist County of Brant small businesses in improving their online capabilities. This program was able to operate through a grant from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) provided by the federal government, along with an extension grant from Enterprise Brant through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund version 2 (RRRF2).

Businesses like La Cantinella in St. George have benefitted from the Digital Main Street program and the Digital Service Squad's consultation. With the help of the Digital Service Squad, the business was able to make upgrades to its website to attract customers and make its menu viewable online.

Since the start of the program in October 2020, the County of Brant Digital Service Squad has consulted with 84 businesses in the County of Brant. Of these 84 businesses, 21 received a $2,500 grant through the OBIAA that can be invested in their digital capabilities. Some of the improvements include but are not limited to;

-        Hiring a digital marketing firm to manage and create content for the business;

-        Purchase new software that supports the operations of the business;

-        Hire a professional photographer/videographer; and

-        Update the business's existing website.

This is the second version of the Digital Main Street program in the County of Brant, with the first being completed in April 2020. Both of these programs have been vital to the County of Brant’s COVID-19 economic response, preparing businesses to sell online during times of lockdown/shutdown. COVID-19 has created several challenges for small businesses, especially when it comes to reaching their customers, and programs like the Digital Main Street program have allowed businesses to gain the knowledge and tools to accomplish this.

Small businesses in the County of Brant (businesses that have less than 10 employees) represent 75% of all businesses in the municipality and fall in the Professional Services sector of the County of Brant economy. This sector is expected to see further development through 2021 as sub-sector advancement takes place, most notably involving home-based businesses and health services associated with the County of Brant Community Health Hub. The Digital Main Street program also aligns with the County of Brant Economic Development Strategy and Action plan, specifically pillar 3, Building Brant’s Downtown Core Areas. The program works to futureproof downtown cores and allows them to grow in new ways.

 If you are a small business in the County of Brant looking for assistance or access to resources, contact a member of the County of Brant economic development team today at invest@brant.ca