On Monday May 11th, Mayor John Tory announced the launch of the program, run by Digital Main Street, that aims to get independent businesses and artists online at no cost. The city of Toronto has tripled its budget for this initiative. This comes in response to the thousands of independent businesses that have been forced to close doors since March without any online tools in place to sustain themselves.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to help our mainstreet small businesses get through this crisis. The ShopHERE program would not be possible without the generous community and corporate support of our partners,” Tory said in his press conference on Monday.
It is estimated that 49,501 Toronto businesses, including 7,371 restaurants are eligible for ShopHERE, which runs now through the end of August. This program aims at connecting local small business owners with volunteer web developers to help get them online, and has been made possible through leading eCommerce partners as well as Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) and York University’s Schulich School of Business.
ShopHERE is fully funded by the City of Toronto, and will provide businesses with a customizable Shopify template, as well as training and support for digital marketing, shipping, and how to operate an online store. The goal over the next 90 days is to launch 3000 independent businesses online.
Through the program, eShipper is equipping ShopHERE volunteers with full training on supply chain and fulfillment consultancy. Independent businesses will be able to set up their Shopify stores with a fully optimized shipping and fulfillment solution included as part of the process. This will enable businesses to quickly launch their online businesses and scale beyond their previous brick and mortar potential.
The program is available today to all eligible local small businesses. Businesses do not need to have an existing eShipper account in order to sign up to ShopHERE. The program runs until the end of August.
eShipper is an end-to-end shipping and eCommerce fulfillment solution that allows businesses to scale through integrations, automated processes, supply chain consultancy, fulfillment solutions, and competitive shipping prices.