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Grant helping businesses boost digital growth

NEOnet starting to visit businesses this week
2019-0620 BIA cash MH
The Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Association has received a $10,000 Digital Service Squad grant. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

A new grant is helping downtown businesses enhance their online presence. 

The Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Association (BIA) has received a $10,000 grant for a digital service squad. 

In Timmins, NEOnet will be working with the qualifying BIA membership — a main street business that's not a chain store — for a digital audit.

“We’re going to look for bottlenecks and low-hanging fruit, how can they improve quickly and economically," said NEOnet's Phil Barton. "Once they go through the educational portion of it they’ll understand better themselves of how they can improve business through online sales or online marketing and that’ll be a key for the business too. Once they understand that a little bit better, they’ll know where they can focus their efforts.”

After the audit, BIA executive director Noella Rinaldo said businesses can apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant to help them adopt the new digital technologies. 

She said there are about 137 businesses that could apply for the grant. 

“For the downtown this is really big news because it really gets them to kind of do an audit of what they have and what they want to be doing and what they need to move forward,” she said.

The program is funded by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and is being delivered by the Ontario Business Improvement Association. 

“Our government is committed to helping small businesses improve their competitiveness, create jobs and attract investment,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in a news release. “That’s why I’m so pleased that businesses in Timmins will benefit from the expertise of a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses embrace digital technology. Our investment in the Digital Main Street program will help to ensure that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.”

The areas to improve for businesses will vary. 

Rinaldo explained it can be everything from Facebook page, to wanting a mobile-friendly website or creating a point of sale (POS) system. 

NEOnet's team will start visiting businesses June 21.

For more information on the program, contact Rinaldo at 705-264-8733.


Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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