Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street (August Cohort)
The Starter Company Plus - Digital Main Street program is focused on helping main street businesses develop and implement an integrated and comprehensive digital transformation plan for their business.
If you are a main street business looking to take your business to the next level by leveraging technology, the Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street program can provide the following support:
- A grant of up to $2,500 towards the implementation of a digital transformation plan
- Training to develop your digital literacy skills and digital transformation plan
- One-on-one business advisory services for implementing your digital transformation plan
- Access to reduced pricing and offering from Digital Main Street Partners
In order to qualify for the grant portion of the Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street program you must meet the following requirements:
- Completed the 8-course Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street training program by regiDigital Transformation for Main Street training program
- Be a member of one of Toronto's 82 BIAs – do not register for the training program if you are not a member of one of these BIAs, as you are not eligible for the training and your fee will be refunded
- 18 years of age or older at the time of application
- A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- A Toronto resident or operating your business in Toronto
Training Program Overview
To qualify for the Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street grant, applicants must first attend the 8-course training session and complete their Digital Transformation Plan.
The training courses are half-day session and cover the following learning objectives:
Class 1 – Embracing Digital
- Focus on the importance of thinking digitally
- Trends and stats about digital adoption
- Overview of the program and the Digital Transformation Plan
- Guided activity: a digital audit of where your business is currently
Class 2 – Web Presence, Part 1
- Domain names and web hosting (when you do and don’t need hosting)
- Domain names and email (including information on how to setup your own email with Google My Business or Microsoft Office 365)
- Website platforms and how to choose which is best for you (WordPress, Shopify)
- DIY or hire a pro? When each is appropriate
- The mobile web – making sure your website works on all devices
Class 3 – Web Presence, Part 2 and SEO
- Website content: writing the words that will appeal to your target customer
- Images and the web: what you can and can’t use
- Website Accessibility and AODA compliance
- Best practices for website security
- SEO (search engine optimization) basics
- How to enhance your website for search engines (on-page SEO)
- How to drive more traffic to your website through off-page SEO, using listing and ranking websites (Google My Business, Yellow Pages Profile, BIA listings)
Class 4 – Digital Marketing, Part 1
- what you can achieve without spending a lot
- Social media: an overview of the 4 main social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) and how to use each one to build your business
- Content Marketing: how to create engaging content, where to share it, and how to leverage original content to increase web presence and visibility
Class 5 – Digital Marketing, Part 2
- Email Marketing: best practices for building email lists and email marketing campaigns (that are compliant with Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation)
- Online advertising (paid) through Google AdWords, Facebook and other ad networks
- Growth hacking / growth marketing tactics
- Loyalty programs & benefits
Class 6 – Analytics & Metrics
- Using analytics to make the right business decisions
- Which metrics and key performance indicators should you be paying attention to? How do you find the signal in the noise?
- Website, social media, and email marketing analytics
- Managing results and interpreting the data
Class 7 – Operations Management / Productivity
- Client Relationship Management software solutions
- Digital Inventory solutions
- Microsoft Office 365
- G Suite by Google
- IT setup, backups and security
Class 8 – Bringing it all together
- Hands-on class to finalize the Digital Transformation Plan
- Have time to interact with instructor(s) and ask questions / get clarification
- Presentations and info sharing from Digital Main Street partners
The program is delivered on the following dates and times. To be eligible for the $2,500 grant applicants must attend all of eight courses and complete the Digital Transformation Plan.
- Monday, August 14th – 6 – 9 p.m.
- Thursday, August 17th – 6 – 9 p.m.
- Monday, August 21st – 6 – 9 p.m.
- Thursday, August 24th – 6 – 9 p.m.
- Monday, August 28th – 6 – 9 p.m.
- Thursday, August 31st – 6 – 9 p.m.
- Thursday, September 7th – 6 – 9 p.m.
- Monday, September 11th – 6 – 9 p.m.
The training program for the Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street program has a retail value of $1,800 plus HST, but is provided to members of Toronto's BIAs as part of the Starter Company Plus program for the reduced rate of $299 plus HST thanks to the contributions of the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto's small business programming partners.