The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on every aspect of life, including how people shop. The e-commerce sector continues to see steady growth year after year, but since the outbreak, online shopping has been catapulted into complete overdrive.

For businesses that do not yet have an online presence, there has never been a more critical time to make the move; especially with the free tools, resources and grants that are currently available.

Digital Mainstreet ShopHERE powered by Google

ShopHERE is a no-cost option for independent businesses to develop an online store, free of charge, with specific branding, messaging, digital marketing, shipping and inventory management.

Thanks to Durham Region’s participation in the program, it is open to all Durham Region businesses, provided they are:

  • A registered business or a registered non-profit organization.
  • An artist.
  • Operating out of a commercial location or be home-based.
  • Have fewer than 10 employees or fewer than 25 employees if you are a restaurant or bar.
  • Not a corporate chain or franchise.

Eligible businesses will receive the following support:

  1. Their choice of an online store customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
  2. Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store.
  3. Training to support their online store, including topics such as digital marketing, shipping and inventory management.
  4. Access to free tools to help support the launch of their online stores.

The Business Advisory Centre of Durham is the organization managing the ShopHERE and Digital Mainstreet programs for Ajax businesses. Meet the minimum requirements? Learn more at

Digital Transformation Grant

Thanks to a partnership between Digital Main Street, FedDev Ontario and the Province of Ontario, the Digital Transformation Grant provides $2,500 to each qualifying small main street Ontario business to purchase and adopt digital tools and technologies.

The objectives of the Digital Main Street Digital Transformation Grant Program are to:

  1. Provide main street business owners a comprehensive plan to guide their digital transformation.
  2. Provide main street businesses with the digital literacy skills they need to execute their digital transformation either through a do-it-yourself approach and being a smart consumer when purchasing these services.

To be eligible, your business must be located in, or close to a downtown main street, Business Improvement Area (BIA) or designated central business district; as well as other requirements.

To review the full list of eligibility criteria, visit the Digital Transformation Grant portal.

E-Commerce Tools and Webinars

Haven’t had a chance to attend one of the many e-commerce focused workshops or webinars that have been available in the community?

Have no fear, the Durham Economic Task Force has compiled a number of webinars and workshops that are available for you to attend on your own time.

Review the E-Commerce Resources that are available.

E-Commerce Business Directory

Are you ready to take the next step in creating your online presence? There are so many businesses in Durham Region that can help.

The Durham Economic Task Force has compiled a Local E-Commerce business directory that feature businesses that can assist you with everything from website design to search engine optimization.

Visit the Local E-Commerce Business Directory

Not sure where to start with your digital transformation? You can always contact the Ajax Economic Development Office for help. Contact us at today!