The City of Markham is the first municipality to join a Canada-wide initiative, the ShopHERE Program.
Initiated by Digital Main Street (a program of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas) and the City of Toronto, the program is being expanded across the country.
This is a great fit for Markham, a municipal leader in Canada’s innovation corridor. It builds on the rich and diverse talent we have here, while supporting local entrepreneurs and artists who may need to rethink their business model beyond bricks and mortar, and need to fast track their digital transformation.
ShopHERE powered by Google will help independent businesses and artists across Canada open a free online store and provide them with the digital skills they need to start reaching customers online. The program will provide independent businesses and artists with:
- Their choice of a template online store customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
- Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store.
- Training and support for digital marketing, shipping and operating an online store.
- Access to free tools and online advertising credits to support the launch of their online store.
“I have been moved by the stories I have heard from our small business owners who are experiencing anxiety and frustration during these challenging times,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti says. “Many are looking for ways to rebuild. By providing this opportunity, we are trying to extend a lifeline.
“We have all had to rethink and adjust the way we work, learn and do business and this innovative program provides critical support for our small and independent businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.”
Canadian university and college students, who are faced with a challenging job market as a result of shutdowns, will be hired to work with these businesses to build their online presence.
This is a significant collaboration with leading tech partners Shopify, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Ritual, Trufan, eShipper, Snapchat, Magnet and York University’s Markham and York University Schulich School of Business, who have a long history of supporting innovation and research and development in our community.
The program was unanimously endorsed by the Destination Markham Corporation Board, which is currently working on a recovery plan and strategies focused on reviving tourism, the hospitality industry and the wider local economy across various sectors. An estimated 8,312 Markham businesses, 744 of them restaurants, bars or cafes, are eligible for the ShopHERE program.
To find out more about the ShopHERE program: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/