Small businesses in Barrie are getting a helping hand from the Government of Ontario.

The City of Barrie has received a $40,000 grant from Digital Main Street (DMS) that will help main street small businesses learn and adopt digital tools and processes to better evolve and grow.

The program, run through Barrie’s Small Business Centre, will see trained specialists in the Digital Service Squad visit businesses in the city centre, from August through to March 2020, to provide free training and advisory services on digital sales and marketing strategies and tools.

Just under 500 independently-owned businesses on Dunlop St., Bayfield St., Essa Rd., and the downtown Barrie district are eligible to receive training.

“Digital Service Squads will help modernize businesses in Barrie and make them more competitive,” explained Andrea Khanjin, MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. “The training will also provide them with the tools to take advantage of new digital opportunities that will help our local businesses to grow.”

DMS, a joint program funded by the Government of Ontario and the delivered by the Ontario BIA Association, helps small business adopt new technologies from e-commerce and social media to back-office systems such as payroll and inventory. It also offers 2,000 grants of $2,500 each to qualifying small businesses across the province to help them adopt new digital technologies.

“The program is an important step in building a strong future for Barrie’s independent businesses and further enhancing our creative corridor and growing city centre,” said Karen Dubeau, Director of the City of Barrie’s Creative Economy Department. “Barrie’s Digital Service Squad will help connect local residents, tourists and consumers around the world directly with our small local businesses, creating a dynamic and vibrant downtown.”

Barrie’s Digital Service Squad is a collaboration between the City of Barrie and Small Business Centre, in partnership with the Downtown Business Association (BIA), Georgian College, Sandbox Centre and Barrie Public Library.

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