Town and County partnering with province to offer free digital business services

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submitted by Town of Morinville and Sturgeon County

Small businesses in Sturgeon County and the Town of Morinville have a new resource to help enhance their online presence thanks to a new program offered in partnership with the University of Alberta School of Businesses: The Digital Economy Program (DEP). Through the DEP, small businesses have free access to resources that can help build or upgrade their online operations, including adding eCommerce capabilities, creating a social media plan, and other digital practices to help their business thrive.

“The past two years have taught us the importance of small businesses having a digital presence, whether that’s a website or being able to conduct online transactions,” said Sturgeon County Mayor Alanna Hnatiw. “We have many fantastic small businesses in the Sturgeon County region, and through the new Digital Economy Program, they can go from being a best-kept secret to a thriving part of our local economy.”

Morinville Mayor Simon Boersma said the new Digital Economy Program is going to be a game-changer for many small businesses in Morinville and the surrounding area.

“We all know the importance of adopting new technology to grow and support businesses, but many small business owners can’t afford the cost to do so. The free resources offered through DEP resolves this issue and provides the support needed by the small business community,” he said.

Heather Thomson, Centre for Cities and Communities Executive Director said the Digital Economy Program is designed to support businesses as they enhance or build their digital presence.

“The pandemic has shown us that businesses need to have a digital platform to not only survive but to build a prosperous and profitable business,” Thompson said. “Our students at the Alberta School of Business are trained and ready to support our business community as they make this fundamental shift.”

Applications for the Digital Economy Program are now open, and the program will be available until March 2023, or until funds are fully dispersed. To be eligible for the Digital Economy Program, applicants must fit the following criteria:

• Registered in Alberta
• Zero to 49 employees (this includes self-employed business owners with no employees), and,
• Home-based or commercial business

The Digital Economy Program is delivered through a partnership between regional municipalities including Sturgeon County and Morinville, the University of Alberta, Business Link and Digital Main Street.

The program is funded by the Government of Alberta, Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.

More information on the Digital Economy Program can be found at

Publisher’s Note: In response to a Morinville Online question, Sturgeon County Communications Department said the Digital Economy Program (DEP) is a springboard to help businesses get marketing assistance with enhancing their online presence. COVID has challenged the finances, resources and resiliency of businesses, and the DEP offers assistance at no cost to get businesses online and optimized.

“If there are Sturgeon County businesses that offer digital marketing services that would like to get placed on a resource list made available to DEP enrolled businesses after they complete the program, they are invited to contact Leanne McBean [at Sturgeon County],” the statement said. “We are happy to make that list available for any businesses that wish to continue on with digital marketing support after their Digital Economy Program has been completed.”

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