In a technological age that demands efficiency, creativity, accessibility and a strong customer-centred approach, the City of Mississauga unveiled its new Digital Service Squad (DSS). The DSS consists of three digital technology specialists who work with local Business Improvement Area Associations (BIAs) to support main street storefront small business owners to enhance their digital presence. This includes helping them adopt digital tools and technologies to help attract new clients and improve the way their goods and services are being marketed.
The Digital Service Squad was made possible through a $50,000 grant awarded to the City by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) in partnership with the Government of Ontario.
“I’d like to thank the provincial government for this grant which will help our local businesses become more tech-savvy, versatile and competitive,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Mississauga has a unique and diverse small business community. From local bakeries to nurseries and barbershops to convenience stores, they are constantly looking for ways to expand, attract new business while making their day-to-day business functions more efficient.”
“Our government is committed to helping small businesses improve their competitiveness, create jobs and attract investment,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “That’s why I’m so pleased to learn that the City of Mississauga will benefit from the expertise of a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses embrace digital technology. Our investment in the Digital Main Street program will help to ensure that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.”
Crombie added, “In Mississauga, our main street small businesses are operated by our neighbours, friends and family members, making them essential to our community, and we all need to do our part to equip them with the technology and skills to compete in an ever-changing digital world.”
The grant also includes the purchase of hardware and technology for the Squad to provide free digital assessments and consultative services. Mississauga’s DSS is part of a community of consultants across Ontario, including Brockville, Hamilton, Kitchener and Toronto that are equipped with hardware and technology to help main street small businesses grow and expand nationally and internationally. The Program will conclude in Mississauga in December 2019.
“Our Digital Service Squad has hit the streets and is already helping main street small businesses bridge the digital divide,” said Michelle Browne, Manager, Economic Development Office, Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC). “Promoting your business is no longer just putting up a sign at your store front or handing out flyers – it is so much more. The Squad will continue to further our commitment to support and provide businesses with advice so they can gain the competitive edge they’re looking for. We want main street small businesses to know we are there for them every step of the way, as their success is our success.”
The Digital Service Squad is part of the MBEC team. The Centre provides guidance and support to help individuals start and grow their small business.
MBEC also offers:
• free business information and guidance
• low cost business seminars and workshops
• low cost online business courses
• training and mentorship programs
• young entrepreneur program
For more information, please visit mississauga.ca/digitalmainstreet
ABOUT Digital Main Street
Vibrant main streets help attract visitors, create jobs, and increase the competitiveness of small businesses, which are the backbone of small rural communities. The world is changing. Small main street businesses across Ontario must think about how to promote online, use e-commerce, and streamline their processes with digital tools to stay competitive and win. To help Ontario’s main street small businesses enhance their digital capabilities and online presence, the OBIAA and Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs have partnered on this $12 million initiative over three years. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca