Closing the Gap between Business & Creativity

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Mississauga Joins Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program powered by Google

Artists included. This welcoming message convinced hip hop artist Vivek Mehmi to apply for Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program powered by Google supported by the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre (MBEC).

“I probably wouldn’t have applied if they hadn’t said the program was open to artists,” Mehmi explains. “A lot of artists don’t see themselves as business people, but during COVID, everyone is going through a hard time and people are turning to art and to artists to enrich their lives. It’s important to learn to see your art as a means of support, as a business, because it’s part of seeing yourself as relevant to the cultural fabric.”

It was not a revelation that came easily. Mehmi’s entire strategy for connecting his music with his fans and growing his audience had to change.

“Prior to COVID, I was gearing up for an events-based business this year. I had planned live appearances at festivals and scheduled other performances,” Mehmi remembers. “When everything had to change, my idea of just how to do it was fragmented. Before ShopHERE, I wasn’t sure how to generate any income at all.”

Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE Program powered by Google provides independent small businesses and artists with a quick, easy and no-cost way to get selling online. The program offers access to free one-to-one support from ecommerce experts to help businesses sell their work or services online. Funded by the Federal Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, Province of Ontario and key corporate partners.

Through his involvement in the ShopHERE program, Mehmi received hands-on help to build and launch a Shopify store to monetize his web site at www.vivekmehmi.com. Mehmi’s line of t-shirts, tank tops and buttons that reflect his brand are now available through the e-commerce platform.

Since getting the shop up and running, Mehmi continues to work with an MBEC consultant to flesh out his business plan, expand the shop, and develop marketing and outreach strategies. The process has introduced the musician to essential business concepts and skills.

“In September alone I started learning about analytics, had my first experience with drop shipping and started selling world-wide,” Mehmi says. “The sessions I’ve been doing with MBEC have taught me that we all need help, no one is an expert in everything. I feel like I have both sides now, the art side and the business side. MBEC really helped to close the gap for me.”

To learn more about the ShopHERE program, visit: digitalmainstreet.ca/perspective.

To learn more about Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre programs and resources, visit: thefutureisunlimited.ca/small-business.