In August, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced a $23.25 million investment to establish My Main Street—a two-year program to support the recovery and revitalization of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario. The Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) are partnering to deliver My Main Street through two programs:
- EDCO will lead a program to support the revitalization of 65 main street communities and support 975 businesses with direct business grants, market research and business support programs.
- CUI will support 150 local community projects, including events, main street enhancements and activities designed to draw visitors and increase local vibrancy.
Main streets play a major role in supporting the economic, cultural and social cohesion our communities rely on to thrive. They are the heart of communities, where people gather, socialize and connect with one another. According to Bring Back Main Street (bringbackmainstreet.ca), a nationally-coordinated research and action campaign led by CUI:
- Almost 98 percent of businesses in Ontario are small businesses and are responsible for 64 percent of private sector employment
- Since the beginning of the pandemic close to half of Canadian independent businesses saw revenues drop by 70 percent and 30 percent of people employed by small businesses have been laid off.
- Money spent at small, local, and independent businesses circulates in the local economy far longer compared to spending at chains or larger corporations, generating more local activity and creating more employment.
Applications are now open for My Main Street
My Main Street will be delivered in two program streams:
- The My Main Street Local Business Accelerator will support the revitalization of 65 main street communities by providing direct business support, market research and non-repayable funding contributions to businesses.
- The My Main Street Community Activator will support local community placemaking projects, including events, activities, enhancements, and policy and capacity building designed to draw visitors and increase local vibrancy.
If you know anyone in southern Ontario (excluding Toronto) who might be interested, please help spread the word! Learn more and apply today.
Information session: How to apply to My Main Street
Thinking about applying? Join CUI on October 13 to learn more about My Main Street and how to apply. We’ll share examples of projects that are eligible, walk you through the application process and answer any questions you have. Register here.