LONDON, ONT. -- The joint federal and provincial program designed to help small businesses recover from COVID-19 in the online world is now open for applications.

Both the province and the federal government are committing $57-million dollars to the Digital Main Street Program.

It’s designed to provide funding to small businesses, with little web presence, to enhance their reach online.

Both levels of government say it will assist nearly 22,000 business.

The program will see the hiring of 1,400 students with knowledge in web design marketing to assist the small firms.

The service is being broken down into separate programs, one involving the student support and the second seeing grants distributed by business agencies.

London-West MP, Kate Young, is encouraging London businesses to be the first on board.

Young, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Fed/Dev Ontario, is says local business groups are leading the charge.

“We have business improvement areas like Hyde Park, and the downtown business area, that are very much involved in this. The Chamber of Commerce is going to be involved and Tech-Alliance, so we’re really pleased that so many of organizations are involved in rolling this out."

You can signup for the Digital Main Street program here.