KINGSTON — The city’s economic development agency is expanding a small business support program after qualifying for federal financial support.
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Kingston Economic Development Corporation received $100,000 from FedDev Ontario to expand the Digital Main Street program in the Kingston area.
The program is designed to help businesses connect with their clients through e-commerce, content creation, search engine optimization and social media.
“We are grateful to once again have the Digital Main Street program return support our local small businesses, especially as many of them are recovering from the effects of COVID-19,” Donna Gillespie, KEDCO’s chief executive officer, said in a news release.
“The Digital Main Street program has been making a significant impact to small businesses since 2018, providing them with grants and enhanced online tools that are critical to interacting with their customers and to generate and sustain much-needed revenue.”
KEDCO’s grant was part of a $10-million investment from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
“Through the expanded eligibility, many businesses in Frontenac County are now able to receive the funding, advice and support provided through the digital service squads,” Richard Allen, manager of economic development for the County of Frontenac, said. “These services could not come at a more essential time as businesses continue to respond, adapt and evolve as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
An online session is scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m., where participants can meet the new digital business advisers and learn more about the Digital Transformation Grant and ShopHERE programs. Details can be found at KEDCO’s website.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees can qualify for a $2,500 digital transformation grant through the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, which can be used to pay for new websites, software and hardware.
“The importance of digital commerce in order for small businesses to survive and now remain competitive was highlighted and accelerated by the pandemic,” Mayor Bryan Paterson said. “Local business owners have worked hard to adapt, but there is still work to be done to ensure they all have an opportunity to establish a strong online strategy and presence.”