The organization of local businesses and business owners in Vankleek Hill has received a grant which will help businesses adapt to new technology. 

The Vankleek Hill Business and Merchant Association (VKHBMA) has received a $26,400.00 grant from the Digital Main Street program for a two-year Digital Service Squad program, which provides small business owners with the tools and support needed to digitally transform their businesses. 

“The Digital Main Street program has helped 23 local businesses improve their online presence, boost business and has been a good training resource for local business owners.  The three years of DMS grants have brought $62,500 into our community as local businesses hire other local businesses to complete the grant work. We are very excited to be able to offer this kind of support to local businesses once again. Our experienced Digital Squad Member, Jan Amell, who knows our local business owners, will be visiting them with suggestions in hand to get things moving quickly,” said VKHBMA President Louise Sproule. 

Digital Service Squads (DSS) are the cornerstone of Digital Main Street (DMS), with trained specialists who meet with brick-and-mortar small businesses, at no cost, to help them complete an online assessment and to introduce them to online training modules designed to build their digital knowledge and skills. This one-on-one DSS assistance includes support for basic website setup, Google Business Profiles, 360⁰ photos, social media presence, and much more. Squad members are also trained to help qualified small businesses with the development of their Digital Transformation Plan and then with the application process for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant. 

“Small businesses are innovative and entrepreneurial, but often lack the resources to respond to change, be resilient, yet flexible,” said Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) Executive Director Kay Matthews.  

“OBIAA is delighted to work once again alongside the Digital Main Street team and is thrilled to support the VKHBMA squad. The Digital Main Street program’s resources, grants, training, and Digital Service Squad assistance provide the means for more small businesses in communities across Ontario to adopt innovative ways, create new revenue streams, expand their markets, and face the future with optimism and confidence,” Matthews said. 

The VKHBMA has hired local businesswoman, Jan Amell, for the third year to act as the DSS consultant to help businesses with their Digital Transformation Grant (DTG). Businesses who received the DTG 1.0 and/or 2.0 may re-apply for the DTG 4.0. Amell will be visiting and contacting businesses in Vankleek Hill and L’Orignal throughout August, September and October, starting with BMA members. 

To become a member, you can sign up here and use coupon code FIRSTTHREEFREE for three (3) free months. You can contact Jan at [email protected] to learn more. 

The Vankleek Hill Business & Merchant Association is a not-for-profit organization that aims to support local businesses and provide opportunities for business owners to connect. It is all about business owners working together. While the association is responsible for a few events (like Trash and Treasure, our town-wide yard sale, and Porchfest), it collaborates and encourages other event organizers in our community. Members are retailers, manufacturers, professionals, restaurant owners, and service providers. Membership fees for the BMA are $100 per year, or $50 per year for new businesses joining the association. The current executive consists of Co-Presidents Philippe 

Fortin (Aquasan) and Louise Sproule (The Review) Co Vice Presidents Erin Dawson (Jade Garden) and Derek Duval (Duval Ventures) Secretary Jen Ashfield (Focus Pocus Planner) Treasurer Miria Baliddawa (The Healing Place), and Directors Adele Robert (Adele Robert Translations) Peggy McDonald (Good Food Garden) and Rebecca Bradley (Pink Bow Tie). The VKHBMA website . 

The OBIAA represents unique and vibrant Business Improvement Areas (BIA’s) 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. 

Digital Main Street (DMS) 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 of 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 Lightspeed. The program is delivered Pan Canada in support of small business thanks to the support of all three levels of government.