Media Release

Kingston Launches Digital Service Squad


October 17, 2019

Kingston Launches Digital Service Squad

Kingston Economic Development Corporation helps ‘main street’ businesses go online with Digital Main Street.

Kingston, ON: Kingston Economic Development Corporation and Downtown Kingston! Business Improvement Area today announced the official launch of their Digital Service Squad program in Kingston. Kingston Economic Development Corporation received a $20,000 grant from Digital Main Street (DMS) to set up a Digital Service Squad to help local small businesses in downtown Kingston, Portsmouth Village, and Williamsville improve their digital presence and adopt digital tools and processes to better evolve and grow online to attract new customers and improve their online marketing. 

“Our government is committed to helping small businesses improve their competitiveness, create jobs and attract investment,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “That’s why I’m so pleased that businesses in the City of Kingston will benefit from the expertise of a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses embrace digital technology.  Our investment in the Digital Main Street program will help to ensure that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.”

A joint program funded by Government of Ontario and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association, Digital Main Street helps improve how small main street businesses use digital tools and techniques to become more successful. Today’s digital economy is vital to small businesses, and DMS will help them adopt new digital technologies from e-commerce and social media to back-office systems such as payroll and inventory. 

“We’re very pleased to see Kingston take advantage of what Digital Main Street has to offer. They clearly understand the importance of digital technology and the power of Digital Main Street to help keep their main streets vibrant and strong,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario BIA Association.  “Our main street small businesses are a critical contributor to Ontario’s economic, social and cultural health, and it’s vital that we work together to ensure their success. Digital Main Street will help the small downtown businesses of Kingston compete in an increasingly digital world.” 

Chris Morris, Digital Main Street Advisor with Kingston Economic Development Corporation, will visit businesses at no cost to help them with conducting a digital-readiness assessment and applying for individual $2,500 Digital Transformation Grants. 

"This program offers an incredible opportunity for downtown businesses not only to take a good look at their operations and marketing to ensure they are modernized, but also to take real action to upgrade things like their website or point-of-sale system. A great downtown is the beating heart of any local economy, and this program will help downtown Kingston businesses grow and thrive to stay competitive in a tough retail market,” said Chris Morris, Digital Main Street Advisor, Kingston Economic Development Corporation.

“We’re so pleased that, thanks to a partnership of the government of Ontario, the Ontario BIA Association, Kingston Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown Kingston! BIA, small businesses in Kingston are going to have access to expertise they normally wouldn’t be able to afford in order to improve – or begin – their presence in the digital world. In our current world, small businesses absolutely must have some sort of online presence as well as appropriate software, systems, etc. in order to compete. This program is going to give downtown businesses a “leg-up” in their efforts to be successful and viable,” said Tim Pater, Chair of the Downtown Kingston! Business Improvement Area (BIA) and owner of Black Dog Hospitality.

“The Digital Transformation Grant will help many main street businesses in Kingston compete digitally to attract new sales, access new markets and improve awareness,” said Donna Gillespie, CEO of Kingston Economic Development Corporation. “Consultations with the Digital Main Street Advisor will help businesses both embrace technology and use it to their advantage when connecting with new residents, tourists, and consumers around the world directly.”

For more information on the program or to book a consultation with our Digital Main Street Advisor visit


Media Contact:

Nour Mazloum
Communications and Events Assistant
Kingston Economic Development Corporation
613-544-2725 ext. 7225
[email protected] 


About Kingston Economic Development Corporation

Kingston Economic Development Corporation is focused on building a strong community and supporting Kingston’s thriving economy. Its mission is to provide dynamic and collaborative leadership by leveraging Kingston's unique assets to create jobs and investments in order to sustain, grow, and transform Kingston's economy to meet the needs of the 21st century.

About the Ontario BIA Association

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 by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and a group of strategic partners including Google, MasterCard, Rogers, Microsoft and Shopify.  The Province of Ontario expansion of Digital Main Street is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association.  The Ontario expansion is part of the government’s $12 million Main Street Enhancement Initiative to create jobs and support communities across the province.  For more information, please visit