The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) announced the launch of the Digital 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
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.
The four stages of the BR+E process are:
- Collect and Analyze
- Develop Goals and Action Plans
- 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
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
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
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
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
A recent report from the Government of Canada studied the characteristics and performance of newly established businesses. On average, 96,000 new businesses entered the Canadian economy every year (2002-2014), representing about 9.4% (annual rate) of all Canadian firms.
This study is important for economic development officers (EDOs) undertaking business retention activities as it highlights how the Canadian economy functions, particularly the natural churn that occurs as businesses start, mature, and decline. Based on this research, EDOs should be able to determine ways to help increase the survival rates of businesses in your communities.
Key findings from this study include: Continue reading New long-term Research on business start-up and closures in Canada
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
Leaders can impact their community and enhance regional economic development through innovative problem solving and creative solutions. The inaugural Rural Ontario Leaders Awards (ROLA) were given out in February 2018. Among the winners was New Vision Unlimited. They won the Not-for-Profit category for their leadership and work towards strengthening rural Ontario.
New Vision Unlimited won the Not-for-Profit category for their community HUB office space in Huntsville, Ontario. Continue reading Rural Ontario Leaders Award Winner: New Vision Unlimited
Rural Ontario is composed of diverse communities, with varying requirements to support community revitalization. While some places have strong drivers for economic growth and staff resources to support economic development, that is not the case for all communities. If you are one of the latter communities, we invite you to become familiar with welcome Teeny Tiny Places.
The Municipality of Tweed and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs are proud and excited to present the 2018 Teeny Tiny Summit, Creating our Future: Finding the EXTRAORDINARY in the Ordinary, to be held on June 14 at Trudeau Park in Tweed!
Visit www.teenytinysummit.com for more information and to register. Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summit 2018 – Creating our Future – Finding the EXTRAORDINARY in the Ordinary