Ottawa non-profit launches new program to help struggling businesses

Mayor Jim Watson, Restaurateur Stephen Beckta, CTV’s Stefan Keyes and Invest Ottawa’s Sonya Shorey make announcement at Play.

COVID-19 has left many in Ottawa's hospitality industry hanging on by a thread.

Invest Ottawa, a non-profit organization worth millions, wants to help. It has launched a new program called Digital Main Street (DMS) to give struggling businesses the chance to boost their online sales and attract new customers.

The program allows businesses to access their own mini digital marketing agency, with professional support.

"We’re helping them launch new websites that are powered by e-commerce tools such as Shopify," said Sonya Shorey, VP, Strategy, Marketing and Communications of Invest Ottawa.

"Social media campaigns, when to use different ads, how to put Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to work."

Even restaurateurs like Stephen Beckta could use the extra knowledge.

"Our Instagram accounts were personal accounts not business accounts," he laughed.

“We needed to pivot online."

Beckta's restaurants have been able to survive through e-commerce.

"Without it we wouldn’t be standing here. It has created a whole new business that has generated as much sales as any of our individual restaurants," Beckta said.

The DMS program is free. For more information, visit the Invest Ottawa website.