Helping 50,000 Canadian small businesses get online by 2021

Editor’s note: Are you a small business owner? Sign up for ShopHERE powered by Google and start selling online here


Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, storefronts across the country have been forced to close their doors. In Canada, where small businesses employ 90% of the private sector workforce, many have been laid off as businesses close. According to the OECD, these closures are likely to hit small and medium-sized businesses hardest.

A digital presence brings businesses enormous opportunities for growth, innovation and jobs. However, digital skills and tools can still seem out of reach to many.

To help Canadian small businesses with their economic recovery, today Google Canada is committing one million dollars to expand Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program nationally with a new pledge to help get 50,000 Canadian small businesses online this year. The program will begin rolling out in select municipalities next month.

Not long ago, small businesses could only afford to source and sell locally. Today, the open web allows any size company or individual creator in Canada to become a global business. According to research from Public First, Google’s search and advertising products helped generate economic activity of $23 billion in Canada last year, a total impact equivalent to approximately 1.1 percent of this country’s entire GDP.

ShopHERE, which started in the City of Toronto, helps independent businesses and artists build a digital presence and minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Google’s one million dollar investment will enable Digital Main Street to expand the program to municipalities across the country, offering more businesses the opportunity to build their online store. Because the opportunities afforded by the digital economy are still limited if people don’t have the right skills, Google’s investment will also help more small businesses receive the digital skills training needed to participate in the digital economy.

Businesses will be able to sign up for the program on the ShopHERE powered by Google website. This program is run in partnership with municipalities; more information on how to bring this to your municipality can also be found on the website.

As a part of the national expansion, ShopHERE powered by Google will also train and onboard Canadian university and college students to build the online stores for the participating small businesses. After completing their placements, these students will walk away with a new set of digital skills and connections with a number of businesses, providing a foot in the door for future opportunities.

Since Google began its business in Canada nearly twenty years ago, we’ve been focused on helping Canadian businesses of all sizes to unlock the prosperity of the internet. We remain optimistic and more determined than ever that technology is the toolkit for a world of opportunities. Together, we’ll continue to help our communities and small businesses to navigate the challenges ahead.

About ShopHERE powered by Google
The ShopHERE program offers businesses and artists the opportunity to build a digital presence and minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. ShopHERE is supported by a number of community and corporate partners, including Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Shopify, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, Magnet and The Schulich School of Business – York University.

Posted by Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada