Media release

Digital Main Street Lab partners with LookLocal.ca, a multi-vendor marketplace for all things local

Startup to help Main Street businesses generate awareness and sell more products online

KITCHENER, ONT., January 05, 2021 — LookLocal.ca, a multi-vendor marketplace that makes it easy for consumers to shop their favourite Main Street businesses all in one place, and Haltech member company, has been selected as a participant in the Digital Main Street Lab program.

Digital Main Street, supported by theFederal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), as well as the Government of Ontario and administered across the Southwestern part of the province by Communitech, will provide funding and resources to LookLocal.ca as they develop a user-friendly, online marketplace where customers can support multiple local retailers and makers on one platform. This pilot project, which is already underway, will run through March 31, 2021.

 “It's never been more important to support small businesses and spend our dollars locally. Our goal with LookLocal.ca is to make shopping local as easy as shopping on Amazon or Etsy, showcasing all the products available nearby,” said Jonathon Root, Co-Founder of LookLocal.ca. “We couldn't be more excited to have DMS Labs partner with us on this pilot and help us put the pieces in place to scale this concept across Ontario.”

In their work with LookLocal.ca, the Digital Main Street team will focus on ensuring that the pilot unites small businesses to improve their online presence. Much like a trip to Main Street, visitors to LookLocal.ca can browse and add items to their cart from multiple shops but enjoy the convenience of only one checkout at the end of their visit. The company will add new retailers and products to the site on a weekly basis.  On the site, customers are able to search by both community and product category.

“The Digital Main Street Lab connects technology companies with locally-owned businesses to collaborate on innovations that lead to impactful digital transformation,” said Ahmed ElBedawy, Communitech’s Digital Main Street program director. “Looklocal.ca shares in our belief that main street businesses are the heart of communities across Southwestern Ontario and we are honoured to support them as they work to develop support for these businesses to compete with big-box retailers online.”  

“COVID-19 has had a profound impact on our main street businesses and local economies,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “Shopping local is a great way to support our communities and our government is proud to work with great partners such as Communitech and LookLocal.ca that are helping local businesses move online and adapt in today’s changing economy.”

At the core of this project, the Digital Main Street Lab is focused on bringing immediate and lasting improvements to neighbourhood businesses across Ontario, enabling them to not only survive, but thrive in today’s rapidly changing landscape. By launching in local communities, tech companies will gain access to real-time feedback from small businesses and effective solutions will be shared throughout the province.

To learn more about the Digital Main Street Lab program, please visit: Digitalmainstreet.ca/digital-main-street-lab.

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For more information or media inquiries, please contact:

Candace Beres

Manager, Public Relations, Communitech

candace.beres@communitech.ca

About Communitech

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.

Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.

  • Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
  • Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.

About Digital Main Street

Digital Main Street is a program that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and our Digital Service Squad, a team of street-level team members who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology.

Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, and Yellow Pages. A $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa, and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street platform in order to support more businesses to go digital in response to the impacts of COVID-19. 

About LookLocal.ca

LookLocal.ca is a multi-vendor marketplace that makes it easy for consumers to shop their favourite Main Street businesses all in one place.  Founded in spring 2020 by  Jon and Tim Root, LookLocal.ca is a technology start-up that was launched to unite small businesses and compete with big box stores online. Much like a trip to Main Street, site visitors can add items to their cart from multiple shops, with the convenience of one checkout at the end of their visit. The website will be adding new retailers and products on a weekly basis; it is searchable by community and product category.