Community Collaboration Extended Funding Helps Communities

Jun 25, 2021 | Innovation Guelph Blogs & Stories, Media Releases

Community Collaboration Blog
PRESS RELEASE – GUELPH, ON June 22, 2021 – Innovation Guelph is pleased to announce more Community Collaboration Projects through an extension of the Digital Main Street Project. Community Collaboration Projects connect regional innovation centres and community organizations in a series of engaging conversations on common issues facing small businesses to build workable solutions. The Digital Main Street Community Collaboration Project is made possible through financial support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the Government of Ontario. We are pleased to announce the following collaborations. The City of Guelph received funding to transition their physical information kiosk at the Guelph Civic Museum to a virtual information centre experience to enable COVID safety measures and support tourism businesses. Matthew Hardy Thomas, manager of Tourism and Destination Development said, “This allows us the opportunity to keep visitor information up-to-date and use data to inform our services.” Mount Forest Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the BIA and Wellington North Township, created a series of short professional videos highlighting the town, core businesses and community organizations. “Mount Forest is a vibrant town that offers quiet neighbourhoods, schools, healthcare, recreation and a variety of industry all surrounding our main street, the heart of our community,” said Stacey Stevenson, Chamber Administrator. “Each video will highlight the many reasons that make our town a great place to live, work and shop in.” Through a #LocallyLoyal project, the Minto Chamber of Commerce helped attract customers through a newspaper coupon insert. “The newspaper insert is intended to grow awareness and support of our incredible local businesses across Minto, along with our community initiatives like the farmers’ and Makers’ markets,” said Heather Watterworth, Chamber President. “We feel it is more important than ever to create buzz around the community and positive stories.” Continuing in their efforts to promote shopping locally, the Town of Erin and Erin BIA are supporting businesses through a coupon project. “Coupons are not new, but they are well understood by consumers and designed to attract business,” said Robyn Mulder, Economic Development Officer. Finally, the Fergus BIA invested in a new easier to use website platform with more flexibility to update member information and COVID news. “We need a platform that is easier for our volunteers to pop in an out of to perform updates, add content and function better to promote Downtown Fergus,” said Kimberley Jefferson, Chair, Fergus BIA. “This will greatly impact approximately 180 businesses in our BIA membership.”  


About Digital Main Street is a program that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and our Digital Service Squad, a team of street-level team members who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology. Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square and Yellow Pages. A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa, and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses to go digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19. Innovation Guelph is building prosperity for community well-being by providing mentorship and business support programs and services to help innovative enterprises start, grow and thrive.  Innovation Guelph’s business acceleration programs are designed for high-potential start-ups, small- to medium-sized enterprises and women-led businesses across southern Ontario. Innovation Guelph also serves as a one-stop point of access to business support programs and services across the province.