Learn How To Start A BR+E Program In Your Community

The Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) program is a four-stage process that helps prioritize efforts to support existing businesses. The program promotes job growth by helping communities learn about issues and opportunities for local businesses, and thereafter implement initiatives that address specific needs.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) offers BR+E training sessions geared towards:

  • Individuals who are interested in managing or coordinating a community level BR+E project
  • Economic development professionals who will be involved in the implementation of a BR+E project

Continue reading Learn How To Start A BR+E Program In Your Community

Digital Main Street Launches Grant Program

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) announced the launch of the Ddigital main streetigital Main Street Grant Program.

The Digital Main Street Grants Program provides funding to qualifying small “main street” businesses and community business groups to enhance their online promotion, selling and operations. It will help businesses adapt to the digital economy with new technologies from e-commerce to social media platforms. Digital Main Street not only aims to strengthen rural communities but also help local small businesses embrace new technologies that will expand their digital capabilities and increase their competitiveness.

Continue reading Digital Main Street Launches Grant Program

Discover the Advantage of Thorough Preparation and Data Collection for a Successful BR+E

Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) Program, this blog will outline the first two stages of the BR+E process. 

stagesThe four stages of the BR+E process are:

  1. Preparation
  2. Collect and Analyze
  3. Develop Goals and Action Plans
  4. Implement and Monitor

 

BR+E Stage I – Preparation

Step 1: Assess Community Readiness

Community leaders should work with a Provincial Staff Advisor to determine if BR+E is the right project for the community, and assess the community’s readiness for the project.

Check out our previous post, 6 Reasons Why Your Community Should Undertake a BR+E to understand the advantages of a BR+E project.  Continue reading Discover the Advantage of Thorough Preparation and Data Collection for a Successful BR+E

Want to Learn About Downtown Revitalization? Training on Nov 6 & 7 in Lindsay

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program is a comprehensive four stage approach to support economic development efforts of rural communities. As part of that program, OMAFRA provides intensive downtown revitalization coordinator training focused on identifying the processes and tools that are needed to successfully undertake a downtown revitalization initiative in a community.

An upcoming training session will be offered at Celebrations in Lindsay, Ontario on November 6-7. The training event can accommodate a limited number of participants, and will be open to individuals from: Continue reading Want to Learn About Downtown Revitalization? Training on Nov 6 & 7 in Lindsay

The Impact of FALL FAIRS: A LASTING IMPRESSION

It’s the season of fall fairs. These annual events provide an opportunity for farmers to showcase their work, interact with the general public, and evaluate their produce and livestock against other farmers.

Fall fairs are a celebration of  agriculture everywhere The local fall fair brings farmers and consumers together. A recent study indicated that three-quarters of fair attendees think that agricultural education is an important component of fair attendance. For many people, it is their once a year time to get up close and personal with a farm animal or product. Continue reading The Impact of FALL FAIRS: A LASTING IMPRESSION

Planning your Work and Getting some Quick Wins

In this next entry in our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program, we take a look at preparing your preliminary work plan, and the importance of “quick wins” to the initiative.

Before starting to collect and analyze data, you need an overall work plan to guide the Management Committee and Coordinator over the duration of the initiative. The team should have a strong grasp of the entire strategic process when developing the work plan, to ensure the scheduling of tasks considers:

  • The potential to use data collected in one activity (e.g. business and resident surveys) to inform subsequent activities (e.g. community design workshop)
  • The availability of resources and volunteers to carry out the tasks when required, including the level of effort and time required from the coordinator
  • The municipal budget planning process, and the need to submit short and long term projects for municipal council approval in the preceding budget year

Your Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor can assist you with scheduling major activities, and provide templates to assist with the development of a comprehensive work plan.

Developing your work plan also offers a chance to tackle one of the key challenges you may face – keeping the team and community engaged and energized in the initiative, particularly through the less visible activities like data collection and analysis. The work planning stage is a great time to identify and plan for some highly-visible, high-impact activities that will help to promote and generate ongoing support for downtown revitalization.

Continue reading Planning your Work and Getting some Quick Wins

How prepared are you when Navigating the Agricultural Economy?

The 10thannual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum is being held October 3 and 4th, hosted by the County of Wellington and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Explore Wellington County on a bus tour on October 3rd, with local food lunch and dinner included. Learn about different agriculture-related businesses and how you can support similar agriculture activities in your region.IMG_3683

Tour locations include: 

  • Angelstone International Show Jumping Tournaments
  • Rootham Gourmet Preserves
  • Strom’s Farm and Bakery
  • Mapleton’s Organic Dairy
  • Elora Brewing Company

On October 4th, take in a full day of local food, networking and learning. Join us for speakers and panel presentations highlighting best practices from practitioners in Wellington County and beyond. Continue reading How prepared are you when Navigating the Agricultural Economy?

6 Reasons Why Your Community Should Undertake a BR+E Project

The most important thing a Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) project does is build capacity. BR+E is strategically designed to take existing community resources and employ’s its community businesses to help them come together with a plan for the future. 1

Whether you are an economic developer, a chamber of commerce, a local government official, or an interested citizen who wants to improve and ensure economic growth in your area, a BR+E project may be right for you.2 Continue reading 6 Reasons Why Your Community Should Undertake a BR+E Project

Teeny Tiny Summit with a Great Big Reach

The 7th Teeny Tiny Summit attracted its largest audience ever when the Municipality of Tweed hosted the summit earlier this summer. The first Teeny Tiny Summit was held in 2015, as the OMAFRAs East Region Economic Development staff wanted to support their smallest communities. These communities had several features in common…they were typically small, rural, with limited staff and resources, and little or no perceived economic development capacity and activity.

This year’s theme was ‘Creating our Future, Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary’ and was supported by the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and the North and Central Hastings Community Futures Development Corporation. This year’s event covered four key topics that aimed to inspire others. Speakers shared their real-life examples of community volunteer involvement, strategic planning, telling personal stories and the importance of municipal-volunteer relationships. Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summit with a Great Big Reach

Tips for Completing your Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Application

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program supports projects that stimulate economic growth in Ontario’s rural communities. RED supports activities that create jobs and help open doors to local economic development. The program helps communities:

  • identify their economic strengths
  • be more competitive
  • diversify and grow their local economies.

The program is open and will accept applications until September 28, 2018

Applicants are required to read the program guidelines before completing an application form. The program guidelines provide detailed information on eligible applicants, project types, and costs, as well as the process for submitting an application and the process that will be used to assess the application. Continue reading Tips for Completing your Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Application

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