When COVID-19 cases began to spike in 2020, municipalities started exploring a variety of ways to support businesses. Across Canada, economic development organizations examined the unique challenges facing their communities and created action plans to help businesses survive and recover from disruption caused by the pandemic.
This post showcases organizations and related activities that were recently recognized by the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) for their economic recovery projects.
At EDAC’s 2020 Conference, three participants won the Marketing Canada Award for the COVID-19 Recovery Project/Plan category:
City of Moose Jaw
The city faced several challenges including a lack of cash flow and a limited budget for advertising, stores that did not have an online presence, and limited/no seating in restaurants. Their solutions to these challenges led to a “Buy Now, Shop Later” campaign, a “No Business Left Behind” Facebook page, a Virtual Marketplace, and a Pop-up Patio. Read more on the City of Moose Jaw’s recovery project: Moose Jaw In Recovery – A Notoriously Engaged Approach To Helping Business Combat COVID-19 – EDAC
Economic Developers Alberta (EDA)
The Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) created tools and resources such as the Beyond COVID Webinar Series, the Alberta Economic Development Leaders’ Summit, and an Xperience Alberta app platform to accelerate business and economic recovery in Alberta. Read more on EDA’s recovery project: EDA Economic Recovery and Resiliency Program: COVID-19 Response – EDAC
Region of Durham
The Region of Durham developed a business directory website featuring over 800 businesses in 13 areas of Durham region. The website aimed to promote small businesses in downtown areas that were struggling economically. Read more on the Region of Durham’s recovery project: Downtowns of Durham – EDAC
The EDCO Awards of Excellence program recognizes outstanding economic development initiatives and individuals in the Province of Ontario. At the 2021 EDCO Conference, several Ontario municipalities won awards for their economic recovery projects:
Town of Smiths Falls
The Town of Smiths Falls won two Rural Community Economic Development Awards. One for the PICNIC Business Support Program and another for the Smith Falls & District Chamber of Commerce Shop Local Campaign, where residents subscribed to have products from participating local businesses delivered to them. Read more on Smiths Falls’ recovery project: Media Release | Smiths Falls
City of Hamilton
The City of Hamilton won the Urban Community Economic Development Award for their Spend it Here campaign. The initiative supported small businesses in 13 Business Improvement Areas (BIA) by promoting them through a a series of digital and mainstream advertisements featuring a puppet named Peter Pizzazz. Read more on the Spend it Here campaign: Spend It Here – Invest in Hamilton
St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation
The St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation won the Rural Innovation in Community Resiliency Award for their Railway City Recovery Plan. The approach featured a $50,000 COVID-19 Business Development Fund, the #stthomasproud campaign to support local food producers, and the “Track the Future” mural project. Read more on the Railway City Recovery Plan: The Railway City Recovery Plan – EDAC
City of Toronto & Digital Main Street
The City of Toronto and Digital Main Street won the Urban Innovation in Community Resiliency Award for their ShopHERE program, which creates online stores for independent small businesses and artists at no cost and provides training for marketing and managing their stores. Read more on the ShopHERE program: Sign up for ShopHERE to get online today (digitalmainstreet.ca)
View the full list of the EDCO 2020 award winners on EDCO’s website.
This blog post is part of a broader series on economic recovery tools and emerging practices. Follow the links below to read further on some previously-covered topics:
- How to Structure and Economic Recovery Team
- The Importance of Collaborating to Support Economic Recovery
- Effective Business Outreach During COVID-19
- Adapting your Business Retention + Expansion Practices During a Crisis
- Road to Economic Recovery Using BR+E For Rural Communities
- Recovery Plans & Performance Measures – Is Your Plan Working?