The results for the July 2016 – December 2017 roll up report are here! Over 1,100 businesses were surveyed across Ontario, and the key findings have been aggregated in an infographic. For clients with ongoing BR+E Projects, the roll up offers a benchmark to measure the success of their own BR+E Project against the Provincial average. In comparison, clients who are interested in starting a project can use the roll up report to help identify an area of focus for their project.
Economic development is constantly evolving and changing, forcing economic developers to think outside the box to continue growing local economies. This is exactly what the 61st annual Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) conference will be focusing on. This year’s theme is Mission Possible: Agents of Change, and is all about challenging norms and using creativity and innovation to take action.
There are a great selection of sessions to choose from but we are especially excited about two, being held on Tuesday February 6th:
Beyond Streetscapes, Best Practices for Recruiting Investment into Your Downtown – 11:00am
Downtown areas are the heart and soul of communities and vital to their survival.
Each features its own unique architecture, culture, traditions, heritage, and workforce. This workshop will highlight the key trends affecting downtown revitalization, and discuss tools and best practices to bring new business and investment into the downtown core. Continue reading 2 Workshop Sessions You Don’t Want to Miss at the 61st EDCO Conference
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
The Rural Economic Development (RED) program helps rural communities remove barriers to community economic development, through support for planning and implementation projects that benefit rural Ontario. The program is now open and will accept applications until December 1, 2017. The next intake is scheduled for July 30, 2018 to September 28, 2018. Continue reading Tips for Completing your Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Application
Building on the online model developed by the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice (AED COP), the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is launching an online community of practice for Downtown Revitalization in Ontario.
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 Continue reading Best Practices for Downtown Revitalization
Strategic planning should be embedded into the regular operation of any organization. It helps organizations make sound decisions to guide its activities over time.
OMAFRA has partnered with the Ontario Business Improvement Areas Association (OBIAA) to deliver a free program to build organizational capacity using the Strategic Planning Train-the-Trainer (TTT) program. The program engages and trains a core team of volunteers from within the BIA to strengthen their leadership skills and build a network of support and collaboration that will assist them in creating a strategic plan for their organization.
To participate, BIAs must:
- Be willing to participate in the strategic planning process
- Have a commitment from the Board to the process
- Not be in a crisis situation
- Have five volunteers (the Core Team) that will commit to be trained to facilitate strategic planning
The program includes five hands-on sessions delivered via webinar, running on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm starting November 28, 2017 until March 2018. Volunteers will learn about each stage of OMAFRA’s strategic planning framework, and how it provides a foundation for the next stage. As homework, Core Team members will facilitate that stage of the strategic planning process with their own organization. If you missed the Lunch and Learn on October 24, the slide deck below provides an overview of the program:
Continue reading Strategic Planning is a Great way to Keep your Organization on Track.
I was invited to present on Business Retention & Expansion at the recent International Economic Development Council annual conference in Toronto. The session explored common denominators for success and highlighted unique attributes of the Halifax Partnership, the Ontario and the British Columbia programs.
Continue reading Sharing of (somewhat) International Best Practices on BR+E
It Wasn’t So Much What Was Talked About As What Was Said
The 2017 International Economic Development Council Annual Conference in Toronto marks the first time the event has been held outside the United States. The topics on the agenda weren’t all that different from what was discussed at the Economic Developers Association of Canada conference held in Niagara Falls a week or two earlier. However, for those of us from Ontario, the perspectives and discussions were quite different from what we usually hear. I suspect that for our American colleagues the large number of Canadian, European and Indigenous speakers and attendees gave this event a perspective that was different from their past events as well.
For me, the reason to go to a conference like this is to hear a familiar problem outlined from a point of view I never considered, or to look at a case study that started out using a standard approach to a project but ended up doing something totally innovative when
Continue reading What I Learned At The International Economic Development Council – Annual Conference 2017
The 9th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum is being held in Halton Region on October 18-19, 2017.
The forum is tailored to all those involved in municipal economic development and planning who have agriculture and food in their portfolio. Whether it’s farming, food processing, agri-tourism, equine, or agri-entrepreneurship in focus, this is an opportunity to network and share successes with your colleagues. We’ve prepared two jam-packed days of tours and speakers to showcase the experiences and insights of agri-businesses in the Halton Region and beyond.
Registration is now open – click here
Continue reading Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum – Registration now open