Teeny Tiny Summit Goes Virtual!

The Teeny Tiny Summits began in 2016 as a forum to discuss scale-appropriate economic development techniques in Ontario’s smallest communities. Since then,1300 people have attended 11 summits. Feedback from participants tells us that they always come away inspired and engaged, with ideas that they can put into practice right away in their communities. This year, a virtual format was adopted for the first time. But just like previous offerings, participants benefited from the wisdom of their peers and were every bit as inspired as they have been in the past.

With  the unprecedented challenges we face today,  economic developers and community leaders have been called to think outside the box and move to action quickly. The Teeny Tiny Summit that took place on August 12, 2020, delved into how small rural communities can pivot to address these challenges through economic development initiatives. Speakers Sarah Franklin, Economic Development and Communications Officer of Perth County, Kari Partridge, Economic Development Coordinator of Selwyn zoomTownship, and Melissa Marquardt, Tourism Development Officer for the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association shared insight on the initiatives that their communities have introduced to support the reopening of local businesses. Below are key takeaways from each of the three communities discussed:

Perth County Pivots

  • Research and Advocacy – Launch surveys to measure the impact of the outbreak on the business community and share the feedback with the Provincial and Federal Government to discuss future initiatives
  • Communication – Release e-newsletters, resource webpages, videos, and a podcast on a regular basis to keep the community engaged while also providing information on new programs and initiatives. Watch the Proudly Perth promotional video Here.
  • perthOutreach – Create and launch campaigns to promote local businesses and engage residents
  • Tools, Resources and Training – Develop informative webinar series, guidebooks, and training resource webpages to help businesses navigate to a successful reopening

Selwyn Township’s Economic Recovery Strategy Highlights

  • Financial Support – Provide support to businesses to access Federal, Provincial and Municipal support through financial relief programs. Offer not-for-profits financial support through municipal grants and funding
  • Assist local organizations to provide affordable recreational activities.
  • Social Media Outreach – Launch a 5-month multi-media marketing campaign to reach out to engage the community and promote local businesses. Watch Selwyn Township’s promotional video Here.
  • selwynCreate local economic activity – Support the economy through accelerated Township purchases of goods and services including bulk purchasing
  • Celebrate the Recovery – Contribute to community events set to take place in 2021

Ottawa Valley Tourist Association Revival Plan Insights

  • Respond to the Crisis – Develop a communications strategy to collaborate with important stakeholders and regional tourism partners.
  • Reviving the Industry – Continue to streamline communications and support to ottawastakeholders. Develop and launch the Renfrew County Task Force and Recovery Marketing Plan.
  • Recovering the Market – Launch recovery campaigns at a phased approach for both regional and inter-provincial. Complete the Destination Development Assessment and Strategic Plan.
  • Watch Ottawa Valley’s promotional video Here.

Teeny Tiny Summits have played an important role in supporting small rural communities’ economic development goals. If you missed the first session, don’t worry! There are two more chances to take part this year. Join us for the next Teeny Tiny Summit taking place on Wednesday, September 23 from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, to hear about how to creatively bring the community together! To access the event details and registration form, please visit this Link. The last session will be scheduled later in the fall, based on the feedback received from the first two sessions.


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