Participate in the Trade Accelerator Program and Learn How to Expand Your Business Into International Markets

This September the World Trade Centre Toronto will be hosting their award-winning Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) virtually and focus entirely on the Agri-Food and Beverage sector. TAP is an innovative program designed to help small to medium-sized businesses accelerate their growth by expanding internationally!

The export process can be daunting, costly, and time-consuming. Through these four virtual sessions, participating companies will establish key contacts, and have access to targeted expertise and strategic planning tools, needed to successfully launch into new markets, as well as grow in current markets. By the end of the program, participating companies will walk away with a complete Strategic Export Business Plan carefully vetted by industry leading partners and sponsors.

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Teeny Tiny Summit Goes Virtual! Big Ideas for Small Places: A celebration and Exploration of Small-Town Possibilities

In 2020, Teeny Tiny Summits will be moving to a virtual format featuring a series of three webinars. The virtual Teeny Tiny webinars will shine a light on creative ideas and people in small communities that have made the most of the past few months. The webinar series will be sharing ideas and actions from community leaders in small communities of all kinds for informative and inspiring sessions.

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Adapting your Business Retention + Expansion Practices During a Crisis

Just as the activities of business and government are shifting to meet the demands of the current context, the BR+E process should also adapt to meet today’s economic development needs. To tackle the implications of this outbreak, communities and organizations will benefit from having access to and sharing timely, reliable, and meaningful data. This data can allow stakeholders and the business community to share critical information that can help address individual, regional and sector-based issues.

This post will review four keys ways in which your BR+E practices could pivot to address today’s economy.

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Curious About Exporting to the USA? Attend the Free PROFIT Webinar Series!

OMAFRA’s PROFIT (Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade), is designed to provide a working knowledge of exporting food and beverage products to the USA.  For 2020, PROFIT will be offered in virtual format at no cost. This highly successful ‘how to export’ program will be offered in eight, 90-minute sessions during the month of September 2020.

Any Ontario-based manufacturer or seller of Ontario-made food, beverage or agriculture products are welcome to register and attend the eight session webinars.

Topics will include:

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Recovery Plans & Performance Measures – Is your plan working?

Every community across Ontario has been impacted by COVID-19 and its effects have been felt by all businesses. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to a recovery plan. Communities need to continue to develop recovery plans based on their own unique situation.

The plan may contain a flurry of actions to help business communities and support local needs – but how do you know the recovery plan will work or is working?

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Exporting Opportunities to the United Kingdom for Food and Beverage Manufacturers

Are you interested in exporting to the United Kingdom? The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs is hosting a free webinar on Thursday, July 23, from 10 AM – 11 AM EST. The webinar will discuss opportunities for food and beverage companies to export to the UK. Topics will include:

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Stories That Demonstrate Rural Renaissance

The Rural Ontario Institute has created a Rural Rebound sharing platform that showcases encouraging stories and positive examples drawn from across rural Ontario. This online platform offers case studies about creative solutions from community and non profit organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs. These stories share a common theme of effective leadership and collaboration. The platform is also a source of reliable up-to-date information on local and regional government efforts, funding and grant opportunities, research findings, webinar links and more.

Below are a few great case studies shared on the platform:

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8 Key Takeaways for Economic Developers from the 2020 Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI) Conference

The 2020 BREI Conference took place during the week of June 15, 2020 and featured a variety of presenters from across North America. Academics and practitioners presented on emerging BR+E practices and guided discussions centered around the role of BR+E as an economic recovery tool. Below are 8 key takeaways from the conference:

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Road to Economic Recovery Using BR+E for Rural Communities

A strong Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) program can help communities understand and address prospects and issues facing their business community. Amidst a global COVID-19 outbreak that has significantly impacted local economies, it is crucial, now more than ever, to consider BR+E as a means to:

  • assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak to the local economy
  • identify current and potential opportunities and challenges that lie ahead

breBR+Es work by using survey questions to conduct live interviews with the business community. Once the data has been collected it is used to formulate actions to support the business community. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA’s) BR+E program helps communities develop situation specific surveys which ask meaningful questions that in turn provide the data needed to plan for economic recovery and future resiliency.

This post will examine the importance of undertaking BR+E in the current context.

Why is BR+E important now?

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Reopening Physically-Distanced Downtowns

As Ontario transitions through the Framework for Reopening Our Province, downtowns and main street areas are required to operate in different ways than they have in the past. On June 1, 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs facilitated an online Community of Practice event to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with the reopening of downtowns. Speakers Stephannie Schlichter, Director of Economic and Creative Development of the City of Barrie, Noella Rinaldo, Executive Director of the Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Area, and Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA), provided their input on some of the methods and techniques that their municipalities have introduced to support the reopening of downtowns.

A few key ways were identified as quick, high-impact tasks that municipalities can implement in downtowns to attract residents and boost their economic recovery:

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Regional Economic Development Branch blog focusing on agriculture and rural economic development for Ontario