WEtech Alliance and Partners Launch Local Solutions to Local Challenges to Support Main Street Businesses

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Media Release: WEtech Alliance

 

Pilot Projects to Focus on Generating Revenue Online, Mental Health and Tourism Innovation

Windsor, ON – January 7, 2021 – WEtech Alliance along with community partners have launched three (3) innovative pilot projects that will take a tangible and local approach to solving main street and small businesses biggest challenges amid COVID-19.

THE CHALLENGES

Through the Ignition program, supported by Libro Credit Union, WEtech Alliance connected with over one hundred (100) small and medium-sized main street businesses across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, to better understand the most pressing challenges facing local main streets.

“Getting main street businesses and entrepreneurs the support they need to get through this pandemic is critical to the growth of prosperity in Windsor-Essex and Chatham Kent. The Ignition program took a boots on the ground approach and showed up to speak with local business owners, understanding the challenges they are facing, so that we could build the solutions that would impact them the most,” said Lori Atkinson, Regional Manager at Libro Credit Union. “We know these solutions are going to make a big difference in people’s lives, and we are excited to see them in action.”

Following numerous conversations with business owners, community members and organizations from both main street and the innovation community, the Ignition program identified three (3) key challenges: 

  • Revenue Loss & Barriers to Online Selling
  • Mental Health Impacs on Entrepreneurs
  • Enhanced Impacts on Tourism & Hospitalty Businesses

THE SOLUTIONS

Through the Community Collaboration Projects, part of the Digital Main Street Future Proof Program and supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Government of Ontario, NORCAT, Communitech, and Invest Ottawa, WEtech Alliance engaged with local entrepreneurs and community partners to develop, implement and financially support tangible solutions to the three (3) key challenges highlighted through the Ignition program.

WEtech Alliance is pleased to support small businesses across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent though the following three (3) solutions and pilot projects:

Entrepreneurs on the Front Lines Project: Leveraging the Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor-Essex County’s programming and expertise, this project aims to provide tailored and on-demand support, programming and resources to business owners, entrepreneurs, and their staff with the goal of ensuring well-being is a priority. The project will run in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, beginning on January 1, 2021 and run through to March 31, 2021.

Tourism + Tech: Sparking Tourism 4.0 Project: Leveraging the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab’s (OTIL) Spark Program, this project aims to connect tourism and hospitality-based businesses and entrepreneurs with technology experts and providers to create and develop new and/or enhanced tourism opportunities, ideas, experiences and partnerships to further support the future proofing of the tourism industry. The project will run in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent in conjunction with the OTIL’s Spark Program.

Shop My Town Project: Leveraging Windsor-based Splice Digital’s shopmytown innovative e-commerce platform, this project aims to connect local vendors with new and existing customers who like to shop local. The project will run in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, beginning on January 1, 2021 and run through to March 31, 2021. During the duration of the project, platform fees will be reduced to 3% (from 12%). In addition, business owners will have complimentary access to dedicated Customer Success Teams, in partnership with Communitech's Future Proof Transformation Teams, who can help business owners get online and sell within one business day.

“The Digital Main Street Community Collaboration Projects allowed us the opportunity to solve emerging local main street problems in real time while colliding them with the local innovation community,” said Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO at WEtech Alliance. “Over the next three months, business owners, entrepreneurs, BIAs, small business enterprise centres, chambers of commerce and municipalities across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent will have additional support to assist in the future proofing and wellbeing of our local business community."

All solutions were evaluated on the strength of community and end-user collaborations, scalability to other businesses and regions and supporting economic viability of main street and broader ecosystem.

Business owners, main street businesses, BIAs, SBECs or municipalities interested in leveraging the following projects/solutions, can contact Noah Campbell at ncampbell@wetech-alliance.com for instructions on how to get started. To learn more about the full Ignition program journey, visit www.wetech-alliance.com/ignition/.

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Media Contacts:

Adam Frye, Director of Business Innovation, WEtech Alliance
E: afrye@wetech-alliance.com
P: 226-747-4398

Yvonne Pilon, President/CEO, WEtech Alliance
E: ypilon@wetech-alliance.com
P: 519-819-8251

Noah Campbell, Tech Community Program Manager, WEtech Alliance & WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation
E: ncampbell@wetech-alliance.com
P: 519-990-6977