The BIAs in Muskoka’s six municipalities want to help their downtown business owners to improve their technology skill set with the goal of enhancing and growing their businesses.
The Huntsville, Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Lake of Bays, Muskoka Lakes and Georgian Bay BIAs have collectively received a $60,000 Digital Service Squad Grant through the Digital Main Street program funded by the Province of Ontario in partnership with the Ontario BIA Association.
Rather than applying individually, the municipalities decided to apply jointly and hire a local tech professional or business to service the entire Muskoka region. The application was spearheaded by Gravenhurst’s BIA but due to staffing issues the project is now being led by the Huntsville BIA.
“We’re encouraging local tech companies to apply for this position,” said Huntsville BIA manager Morgan Richter. “The individual we hire will be setting local businesses up with a plan and skill set in order to enhance their digital business presence and help them grow.” Applications are open to companies across Muskoka.
The successful applicant will work with business members within the six BIAs to provide training, consulting or advice that could include topics like understanding and creating a social media presence, web design, upgrading a point-of-sale system, or setting up an Etsy page.
A request for proposals (RFP) will be issued in mid-October; the program will begin during the first week of December. The month of December will be devoted to training provided by the Ontario BIA Association and in January the successful applicant will begin travelling across Muskoka to service each municipality’s BIA.
“This is a great opportunity during the slow months for business owners in Muskoka to start thinking about the digital world in a different way,” says Richter. “This grant gives local digital business consultants the opportunity to create long-lasting partnerships throughout the region of Muskoka.”
Richter also says she’s excited for this opportunity to showcase the talents of the Huntsville BIA and what the downtown can achieve through this project.
All BIA members in Muskoka, within the catchment area defined by their BIA, are eligible for this digital assistance and will be noted in the RFP.
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