Ontario says four local businesses have received $34,250 in funding to help support them during the COVID-19 shutdown, as part of a provincial Digital Transformation program.

The funding was part of a $57 million project between the Ontario and federal governments to help connect local technology students, who received grants and training, to help local businesses launch and expand their online stores while government closures remain in place.

“Northern Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and our community,” said Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford, who also serves as the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Energy and Indigenous Affairs.

The program is expected to help nearly 23,000 businesses across the province, and create jobs for over 1,400 Ontario students. Ontario says currently, only about 60 per cent of small businesses have a website, and only 7 per cent accept online payments.

“The Digital Service Squads are helping our businesses transition online, allowing them to access new customers safely and reliably. By choosing to shop local by shopping local we are helping our businesses stay in business.”

The program is administered by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association, which works with participating municipalities, Chambers of Commerce and Business Improvement Areas.

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