$18,000 Grant for a Digital Main Street Service Squad for Lakeshore Businesses

For Immediate Release                                                                                        

Belle River- On the Lake BIA Launches Digital Service Squad to Help Small Businesses Adopt Online Technologies

 Receive $18,000 Digital Main Street Grant

September 01, 2020:  Belle River, ON.  The Belle River-On the Lake BIA, located in the Town of Lakeshore has received an $18,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario for a Digital Service Squad (DSS) to help small businesses use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.  Funding for the grant is provided by FedDev Ontario. The squad will begin visiting businesses in the Puce-to-Belle River Corridor, Comber, St. Joachim, Stoney Point and the Belle River-On the Lake BIA in early September.  

“It will be a huge help for our small businesses in Lakeshore and will definitely increase their digital presence especially during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tom Bain, Mayor of Lakeshore.

Established in 2018, Digital Main Street Ontario was recently extended thanks to an investment of $42.5 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and $7.45 million from the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). The nearly $50-million investment will help small businesses across Ontario to pivot their operations to include online business models, regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers. The Ontario BIA Association administers the DMS grant program to Ontario’s main street small businesses.  

“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the keystone of our economic recovery. That is why we have invested in Digital Main Street to help these enterprises adapt to doing business in a digital world, and take advantage of the record number of people shopping online. Congratulations to Belle River-On the Lake BIA on the launch of your Digital Service Squad. The work you’re doing with small businesses in Lakeshore will help keep our main streets vibrant, support good, local jobs and help our economy come back strong.” (The Honourable lanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

Digital Service Squads are fundamental to Digital Main Street’s design and success, with trained specialists who meet with small businesses, at no cost, to help them improve their online presence. The squads assist with a number of activities, including developing a Google My Business profile, enhancing their social media presence and providing support for basic website and e-commerce set-up.  Squads will also assist qualified small businesses through the application process for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant, which includes an online assessment, online training modules and the development of a Digital Transformation Plan (DTP).


“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street is needed more than ever,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA.  “We know that businesses that participated in Digital Main Street last year were better able to cope when the pandemic hit, and we’re excited that FedDev Ontario and Ontario are providing the funding to extend this important program to help small businesses in the communities located in Lakeshore.


- 30 -


ABOUT the Belle River-On the Lake BIA


Our vision is for Belle River – On the Lake is to be a thriving year round destination for shopping, dining, recreation and tourism.


Our Mission is to cultivate an environment that promotes growth, connections and prosperity.


Excellence through Leadership

We strive to deliver high quality events and promotions while respecting the rich diversity of our business community. We value curiosity, courage and the confidence to take risks in the pursuit of innovation and quality improvement.

 Partnerships and Connections

We promote collaborative, respectful relationships with our BIA Members, the Town of Lakeshore, the community, one another and our partners. We partner to provide high quality, innovative promotions and events.


Integrity and Accountability

We earn trust through accountability, honesty and ethical behaviour in all of our relationships.



OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs 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.

ABOUT Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street is an innovative program designed to help main street small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, grants and Digital Service Squads teams of street-level experts that help main street small businesses manage and grow their operations through technology adoption. The program was originally created in 2016 by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and a group of strategic partners including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Shopify. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca.

ABOUT Digital Main Street Ontario

Digital Main Street was expanded across all of Ontario in 2018 with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the $38 million Main Street Revitalization Initiative. It has been further extended through funding from FedDev Ontario and the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT).  The new round of funding includes $42.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, a national recovery initiative delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies. With $7.45 million from Ontario, this combined federal and provincial project will strengthen Ontario’s economic capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration, and will promote the development of a strong and diversified Ontario economy. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants


Media Contact:


Janel Gagnier, Belle River – On the Lake BIA Coordinator

Janel @belleriverbia.com








Please feel free to contact us with any questions:


Belle River-On the Lake BIA - Business Improvement Area

 419 Notre Dame Street   Belle River, ON   N0R 1A0

 519.728.4624   Fax 519.728.9530 

info@belleriverbia.com     BelleRiverBIA.com      



A BIA is integral to advancing a distinct, livable, vibrant and resilient business district within itslocal community.


“A truly successful BIA creates a spirit of cooperation that improves the local community not only for all businesses but for property owners and local residents as well.”

Upcoming Events
Stroll the Street
Stroll the Street