News

Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE powered by Google to Help 3,200 Small Businesses in Ottawa and Southeastern Ontario Sell Online

OTTAWA [July 13, 2020] ​– Digital Main Street (DMS), Invest Ottawa, the City of Ottawa and Launch Lab are pleased to announce the formal launch of ShopHERE powered by Google in Ottawa and Southeastern Ontario. This program will help 3,200 main street businesses impacted by COVID-19 across the region develop new e-commerce websites with the support of students, helping them to survive the pandemic and thrive in the new economy. 

ShopHERE powered by Google helps small, independent main street businesses and artists that currently do not have the expertise and resources to build an online store. Initially launched in Toronto, Google Canada has committed one million dollars to expand this program nationally pledging to help 50,000 Canadian small businesses get online this year to help drive their economic recovery.  Invest Ottawa will lead the delivery of ShopHERE powered by Google in Canada’s Capital and Southeastern Ontario together with Launch Lab, the Regional Innovation Centre serving Kingston and Eastern Ontario, and in collaboration with Google Canada and the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA).

ShopHERE provides a quick, easy and no-cost way for main street businesses to get selling online right away. Examples of eligible firms include retail stores, salons and spas, auto mechanic shops, painters, restaurants, trades (such as electricians and plumbers), home-based craft businesses, and more. This program provides these businesses with:

  • Access to digital tools, platforms, marketing leader and student team for the development and launch of an online store; 
  • Training and support in digital marketing, shipping and online store operations; and 
  • Access to free tools and various ad credits to help drive traffic and new business to their online store.

Main street business owners interested in this program are invited to:

  • Attend a free ShopHERE webinar hosted by DMS and Google Canada every Thursday at 11:30 am EST: Register now
  • Apply to have an e-commerce website created through DMS ShopHERE powered by Google    

ShopHERE is one key element within a broader $57 million DMS program announced in mid-June with significant support from Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Government of Ontario, and partners across the province. Over the next nine months, this new pan-provincial program will inject a total of $9.3 million into Ottawa and Southeastern Ontario; support 4,100 businesses; and put 350 students to work. 

The broader DMS program aims to help main street businesses impacted by COVID-19, get online to attract new clients, generate revenue, maintain jobs and continue to grow in any economic climate. This offering provides small business owners from every walk of life with access to a host of digital programs and services. In addition to the ShopHERE powered by Google, the pan-Ontario DMS program includes: 

  • DMS Digital Transformation Grants and Digital Squads to help business owners troubleshoot online challenges; and
  • The new DMS Future Proof program, which aims to help small businesses assess the future of their sector, leverage different digital strategies, tools and business models to capitalize on new markets. 

For more information on other DMS programs and services, please visit:

Attributable Quotes 

“Since Google began its business in Canada nearly twenty years ago, we’ve been focused on helping Canadian businesses of all sizes unlock the prosperity of the internet. In this period, more than ever before, a digital presence is critical for every business in Canada. ShopHERE powered by Google, will help small businesses in Ottawa and Southeastern Ontario get online for free and start selling.” -Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada

“We know that main street businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. As the backbone of our local economy and of our neighbourhoods, small businesses need the right support to survive. Thanks to a significant investment from Google, and in collaboration with a number of partners including Ottawa’s own Shopify, the ShopHERE program will help local businesses and artists develop the on-line presence required to unlock new digital business opportunities.” -Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

“COVID-19 has devastated main street businesses in sectors such as hospitality, retail, trades and services We’re excited to collaborate with DMS, TABIA and Google Canada on the delivery of ShopHERE in Ottawa and Southeastern Ontario. This program will help these companies open their virtual doors, establish an online business, and create sustainable sources of new revenue.  Our DMS Future Proofing program will build on these capabilities and help business owners assess the future of their sector, leverage different digital tools, strategies and business models to capitalize on new markets.” -Nick Quain, Vice President of Venture Development, Invest Ottawa

“The pandemic has significantly impacted the two main street companies I own and operate in Ottawa, creating the greatest challenges I have ever faced as a small business.  Although we rapidly evolved to serve customers in new ways, we are struggling to develop sustainable revenues in the current economic climate. And we do not have the internal expertise to build and scale robust online businesses. I am very excited to leverage this Digital Main Street Program, including ShopHERE, to help us address these gaps and develop new digital business models and strategies that drive more consistent customer acquisition and reliable revenue.” -Karla Briones, Owner of Freshii (Westboro) and Global Pet Foods (Hintonburg and Kanata); Invest Ottawa Advisor; and 2018 Immigrant Award Winner, City of Ottawa, 2018

“The pandemic struck just as we were preparing to expand our restaurant and welcome a host of clients during March Break.  Within days of the lockdown, we realized we had to pivot our main street business to survive this crisis. We evolved our restaurant into a grocery store to generate much-needed revenue, but we have a very limited online presence.  We look forward to capitalizing on ShopHERE and the broader DMS to boost awareness of our new enterprise, attract new clients and repeat business, and capture a greater share of our market.” -Karen Boucher, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of The Noshery, Brockville

“Local, small and main street business are the heart of our communities. They create our culture, fuel our creativity, and drive our economic growth. Many of these businesses, namely restaurants, retail and tourism, were the first to be impacted by our COVID-19 measures, and they will be the last to recover. It will take strategic collaboration to help these businesses adapt, grow and succeed in this new economy. Thank you to the City of Ottawa, DMS, Google, Invest Ottawa and all partners for translating this goal into action and equipping local business with new capabilities and opportunity.  It is truly ‘mission imperative’. -Sueling Ching, President and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade

“OCOBIA is honoured to collaborate with leading regional and global innovation leaders to help some of the main street businesses hardest hit by COVID-19.  As we enter the fifth month of the pandemic, brick and mortar firms are struggling to survive, and find a sustainable way forward in this new reality. Businesses with alternate sales channels and online stores were able to continue operating through the lockdown, while many others scrambled to pivot or close their doors. ShopHERE will help these firms get online quickly and efficiently and continue building their business at a time when it is needed most.” -Mark Kaluski, Chair of the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) and the Quartier Vanier BIA

“Helping move small business from ‘bricks and mortar’ to ‘bricks and clicks’ has been the goal of TABIA and Digital Main Street since consumers shopping habits started to shift online. These unprecedented times have only amplified this need. With the help and support of this project and commitments by an unprecedented number of corporate partners, companies, and educational institutions we are that much closer to making Ontario’s small businesses more resilient through the Digital Main Street initiative.” -John Kiru, Executive Director, TABIA

“Launch Lab is honoured to build on our strong collaboration with Invest Ottawa and support the delivery of this new Digital Main Street Program, including ShopHERE, in Kingston and across Eastern Ontario.  It will allow us to bring our strengths as a Regional Innovation Centre to bear on a much broader array of companies in partnership with small business collaborators across our ecosystem. We look forward to helping main street companies throughout our region develop and implement the e-commerce websites, digital strategies and platforms required to help them grow and thrive in this new reality.” – Scott Runté, CEO and Entrepreneur in Residence, Launch Lab

“As Ottawa’s Francophone business association, we welcome ShopHERE and the broader Digital Main Street program to our region.  It is inspiring to see large companies such as Google Canada enabling the growth and success of our small businesses. COVID-19 has created unprecedented health and economic challenges, but it has also catalyzed unprecedented collaboration.  The DMS program is an excellent example of powerful partnership. ShopHERE will help our SME’s rejuvenate and re-launch their business in a stronger digital marketplace.  The ability for businesses to create a bilingual experience for their clientele will further broaden their customer base and increase their bottom line.” -Lise Sarazin, Executive Director, Regroupement des gens d’affaires (RGA)

About Google Canada

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.  As a global technology leader, Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. Google Canada has offices in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa with over 1,500 Canadian Google employees working on teams across Engineering, AI Research, Sales and Marketing.

About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in the City of Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative and future-ready city, and the best place to learn, work, live, and play. Invest Ottawa delivers venture development and global expansion programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life.  Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and companies; helped firms attract more than $666 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 9,714 jobs; and attracted $862 million in domestic and foreign investment.  For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca

About Launch Lab

Launch Lab is a Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) and member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) a provincially funded network of resources for entrepreneurs. As a RIC, Launch Lab’s regional boundaries consist of most of southeastern Ontario (Trenton, down to Picton, over to Cornwall, and back up and around through Smiths Falls and Bancroft). Launch Lab’s head office is in Kingston and has a team of Entrepreneurs In Residence (EIRs) that operate throughout the region. Launch Lab’s purpose is to foster entrepreneurship and the commercialization of innovations to help build globally competitive companies in Eastern Ontario.  For additional information, please visit: https://www.launchlab.ca/

Media Contact

Sonya Shorey

Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications

Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

613.851.9416

[email protected]