Main streets have always been an essential part of life in any community: a place to work, to buy local, and a place to celebrate. As commerce continues to shift online, we must enable main street businesses with innovative tools to future-proof and thrive. 

With Ontario’s economy reopening, the federal and provincial governments have joined together to help small businesses make digital transformations — both to recover and generate revenue through a pan-Ontario collaborative project. 

This morning, the Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), and the Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria, Ontario Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced a $57-million investment to help main street businesses and SMEs across the region adopt digital technologies to compete now and in the future. 

The investments in Digital Main Street, including the new Future Proofing Main Street delivered by TechAlliance and Regional Innovation Centres, will help Southwestern Ontario businesses adapt to evolving customer demand. 

  The new investments in Digital Main Street will extend direct support to businesses across the province as they adapt to a digital economy and introduce the new Future-Proofing Main Street program, for businesses in Southwestern Ontario. 

This investment includes $12.2 million from the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, and will expand the existing Digital Main Street and ShopHERE programs and introduce the new Future Proofing Main Street Program, for 5,200 businesses in Southwestern Ontario.  

With the expansion, Digital Main Street will offer three levels of support, tailored to the needs of businesses. TechAlliance will deliver advanced-level, future-proof support to main street businesses in the retail, hospitality, and service sectors to complement their brick-and-mortar experience with a robust online presence.  

Local digital marketing expertise, paired with student talent, will work with companies to provide customized support in developing global market strategies, contemporary digital marketing, advanced ecommerce capabilities, and brand experiences. 

By collaborating with local BIA’s, Chambers, Economic Development and Small Business Centres in London-Middlesex, Sarnia-Lambton, Elgin, Oxford, and Huron Countries, and by partnering with Regional Innovation Centres in Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, and Windsor, we will ensure that businesses in all of our communities can compete now and in the future.   

Together, these partners offer expertise in business improvement, technology, innovation, marketing, and economic development to deliver Digital Main Street, shopHERE, and Future Proofing Main Street to 5,200 small- and medium-sized businesses, while creating summer and fall employment for over 725 students, across Southwestern Ontario. 

To receive more information about Future-Proofing Main Street, sign up for TechAlliance’s newsletter and apply to Digital Main Street.

Download this announcement as a PDF.

Get involved with Digital Main Street

Quick Facts 

  • The Digital Main Street Platform is funded by both the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. 
  • Support through the Digital Main Street Platform will be offered in three tiers customized to the level of support required by each company to develop or strengthen their online presence.  
  • Partners involved in this project offer a wealth of expertise ranging from business improvement, technology, innovation, marketing and economic development. Therefore, they are best suited to deliver this widespread support and make the greatest possible impact across the region.  
  • TechAlliance will provide advanced level support to future-proof main street businesses through sustained and specialized engagement with main street firms in the retail, restaurant/hospitality, and services/trades sectors that have an established online presence and are looking to accelerate their digital growth.  
  • Local students and digital marketing experts will work with the companies to provide tailored support in developing global market strategies and advanced digital marketing for main street businesses that have deployed ecommerce.