Downtown Association, Millworks celebrate $100K in digital support grants

Grants offer free digital support to brick-and-mortar small businesses; to celebrate milestone, a party is being held downtown on August 23




Sault Ste. Marie’s Downtown Association (DTA) and the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship are pleased to announce that more than $100,000 has been granted to local businesses through the Digital Main Street (DMS) Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) Program. The Sault Ste. Marie’s DMS program has been offering free digital support to brick-and-mortar small businesses through its Digital Service Squad (DSS) since August 2022. In just 12 months, Rachel Silva and Grace Swain of the DSS have helped over 55 local small businesses receive grant funding through the program, bringing over $100,000 into our community.

The DTG program provides financial support to brick-and-mortar small businesses, enabling them to invest $2,500 into their website, digital marketing, digital training, software and hardware (up to $1,000). The DTG application portal is open until Sept. 30, 2023 (or until grant funds are fully exhausted).

In celebration of the more than $100,000 that our DSS has helped Sault Ste. Marie businesses to access, we will be holding a “Grant Countdown Party” on Aug. 23, 2023 at 7 p.m. at Loplops. Snacks will be provided by Broers Jansen, Peace and Sunset Noodle House. We will have representatives from Marketing Therapy, SooToday,, Algoma Business Computers, as well as other local business people who have accessed the grant and know the benefits of working with the Digital Service Squad. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. followed by a small business speed dating session at 7 p.m.

Throughout the evening, there will be giveaways for the attendees including a selfie stick, a six week social campaign ready to schedule, and four branded templates with Canva. Entertainment will also be provided by the Wyld Stallyns, with special guest Sarah Skagen. Music will start at 9:30 p.m.

If you want to explore how this $2,500 DMS grant can work for your business and meet local digital vendors who can help you choose the right path, email [email protected] for your invite to register, at no cost. Please come and join us in celebrating and learning how you can access additional support to receive this funding for your business.

“The Digital Main Street Digital Transformation Grant program is a vitally important and immensely valuable resource for small businesses,” says Kay Matthews, Executive Director, OBIAA. “We join Sault Ste. Marie in celebrating the success of the program that continues to provide their local businesses with the knowledge, resources, and training to revitalize their operations with an expanded digital presence.”

“Seeing the continued impact of this program, especially in Northern Ontario speaks volumes to businesses realizing the importance of continued adoption of digital for their business” adds John Kiru, Executive Director of TABIA. “We look forward to celebrating this milestone with the team in Sault Ste. Marie and look forward to continuing our great work together in the region”.

With an investment from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and administered by the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA), in partnership with the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA), the DTG program has empowered Sault Ste. Marie businesses to embrace digital tools and technologies. Digital Service Squads are the cornerstone of DMS, with trained specialists, such as Rachel and Grace, who meet with brick-and-mortar small

businesses, at no cost, to help them complete an online assessment and to introduce them to online training modules designed to build their digital knowledge and skills. Based out of the DTA office, the Sault Ste. Marie squad hosts workshops, drop-ins and provides one-on-one training for small to medium sized businesses located anywhere in Sault Ste Marie.



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