Our Online Community of Practice on the Digital Main Street program, held on January 17th 2019, quickly reached capacity. Based on continued demand, the OMAFRA is pleased to facilitate a follow-up session, on February 12, 2019, from 1:00PM- 2:30PM.
This session will again focus on the province-wide expansion of the Digital Main Street program. During this webinar, representatives from the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) and Digital Main Street will be available to answer questions about Digital Main Street.
The session is open to anyone, but content will be focused on assisting organizations setting up Digital Main Street in their community, including administration of the Digital Service Squad and marketing of the program, rather than individual small businesses.
To register for the event, click here.
OMAFRA facilitates and coordinates resources and tools to assist rural Ontario communities with engaging in economic development. For more information on OMAFRA’s Downtown Revitalization program, visit our website or contact the Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor in your area.
The Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) is focused on building the capacity of its member Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) through advocacy, networking, and education. OBIAA represents, supports, and encourages business improvement areas to increase their effectiveness and contributions to the economic, cultural, and social well-being of communities across Ontario.
OBIAA’s annual conference draws delegates from across the province. The conference is one of the major learning events for Ontario’s BIA leaders and members, and allows for the sharing of knowledge and leading practices that focus on fostering community development in urban and rural town centres and commercial districts. The annual Awards showcase BIAs who demonstrate a commitment to improving their communities through innovative projects and initiatives, making these awards a highlight of the conference. Continue reading Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) 2018 Winners
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is pleased to offer a third session in its Online Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice series, to be held on January 17th 2019, from 10:30-12:00. This session will focus on the province-wide expansion of the Digital Main Street program. Continue reading Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice, online January 2019
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
Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program, this entry will take a look at building your downtown revitalization team.
The motivation, energy, and commitment required for successful revitalization should come primarily from the community. Those from outside of the community may provide interesting insights, but revitalization only works when members of the community, local government, and local businesses commit to ensuring the long-term success of revitalizing their downtown.
A revitalized downtown has the potential to benefit the entire community, so the lead organization may identify potential partners from across the community, and not just within the downtown area. Organizations like Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), Chambers of Commerce, service clubs, and non-profit organizations can be key resources to engage and align with. The organizations and individuals to engage will depend on the specific characteristics of the community. Continue reading Building a Team for Downtown Revitalization
The Digital Main Street program, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and delivered by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA), will soon be available across the province to help ‘main street’ businesses become more digital. The program will be live on August 24, 2018, and as part of Ontario’s Main Street Enhancement Initiative, it will help small businesses improve how they use digital tools and provide them with techniques to become even more successful. Continue reading Expanded Digital Main Street Program to Support Ontario Small Businesses
The second online Community of Practice for Ontario’s downtown revitalization community was held in late March. The participants learned about a range of ways in which physical improvements made to downtown areas have contributed to business success.
Here’s a quick summary:
Click here to download the introductory presentation. Continue reading Recap: Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice
Building on the success of the first online Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice (DRCOP) held in November 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is pleased to launch the second session in the series, to be held on March 29th, 2018, from 10:30am-12:00pm.
What is a Community of Practice? It is an informally structured group that allows practitioners with an interest in economic development or downtown development to promote leading practices, share success stories, and build capabilities for supporting downtown revitalization across the province. Membership is open and attendance at any individual event is optional, as the topics will vary based on interest expressed by the group. Continue reading March Downtown Revitalization Online Community of Practice
Vibrant main streets help attract visitors, create jobs and increase the competitiveness of small businesses, which are the backbone of small, rural communities. At this year’s Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) announced the Main Street Revitalization Initiative, a new initiative that will be administered by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and its rural arm, ROMA, to support the revitalization of downtown and main streets across Ontario.
The province is investing up to $26 million in the initiative, which is part of a larger $40 million investment in the Main Street Enhancement Initiative focused on strengthening communities’ planning and implementation activities in downtown and main street areas, as well as providing business support for capital improvements, enhanced digital capabilities and improvements to energy efficiencies. Continue reading New Main Street Revitalization Initiative
Themed “AuthentiCITY” the International Downtown Association (IDA) recently held its 63rd annual Conference and Trade Show in Winnipeg. The conference focused on examining the role of place management organizations in shaping prosperous downtown and commercial districts. After taking a few weeks to collect my thoughts, here are some of the key topics I continue to think about.
The uncertain future of retail: The popular media narrative of e-commerce growth signalling the end of physical “bricks and mortar” retail is easy to believe. However, sessions and speakers at the conference highlighted the nuances missing in that narrative – trends like the strong growth of e-retail but still limited overall share of Continue reading Lessons Learned from the Annual International Downtown Association