Digital Service Squad returning to Haldimand County to help small businesses with eCommerce, pandemic recovery

Haldimand County, in partnership with Grand Erie Business Centre, is pleased to announce the receipt of an additional $57,000 grant from Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program.

The grant provides funding to hire a Digital Service Squad (DSS), who will help local small businesses adopt online technologies and digitally transform their sales, marketing and back-office operations.

A Digital Service Squad was brought on from September 2020 to June 2021 and was instrumental in helping local business owners increase their online presence and apply for the Digital Transformation Grant. With support from the DSS, 82 businesses received the Digital Transformation Grant, totaling $205,000.

Renewed funding of $12.37 million for the Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program (OGP) from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev) includes $3 million for the Digital Service Squad program and $7.5 million to provide 3,000 Digital Transformation Grants to qualified brick-and-mortar small businesses. The OGP is administrated by the Ontario BIA Association (OBIA), in partnership with the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA).

The new squad members will begin to visit businesses in September 2021. Interested businesses can contact Haldimand County by emailing:


“Ontario small businesses are the heart of our neighbourhoods and the economic foundation of our communities. Our government is committed to being there for them as they reopen. This additional support will give these businesses the digital boost they need to raise their profile and rebuild better than ever.” – Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.

“In the past 17 months, as small businesses across the province fought to stay open and keep customers engaged online, Digital Service Squads were there to help. Squads jumped online themselves during lockdowns to help virtually, and businesses have consistently told us how important the DSS were to their success through the pandemic. We are thrilled to support the Haldimand County DSS and help them provide assistance to more small businesses than ever.” – Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIA.

“Having to evolve and utilize all of the online tools have been wonderful, as has the assistance of the Digital Transformation Grant and the support from the Digital Service Squad… I think you get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and it’s just one more thing you have to add to your list so [the grant & DSS] gave us the push we needed to go ahead and get it done properly.” – Tricia Nolan, Luxe & Company, Jarvis, ON

“Local businesses are important to the fabric of our communities. COVID-19 has caused significant challenges and hardships for many small businesses. Haldimand County and Grand Erie Business Centre are thankful for this grant that will allow us to continue to assist our businesses in increasing their online digital presence.” – Lidy Romanuk, Manager, Economic Development and Tourism (Haldimand County)

ABOUT Haldimand County

Haldimand County logo. A yellow sun rising or setting atop green and blue waves. Haldimand County in black lettering below.

Haldimand County is a single-tier municipality established in 2001. Located within Ontario’s most populous region the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Haldimand County gives you the time and the space to connect in ways you can’t anywhere else. Effortlessly blending natural landscapes, farms and small-town charm with emerging suburban development and nearby cities, Haldimand is community of communities. At close to 1,300 square kilometers the space that separates us is also what we share; room to grow and the support that turns potential into something more. Haldimand has a population of approximately 46,000 residents (2016 census). The County is home to several charming small towns and hamlets, each with unique attractions, quaint shops, and fascinating cultural and historic sites. The Grand River’s history, cultural value and uniqueness are recognized with its designation as a Canadian Heritage River and Lake Erie’s beautiful shoreline provide both a laid-back lifestyle and perfect environment for water activities of all types. With our extensive history in farming, agriculture along with manufacturing and tourism remain our top three sectors.

ABOUT Grand Erie Business Centre

Grand Erie Business Centre logo. A pyramid with a cutout of a maple leaf sits above the words Grand Erie, stacked above the words Business Centre.

Grand Erie Business Centre (GEBC) is a private non-profit business development corporation that has been serving Haldimand County and the Township of West Lincoln since 1989. We provide financing, consultation, support and advice to small businesses within this area.

GEBC is one of 269 Community Futures Development Corporations across the country. Community Futures is a not-for-profit corporation with a volunteer Board of Directors. Grand Erie Business Centre currently receives 100% of our operational funding from FedDev Ontario (the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario).

Our mandate is to partner with local businesses and organizations in Haldimand County and the Township of West Lincoln to facilitate community economic growth. We measure our success by the number of jobs that are created and maintained through the businesses and projects that we support. GEBC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of successful businesspeople and professionals from throughout Haldimand County and the Township of West Lincoln.

ABOUT Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA)

Ontario Business Improvement Area Association logo. OBIAA in blue and black lettering, followed by the TM symbol.

OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. The Association supports and advocates on behalf of its members through the building and nurturing of strong relationships and partnerships. OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues.

ABOUT Digital Main Street

Digital Main St. logo. Black background with Digital Main St. written in orange and turquoise lettering.

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 on 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. Ongoing investment from the Government of Ontario
and FedDev Ontario has expanded the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses to go digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.