This post is provided by Burlington Economic Development. If you are a small business in Burlington, Ontario, this post is for you!
It’s Small Business Week! While it’s critical to support our small businesses all year round, this week we take the opportunity to celebrate our small businesses and showcase their resilience. Burlington Economic Development is committed to supporting small business through programs like Digital Main Street.
As businesses across Ontario reimagine their operations in a post-COVID retail environment, local Burlington business owners are looking for tools to help transform their digital strategies to reach new customers through online channels. Administered by the team at Burlington Economic Development, the Digital Transformation Grant from Digital Main Street has been a valuable resource for many small businesses across the city. This vital grant funding supports various digital marketing initiatives, website design or improvements, social media, productivity software, and more.
Social media support and adoption of software is one area that the Digital Transformation Grant supports. Tara Lester, owner of The Olive Oil Dispensary, is one of the many small business owners in Burlington that has been able to tap into the program. “I applied for this grant to improve my digital presence on all social media platforms,” said Lester. “This grant has allowed me the opportunity to expand my business social awareness and increase my sales though a more complete and unified social presence.” The COVID-19 pandemic brought on unprecedented pressure for small businesses to take their businesses online to accommodate things like curbside pick-up and delivery. The Digital Main Street program directly addresses this need.
In Downtown Burlington, Shirley Cope, the owner of The Knitters Boutique Inc., had the opportunity to hire support for social media through this grant funding. The increase in her revenue came quickly. “Receiving the grant has helped tremendously,” Cope explained. “I have been able to hire help with Instagram and with rebuilding my website. Almost instantly, sales came from Instagram posts.” Shirley also offered vital advice for other small business owners, saying that, “More than ever an online presence is imperative. Do your market research and know your target audience and reach out to them.”
Businesses can also use social media to expand brand awareness. Melanie Bianco, from Aldershot Dental Hygiene, shared that, “social media is a wonderful tool to get your name out locally”. As a grant recipient, Bianco is planning to use the Digital Transformation Grant funding to aid in the expansion of the business, and Bianco is looking forward to expanding to provide services to seniors in long-term care homes.
The Digital Transformation Grant is also available for owners looking to offer website and e-commerce solutions for their businesses. Aldershot Foot Clinic’s updated website will be ready next week, which they hope will result in more traffic and online books, according to owner Heidi Moris. Moris is also excited about using a portion of the grant for advertising in order to help clients know they are there and how they can help.
Small business owners across Burlington looking to reach new customers through new or redeveloped digital strategies can learn more about Burlington’s Digital Service Squad services here. Applications for the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant are open until October 31, 2022.
About Burlington Economic Development
Burlington Economic Development (Burlington EcDev) is an arm’s length agency of the City of Burlington that works to attract high-value companies to Burlington, support the expansion of existing businesses, and encourage the start-up and growth of new companies. Burlington EcDev delivers a range of services to help businesses achieve their goals. To learn more, visit http://investburlington.ca.