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Digital Service Squad receives $195,000 grant to help small businesses

Digital Service Squad | Christiann Koepke
Digital Service Squad | Christiann Koepke

Oakville's Digital Service Squad (DSS) has received a shared grant from the town's Digital Main Street (DMS) program worth $195,000.

The grant has been received jointly by the town of Oakville, the Bronte Village BIA, Downtown Oakville BIA, Kerr Village BIA, and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

According to the town, "the local DSS now has three trained specialists that can help support small businesses as they digitally transform how they promote and run their business," and "continuing to help small businesses with their online presence."

Since launching in 2019, the local DSS has assisted more than 500 businesses in Oakville through grants, webinars, and one-on-one consultations "all designed to build their digital knowledge and skills." This additional grant funding "allows the squad to continue that work until March 2024 and help more local businesses adopt online technologies to improve sales, marketing, and back-office operations."

This newly announced $195,000 grant is the second in just over a year: in September 2021, the Town of Oakville, local BIAs and the Oakville Chamber of Commerce received a $75,000 grant from Digital Main Street to expand the Digital Service Squad.

Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario BIA Association, says, "Small businesses are innovative and entrepreneurial, but often lack the resources to respond to change, be resilient, yet flexible. OBIAA is delighted to work once again alongside the Digital Main Street team and is thrilled to support Oakville’s squad."

Small businesses in Oakville and across Ontario are being encouraged to apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant through the DMS program. The process is simple:

  1. Create an account to register the business for Digital Transformation Grant and complete the digital assessment.
  2. Pass the pre-qualification quiz, complete the 2.5 hours of online training, and develop a Digital Transformation Plan.
  3. Submit your application for a $2,500 grant.

The online application portal for the Digital Transformation Grant is open until October 31, 2022. There are a limited number of grants available, so businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The DSS is also available to assist businesses with the development of their Digital Transformation Plan and then with their DMS grant application.

Matthews continues, "The Digital Main Street program’s resources, grants, training, and Digital Service Squad assistance provide the means for more small businesses in communities across Oakville to adopt innovative ways, create new revenue streams, expand their markets, and face the future with optimism and confidence."

DMS is a program that helps brick-and-mortar small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and the Digital Service Squad – a team of street-level team members who help brick-and-mortar small businesses, at no cost, to grow and manage their operations through technology. 

DMS was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto.

You can visit the Digital Main Street website to learn more. You can also learn more about the Digital Service Squad’s free services or book a consultation, visit the Invest Oakville website.