Through the WEtech Alliance Ignition Program powered by Libro Credit Union, we connected with over one hundred small and medium-sized main street businesses across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, to better understand the top challenges they’re facing.
We heard clearly that the impact of COVID-19 goes well beyond simply lost profits and business model challenges – it has directly impacted the mental well-being of our regions critical main street business sector. Many business owners described feeling stretched – being parent, provider, teacher, partner, caretaker, and entrepreneur. The weight of these roles, coupled with the growing unease and uncertainty around protocols and financial support for their businesses, has led many to lay off employees, or even themselves.
We learned that this problem is not unique to our region alone. According to a BDC survey, the report revealed that two in five business owners (39%) across Canada report feeling depressed at least once a week and two-thirds (64%) feel tired or have low energy. Additionally, the report highlighted the pandemic is having an even more alarming impact on certain sub-groups, particularly women entrepreneurs, visible minorities and business owners who have either not yet resumed or only partially resumed activities following the initial COVID-19 lockdown. Learn more about this problem.
WEtech Alliance is one of seventeen Regional Innovation Centres, funded by the Province of Ontario, serving the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent regions.
They provide entrepreneurs with business services, training, mentorship and strategic connections to help bring new ideas to market, scale to the next level and build a dynamic culture and a community of innovation. WEtech Alliance has served as the catalyst for technology and innovation in the Windsor-Essex + Chatham-Kent regions since 2011.
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.
A $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 Community Collaboration Projects:
Community Collaboration Projects connect regional innovation centres and community organizations in a series of engaging conversations on common issues facing small businesses to build workable solutions.
The Digital Main Street Community Collaboration Project is made possible through financial support of the federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the Government of Ontario.
About CMHA WECB
Our Mission & Vision
“Community well-being is our sole focus.”
CMHA Windsor Essex is the lead provider and advocate of specialized community mental health and addiction services integrated with comprehensive primary health care services.
“Mentally Healthy People in a Healthy Society”