MEDIA RELEASE: Port Hope Launches Digital Main Street

print-logo May 31, 2019

Municipality of Port Hope Launches Digital Main Street with Grand Opening Event

Port Hope receives $10,000 Digital Main Street Grant to help Heritage BIA businesses improve online presence

For Immediate Release

Friday, May 31, 2019 - Port Hope, ON

The Municipality of Port Hope launched its Digital Main Street Service Squad program today at a grand opening event that celebrated the summer-long initiative, a program funded by the government of Ontario and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association to help small businesses advance their use of digital tools and techniques to improve their online marketing and promotions.

“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. “That’s why I’m so pleased that the Municipality of Port Hope 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.“

Special guests at the event included MPP David Piccini, Mayor Bob Sanderson, and Ms. Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, as well as Martha Ciana, Chair of the Port Hope Heritage Business Improvement Area Board, and Brenda Whitehead, CEO of the Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce, all of whom made remarks and officially launched the Digital Main Street Squad for Port Hope.

“It is extremely important for our government to invest in enhancing the digital capabilities of small businesses in the Municipality of Port Hope,” said David Piccini, MPP for Northumberland – Peterborough South. “We’re providing them with the tools and training to take advantage of new digital opportunities that will help these businesses to grow and expand.”

As part of Digital Main Street (DMS), program the Municipality received a $10,000 grant to establish a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses in the Heritage Business Improvement Area enhance their use of digital tools and techniques to better promote and sell their products online. The Squad consists of local individuals with specialized skills who will assist businesses, at no cost, to set up initiatives like a Google My Business, adopt new digital technologies from e-commerce and social media to back-office systems such as payroll and inventory, conduct a digital-readiness assessment and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.

“As part of our strategic initiatives within the newly created Community Development Department, the Digital Main Street Program will act as a springboard for main street businesses to advance their online presence within the downtown digital infrastructure,” said Mayor Bob Sanderson, Mayor of the Municipality of Port Hope. “This program will not only benefit local business owners with their operations and promotional initiatives, but it will also enhance the local tourism market.”

Digital Main Street offers two types of grants:
1. Digital Transformation Grant: There are 2,000 grants of $2,500 each available to qualifying small “main street” businesses across Ontario to help them adopt new digital technologies.

2. Digital Service Squad Grant: There are 300 grants of $10,000 each available to qualifying municipal or business groups across Ontario to develop and implement local squads of digital vendors and experts to directly help small businesses.

“Port Hope is a great example of the power of Digital Main Street to help keep our downtown cores vibrant and strong,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario BIA Association. “Our small main street businesses are a critical contributor to Ontario’s economy, social and cultural health, and it’s vital that we work together to ensure their success. Digital Main Street will help the main street small businesses of Port Hope compete in an increasingly digital world.”

Businesses in Port Hope’s Heritage Business Improvement Area who would like to access the Digital Service Squad or apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant can contact Elizabeth Edwards at for more information.

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About Digital Main Street:
Vibrant main streets help attract visitors, create jobs, and increase the competitiveness of small businesses, which are the backbone of small rural communities. The world is changing. Small main street businesses across Ontario must think about how to promote online, use e-commerce, and streamline their processes with digital tools to stay competitive and win. To help Ontario’s main street small businesses enhance their digital capabilities and online presence, the Ontario BIA Association and Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs have partnered on this $12 million initiative over three years.

For more information, please contact:
Kate Ingram, Communications / Community Engagement Coordinator
905-885-4544 x2248