What is the Digital Service Squad Grant Program
Digital Main Street (DMS) is a program focused on assisting main street businesses with their adoption of technology. The Digital Service Squad Grant Program will provide training, advisory support and a grant to support the Digital Service Squads across Ontario.
What Does It Cost?
Who is eligible for the Digital Service Squad Grant (DSSG)?
A DSSG grant is open to businesses that meet one of the following requirements and are:
- A local BIA located in Ontario
- A Municipality, Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Enterprise Center in an area where there are no BIAs present and located in Ontario
- An area with multiple BIAs that partner with the Municipality, Chamber of Commerce or Small Enterprise Centre to create a Centralized Project Partnership (CPP).
- Must commit to completing all required reporting and progress
- Must have not received a Digital Service Squad grant prior – BIAs are only eligible to apply for one grant over the course of the program, and Municipalities/Chambers of Commerce are only eligible to apply for the equivalent amount equal to that of the number of BIAs in their area.
BIA’s must have a membership of at least 25% commercially assessed businesses to be considered eligible.
- Ultimate recipient (whether it be a Municipality, BIA or Chamber of Commerce) will have to sign an MOU and LOI with Digital Main Street and OBIAA indicating intention and understanding of the program requirements and policies
Eligible costs include: equipment, staff costs, print marketing material
Equipment limited to $1,200
- Chromebook or equivalent to a maximum of $350.00
- 360-degree camera kit (approx. $600.00)
- Mobile Hot Spot or equivalent up to a maximum of $200.00 (monthly service costs not included)
- Equipment limited to $1,200
- Print Marketing limited to $300 (postcards / flyers promoting the service locally)
- Total eligible costs outside of salary/wages of $1,500
- Salary and wages will be offset by the remainder.
- Note the grant cannot be used to pay a current member of your team to be on the Digital Service Squad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Digital Main Street Portal is proud to offer its members a wide range of digital vendors who look forward to working with small businesses and helping them become digital-ready.
- Digital Services Squad Grant
Why is equipment limited to only $1,200?
My BIA is in a municipality with more than three BIAs – why can we not apply for a grant?
How will the Digital Service Squad be hired?
Are we responsible for training the Digital Service Squad?
What is the grant for?
What is available through the grant?
What is a Digital Service Squad and what do they do?
How can I learn more?
- Having run the Digital Service Squad program in Toronto for over two years, we have been able to see what is truly needed in terms of equipment for the Digital Service Squad to be successful. The equipment package laid out above will allow the Digital Service Squad in your area to be successful and provide the full suite of services.
- To ensure consistency and maintain the same level of quality the Digital Service Squad has come to be known for – in large city centres we will be operating with a central Digital Service Squad that will then work with local BIAs and businesses to deploy the team members.
- The Digital Service Squad team members will be hired locally/regionally in each community, either through community partners like schools or institutions, or through an external job posting.
- No, Digital Main Street will administer all training and resources necessary for the Digital Service Squad to get started. These will be done through in-person and online sessions monthly.
- Setting up a Digital Service Squad takes time and money. The Province of Ontario has grants available to help cover the costs to develop, train and implement Squads. Each one-time grant is $10,000 and is available through an application process.
- Each BIA is eligible to apply for a single grant of up to $10,000.
- Each area where there is no BIA present and the local municipality or community group is setting up the Squad is eligible to apply for a single grant of up to $10,000.
- Each area that creates a CPP is eligible to apply for grants based on the number of BIAs within the area x $10,000.
- Flexibility exists for outlier areas that are not accurately represented by the criteria.
- As part of the Digital Main Street Grant program funded by the Province of Ontario in partnership with the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA); Digital Service Squads are digital technology specialists in an area or region of Ontario who will deliver one-on-one assistance to small main street businesses.
- The squads will provide assessments, consulting and advice to small main street businesses on how they can adopt digital technologies to help them promote, sell and manage their businesses more effectively.
- Visit www.digitalmainstreet.ca/ontario/ for more information on timing and instructions for applying for Digital Service Squad Grants.