All posts by ON Regional Economic Development

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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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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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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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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Examples of Economic Recovery Teams

In the past couple months, Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) has hosted a 2-part webinar series discussing emergency economic task forces. The series covered key economic challenges and successes from both rural and urban perspectives. Fellow EDCO members Craig Kelley – Director of Property and Development with the County of Renfrew, Rebecca Mustard – Manager of Economic Development with the City of Kawartha Lakes, and Martin Bohl – Sector Manager with the City of Brampton shared insights on their local efforts to support their community in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Structuring an emergency economic task force was discussed as a means to support local businesses and guide the community back toward a thriving economy.

Why are economic task forces beneficial?

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Feeding Your Future – Connecting Ontario’s Agri-Food Workforce: Online Community of Practice Webinar

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recognizes the unique workforce challenges and opportunities agri-sector employers are faced with. Through Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding, OFA is rapidly developing a support system for agriculture and food employers from field to fork, to feed Ontario’s future. This project will help employers seek qualified candidates for planting, harvesting, processing, marketing, researching, and selling Ontario’s healthy, high-quality food, beverage and agri-products.

Enhancing agri-food workforce readiness along the value chain will help strengthen the Ontario agri-food sector during COVID-19 and beyond. This project will address agri-food labour supply and training challenges through the inclusion of:

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Buy Local!!!

Ontario’s Local Food Week is here from June 3rd – 9th, 2020! This week we emphasize the importance of Ontario’s hardworking farmers, food processors, organizations and agri-sector workers who are committed to providing Ontarians with access to a steady, reliable supply of fresh local food products. With the vast array of food options available, we can remain confident that our agriculture and agri-food industry continues to be resilient and innovative.

girl workingOMAFRA’s Agriculture Economic Development Resource Guide for Communities notes that Ontario’s agri-food sector is one of the province’s largest economic contributors. In 2016, over $37 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) was contributed to Ontario’s economy from the agri-sector with the provision of over 800,000 jobs – roughly 12% of total provincial employment. This means that one in eight Ontarians are agri-sector workers!

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Growing in a COVID-19 World

Guest blog written by Emily Potter, Executive Director, NOFIA

With the current COVID-19 situation changing daily, challenges that farmers were facing prior to the outbreak have escalated, and new challenges are being presented week by week. While the general public are expressing  concerns about the food supply, farmers want the public to know that they will not stop producing safe and healthy food for them to consume. Despite mounting challenges, Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food industry is resilient and innovative.

Industry organizations everywhere have been working hard to provide up-to-date information and create tools to ensure farmers and producers can continue to meet the country’s demand. Whether this be releasing practical tools and information, developing support programs, or working with the government to ensure the supply chain is maintained.

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