Spark Centre is thrilled to begin collaboration with Digital Main Street to identify and help solve some of the hard challenges facing entrepreneurs and small businesses on local main streets and within our innovation community!
What is Digital Main Street?
Digital Main Street was created in 2016 by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas to support the digital transformation of main street businesses in Toronto’s 83 business improvement areas through assessment, training and in-person support for onboarding of tech adoptions. In 2018, Digital Main Street partnered with the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand throughout Ontario and added a Digital Transformation Grant to its list of programs that businesses could use to support the implementation of their technology.
Since its launch in 2016, Digital Main Street has assisted countless businesses across Ontario through grant funding and training for main street businesses to support their digital transformation and through the creation of job opportunities for students and recent graduates.
What’s new with Digital Main Street
In response to COVID-19, Digital Main Street partnered with the Province of Ontario, FedDev Southern Ontario, the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, Communitech and Invest Ottawa to expand its programming to include a variety of initiatives including ShopHERE Powered by Google (which creates online stores at no-cost for small businesses and artists), Digital Main Street Lab (which pilots new technologies with new main street businesses and organizations), the Community Collaboration Program — in which Spark Centre will participate — and more.
What is the Community Collaboration Program?
The focus of the Community Collaboration Program is to bring together community members — local Regional Innovation Centres (RICs), Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), chambers, SBECs, entrepreneurs, municipalities and community stakeholders — to collaboratively identify the hard challenges facing their local main streets and implement solutions or pilots. Whether it’s assisting cultural organizations or live music venues survive the shut-down, exploring options for holding outdoor community events safely or implementing technology to further the health and safety of staff and customers when shopping on main streets, the Community Collaboration program will help prepare businesses on main street and in the innovation community for a new way of conducting business during these unprecedented times.
Spark Centre is looking forward to this collaboration and can’t wait to share the exciting projects that emerge!