Monday marked the opening of the new round of grants available from the Digital Main Street program. The DMS platform was initiated by the TABIA group as a way to get digital training and tools into the hands of the main street businesses - partnering with OBIAA and funds from the Federal and Provincial government, they rolled out grants to businesses who completed the training so that they can implement the new skills they learned.
This new 3rd round, "DMS 3.0", is launching with an expanded definition of what 'main street' is; essentially, if the 'brick and mortar' business is under 50 employees and pays its portion of the commercial tax on the building (i.e. through rent) then it is eligible.
They also put in the stipulation that if the business had received any of the prior 2 grant rounds, then they would not be eligible for this.
It is also noted that the number of grants are fewer this time across the province than in previous rounds.
Businesses that are interested should apply soon. It should be noted that the OBIAA group is the organization responsible for the approvals and disbursals of the grant, DMS provides the training platform.
Those that are approved will be granted $2,500 to spend as they see fit to improve their online presence.
Here are what they have as eligible and ineligible expenses:
- Digital Marketing
- Hiring a consultant/agency/person to execute Digital Marketing initiatives
- Redesign, Improvement of existing website
- Development of new website
- Graphic design software
- Productivity Software (LastPass, Hootsuite, Dropbox, etc.)
- Social Media Software (Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.)
- Security Software
- Other software as evidenced in the DTP
- Digital Training
- Ongoing Digital Training courses (in-person & online)
- Hardware (maximum $1,000)
- Must be hardware deemed necessary (as determined by OBIAA in its sole discretion)
- Microsoft Office
- Website Hosting
- Domain Name Renewal
- Software Subscription Renewal
- Signage and printing
- Logo redesign and rebranding
- Unnecessary or excessive equipment (or equipment you already have and want to upgrade) (as determined by OBIAA in its sole discretion)
- Business Owner’s salary or current employee salary for executing the project
Here are the requirements for businesses:
Must be a business that:
- Has a permanent 'brick-and-mortar' establishment in Ontario
- Is employing 1-50 employees
- Has not received a DTG previously
- Is paying commercial property tax (commercially assessed), either directly or through commercial rent
- Is a registered business in Ontario and/or is incorporated
- Is open for business/operating at the time of application (not a start up)
- Is NOT a business supplying digital services to other businesses (e.g. website design/development, SEO, programming)
- Is NOT a franchise, including those individually owned and operated
- Is NOT a not-for-profit/ charitable organization
- Is NOT renting office space on a temporary basis (month-to-month)
- Is NOT in a shared workspace such as a hot desk or dedicated desk
- Is NOT a purely online business
- An Ontario resident operating a business in Ontario.
- An individual of 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
- A Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Has completed the Digital Transformation for Main Street program, which includes:
- The Digital Main Street Assessment
- Has passed the eligibility quiz
- The online training
- Developing a Digital Transformation Plan