Media release

Digital Main Street helped almost 7,000 businesses with digital adoption and expansion

Communitech and regional innovation partners guided main street businesses in Southwestern Ontario with virtual solutions to combat challenges brought on by COVID-19

KITCHENER, ONT., July 15, 2021 — As the province prepares to move further into its reopening plan this week, nearly 7,000 small businesses from across Southwestern Ontario are set to build back better thanks to the support received from the Digital Main Street program. 

Thanks to a significant investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) in the Digital Main Street (DMS) platform, small- and medium-sized enterprises across the province received critical support to build their online businesses and generate new revenue as quickly as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since its launch in Spring 2020, the DMS Future Proof Program has been delivered by Communitech and its regional innovation partners in markets across Southwestern Ontario, and:

  • Supported 3,032 ShopHERE businesses to help them develop their own e-commerce platforms and 3,900 Future Proof businesses so they could pivot their business model and implement digital transformations;=

  • Completed 701 business transformation engagements through the Digital Main Street Transformation Teams program;

  • Impacted more than 184 businesses through four pilot projects as part of the Digital Main Street Lab program; 

  • Hired 820 co-op students and recent graduates across all Digital Main Street programs; and

  • Developed and published 24 success stories to date detailing the direct impacts felt by local businesses thanks to the support received through Digital Main Street programs. 

Communitech is proud to have supported the small business community through the Digital Main Street program in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The incredible impact of the Digital Main Street program is a direct result of the hard work of all of the DMS Future Proof students and graduate teams, collaborators as well as regional innovation partners. 


“We are honoured to have had the opportunity to collaborate with FedDev Ontario and partners in order to help main street businesses, the backbone of our local economies and communities, digitally transform their operations, maintain jobs and revenue in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the DMS Future Proof program, we’ve been able to equip business owners with new digital business models and strategies that will help drive growth and propel our economic recovery.”

  • Chris Albinson, CEO and President at Communitech. 

“Over the last year we have been able to help thousands of businesses across Ontario navigate the challenges of the pandemic and provide support through various means of digital adoption. This would not have been possible without the support of our partners like Communitech, and I am so incredibly proud of the impact we have collectively had on our small business community, which as we all know is the backbone of our economy, local communities and more.”

  • Darryl Julott, Managing Lead, Digital Main Street. 

“Each of the members of the [Digital Main Street Transformation Team] were incredibly kind, engaged and professional throughout the entire project. We are so grateful for the work they were able to complete and the research and effort they provided us. The team kept us up to date throughout the whole process and was very responsive and helpful and took on extra tasks and ideas and questions throughout. We are so grateful to the team for all of their help.”

  • Robin Molloy, Owner, Descendants Beer Co. 


For more information or media inquiries, please contact:

Candace Beres

Manager, Communications, Communitech


About Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street is a program that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and our Digital Service Squad, a team of street-level team members who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology.

Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, and Yellow Pages. An initial $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa, and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses to go digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.

About Communitech

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was a wild idea, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,600 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.

Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.

  • Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
  • Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.

About FedDev Ontario 

For nearly 12 years, FedDev Ontario has actively worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada's most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region.