City of South Bend Launches Pilot “Small Business Digital Storefront” Program March 16, 2021 The City of South Bend is seeking applications for a grant program designed to help local businesses develop or enhance their online presence, marketplace, or capabilities. The program is a partnership between the City of South Bend’s Department of Community Investment and Code Works, a digital product studio that specializes in designing, building, and launching digital products. “Digital tools are becoming essential for businesses to connect with customers. During the past year we have seen how businesses that had invested in digital infrastructure were able to survive and thrive,” said Santiago Garces, Executive Director of Community Investment. “We are excited to announce the launch of this Digital Storefront pilot which will empower our existing businesses to leverage digital tools to adapt to the changing technologies.” The Digital Storefront program aims to support businesses that could benefit from an update to their web presence but may not have had the time or funding to consider it to-date. Code Works aims to work with the grantees to consider effective and efficient solutions to meet their goals. Applications are due April 2nd, with work expected to commence after the businesses have been chosen. “The power of digital can be transformative when deployed well,” said Alex Sejdinaj, co-founder of Code Works. “And, it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are big and small ways we know we can help impact these businesses. We are delighted to put our talented development team to work helping them take the next step in their operations.” “In the past, the first thing a customer saw of a business was its storefront,” said Brian Donoghue, Director of Civic Innovation. “Now, a business’s website is the first thing a customer sees. This pilot program will help small businesses here in South Bend enhance their digital storefront and ensure they’re making a great first impression on customers.” Any South Bend-based business from any sector can apply – whether it has no current online presence, is just starting to employ more digital capabilities, or is seeking more advanced support. Franchises are not eligible. To apply, click here.