Digital Durham

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Digital Durham Starter Company

The Digital Durham program has been combined with the Start Company Plus Program to support Durham Region businesses who do not qualify for the Digital Main Street Program.

For existing business operating between 1 to 5 years and can provide proof of existing/current sales who are NOT mainstreet businesses, but have a PHYSICAL location (commercial lease or own a commercial building). Funded in part by the Region of Durham, businesses will have access to a free Digital Services Squad to help you with expanding your web/digital presence, training, mentoring and the chance to apply for a grant opportunity of up to $2,500.

Next cohort is Fall 2021. Please apply and we will add you to a waitlist. 

The program includes:

  • 2.5 hours of Digital Training through Digital Main Street portal.
  • 1 hour session on business financials.
  • 3 x 2 hour mentoring / masterclass on Digital Subjects, Legal, Accounting, Marketing etc.
  • The opportunity to receive up to $2,500 in grant funding to help implementing your Digital Transformation Plan

There will be a number of cohorts throughout the year. Upon completion of training, businesses may apply for the grant funding.  If awarded disbursement is in 2 payments and there are mandatory requirements to stay in the program and milestones for the final disbursement.

Connect with Patrice Esper, Business Advisor to find out more (905) 668-4949 x227 or fill out an application

This is a competitive process and space is limited.



  • Be an existing business operating between 1 to 5 years and can provide proof of existing/current sales.
  • 18 years of age or older.
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Durham Region (proof required).
  • Not currently enrolled in full-time education or employed full time.
  • Prepared to complete the mandatory Business Training Program and attend 3 mentorship meetings.
  • Not participating in any other Government Funded Entrepreneurship Training Programs, and/or have not received funding from BACD or other SBEC (Small Business Enterprise Centre) previously.


  • A sole proprietorship or a corporation where the applicant will be the majority shareholder
  • An independent business venture
  • Partnership where the applicant holds the Majority share; if 50/50 shared, only one partner may apply
  • Fits the Canada Revenue Agency definition of being self-employed in FORM RC 4110
  • Operates at arm’s length from family business ventures in Ontario
  • A business that operates full-time as defined in the business plan and maintains its own books and records
  • Maintains a separate business bank account, following government rules and regulations for operating a business


  • Franchises, branch offices, commissioned sales and distributorships
  • Business ventures that are continuations of existing commercial endeavours
  • Not-for-profit, social enterprise, co-operatives or charitable enterprises
  • Multi-level marketing ventures
  • Single event such as musical ventures bands, DJs or dance/party event organizations
  • Businesses that are strictly pay per click and 1-900 number businesses or subscription models


Assess to see if you are eligible to participate in the Starter Company Plus Program.
Complete the ELIGIBILITY APPLICATION online. On completion, you will be contacted by the Program Coordinator to review your application and next steps.

Grant Application Process and Disbursement

  • Submit completed application and signed participant agreement with the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD), outlining each party’s rights and responsibilities for program participation and possible grant funding disbursement.
  • Complete mandatory business training as described by BACD.
  • Provide copies of business registration, business bank account, SIN# (required if approved for grant funding), and any required licensing documents to your program provider.
  • Submit your completed Digital Transformation Plan and cash flow for review by a Grant Committee, if approved by committee, receive grant funding disbursement in 2 installments.
  • Provide receipts for proof of contribution to the value of $625 towards their digital transformation plan.
  • Comply with the program guidelines and implement the digital transformation plan and financials included with the application.
  • Operate your business on a full-time basis, a minimum average of 35 hours a week.
  • Attend 3 mandatory business mentor sessions over 3 months.
  • Agree to one site visit by the BACD Program Coordinator.
  • Maintain an activity log provided and reviewed by BACD, include time allocations, outline business tasks, operations and marketing activities.
  • Maintain appropriate business records of income and expenditures including receipts which must be submitted to BACD.
  • Complete the participant survey at the end of program cycle (1, 2 and 3-year update).
  • Complete a feedback questionnaire.
  • Complete client profile interview and program feedback.

This program is funded in partnership by Durham Region and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

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Other Digital Resources & Tools

Shopify - free 90 day trial and Shopify Academy for free online courses

Google Digital Garage - free courses digital marketing, SEO, Analytics

Eventbrite - many free events, workshops and seminars - search your interest

SEO Unlocked with Neil Patel - free

StartUP Grind - many free events

Hubspot Academy - Digital Marketing, Social Media, Marketing courses - free through Durham Region libraries

Web Business Tools - a variety of resources for online business tools

Business Courses - a vast selection of business courses

BACD Events & Webinars - many relevant to business


Email: or Call 905.668.4949