Digital business help program launched

Newsroom
EAP
Local small businesses trying to build their online presence because of the pandemic will get help from a new regional development program.

The United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) launched the Prescott and Russell E-Business Grant Program (PREB) to assist small-and medium-sized businesses (SME) in the region. The new grant program is created through a partnership between the UCPR and the municipalities of The Nation and Casselman, the townships of Alfred-Plantagenet and Russell, the City of Clarence-Rockland, the Town of Hawkesbury, the Prescott-Russell Employment Services Centre (CSEPR), the Hawkesbury Industrial Investment Association, Caisse Desjardins Ontario, the Eastern Ontario Training Board, and the Prescott-Russell Community Development Corporation. Credit also goes to the Rural Oxford Economic Development Corporation for advice on setting up the program.

“This regional partnership, which has brought together a total of $66,000, was organized in response to the difficulties experienced by SMEs since the beginning of the pandemic,” stated Carole Lavigne, UCPR director of economic development and tourism. “It was created specifically to help business owners adapt and enhance their traditional online sales processes by incorporating a transactional e-commerce solution.”

The new program also developed as part of the regional economic response and recovery plan for dealing with the economic impact of the pandemic on Prescott-Russell. Business owners can apply for up to $1000 in aid grants to help develop and enhance their ability to offer e-commerce service and sales to clients.

“All initiatives to support our businesses are a priority right now, especially during these difficult times,” stated Caroline Arcand, CSEPR executive director. “We felt it was essential to implement an e-business program for our SMEs, particularly as online sales are gaining momentum as a result of the uncertain economic climate.”

Guidelines for the grant program and application forms are available through the websites of the UCPR and its partners. All applications will undergo review and evaluation on a first-come, first-serve basis until all of the $66,000 in funds are distributed.

Extra advisory help for local small- and medium-sized businesses on training or financing opportunities concerning e-commerce will also be available through the grant program.