Toronto Partners with UrbanLogiq to Digitize Main Street Businesses

You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.

The city of Toronto, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) and UrbanLogiq have announced a partnership that will provide more insight into the economic health and well-being of the city’s main streets and business improvement areas.

UrbanLogiq’s platform will provide its economic intelligence and data analytics background to analyze business and financial activity in Toronto through a mutual research and development pilot. The Vancouver-based tech firm uses machine learning and AI to unlock data trapped in government silos and make urban planning faster, cheaper and more efficient.

“We are very excited by this strategic public-private partnership,” said UrbanLogiq CEO Mark Masongsong. “More governments are opening up to the possibilities of leveraging unconventional partners to lower the cost of innovation to the benefit of their residents.”

This new partnership is coming from Toronto’s Digital Main Street program, an online platform that assists businesses with the adoption of online tools and technologies, keeping them relevant in an ever-shifting digital world. The program has collected data from over 5,000 main street businesses in the city and looks to improve the understanding around adopting digital tools and how creating an online footprint can impact a company and its neighbouring communities.

“Digital Main Street is a ground-breaking program focused on the health and well-being of Toronto’s main street businesses,” said Councillor Michael Thompson, chair of the city of Toronto’s Economic Development Committee. “The partnership with UrbanLogiq provides a great opportunity to visualize the data and insights collected part of the program to better inform decision-making and outreach to Toronto’s main street businesses.”

The idea behind the initiative is that many companies in Toronto’s otherwise thriving downtown areas are failing to embrace an online presence, leading to a loss in business and an increase in competition from big-box and international retailers. The city wants to keep unique shop runners afloat by transitioning them to the digital world that many people are turning to. According to a recent Accenture survey, 66 per cent of Canadians check an online retailer like Amazon for a product before looking or buying elsewhere.

“The health of Toronto’s neighbourhoods are interconnected with the success of their commercial main streets,” said John Kiru, executive director of TABIA. “Digital Main Street has helped Toronto’s main streets adopt digital technologies and through this partnership, we aim to visualize and better understand how we can help Toronto’s retail community adapt to the challenges they face by embracing technology.”

UrbanLogiq focuses on problems ranging from urban planning to traffic and transportation. The company can aggregate data on a cloud platform and use that to look at the best methods to help a town or city improve its infrastructure.