Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre has signed up for a Google program designed to help small and medium-sized business owners build the digital skills to start selling online.
With pandemic-related store closures hitting small and medium-sized business the hardest, Google Canada is spending $1 million, along with federal funding, to expand its Digital Main Street's ShopHERE program to municipalities across Canada.
The program is now available to small businesses in Thunder Bay to sign up for a free website through the program.
Local businesses and artists can apply at www.digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere to get their online store built at no-cost. “Now more than ever we are seeing the importance of having an e-commerce site for small businesses,” stated Eric Zakrewski, CEO of Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission in a statement.
"People from global, national and local markets are relying on the internet to shop, find information, or order their weekly groceries. By providing small businesses with the opportunity to build a free online store ShopHERE is ensuring small businesses can tap into these markets and continue to do business virtually.”
The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and a service squad who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology.
“Digital Main Street has a great track record for training and preparing businesses to improve their online presence,” adds CEDC development officer Ryan Moore. “Programs like ShopHERE provide a great way for businesses to start their eCommerce journey as DMS will build one for any business for free and provide some initial training on how to use. This way, many of our small businesses can now be virtually open 24/7 and reach more customers than before.”