Category Archives: Economic Development

Four Simple Considerations You Need for Performance Measurement Success

I recently had the opportunity to attend the PuMP Toronto Workshop. PuMP is a performance measurement process that was created by Stacy Barr and licenced to Adura Strategy in Canada. OMAFRA’s Rural Economic Development Branch provides performance measurement resources to our clients; I am a firm believer in the value that they bring to measuring an organization’s impact and am always eager to hear what new methods and techniques are available to do so.

This intimate workshop brought together public and private sector organizations from across Canada, (participants represented organizations from Calgary, AB to Saint John, NL and all points in between) to learn about effective techniques, using the PuMP performance measurement blueprint.

Here are my four takeaways after participating in the workshop: Continue reading Four Simple Considerations You Need for Performance Measurement Success

Three Things We Learned From The Teeny Tiny Summit

The first-ever “Teeny Tiny Summit” was held on March 30, 2016 in Seeley’s Bay. The summit was dedicated to community economic development in Ontario’s smallest places and was coordinated by the Township of Leeds and 1000 Islands, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Teeny Tiny Places have the following characteristics:

  • Rural geography
  • Villages or hamlets with populations under 1000
  • No economic development staff
  • No strong drivers of economic growth
  • Stable or declining population

Continue reading Three Things We Learned From The Teeny Tiny Summit

Staff Profile: Darren Shock

Get to know our staff. We are profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas.

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?Darren

As an Economic Development Specialist, my role is to lead and develop economic development programs for the province’s rural municipalities. At the moment, I am the program lead for both the Downtown Revitalization (DR) program and the Economic Development Analysis Resources (EDAR) program (home to the Ministry’s Analyst tool). At times, this might include delivering program-specific training or offering technical assistance to communities in each of these program areas, but I mostly work with our excellent group of Agricultural and Rural Economic Development Advisors to assist communities with their key economic development challenges. Being based in the Guelph office of Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, I am lucky enough to have the responsibility to assist communities across the province with the implementation of these programs, so you never quite know where I might show up.

What initiatives or projects are you currently working on?

Continue reading Staff Profile: Darren Shock

Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities

Attracting and retaining youth is one of the many challenges faced by rural communities.

The Newcomer and Youth Community Indicators is a tool that was designed to assist rural communities looking to better understand their attractiveness to both newcomers and youth. Screenshot18It is a free Excel-based tool that includes information for every municipality in Ontario. The tool was developed in partnership with the Rural Ontario Institute and the Conference Board of Canada, and includes the most recent Statistics Canada data available.

The tool provides communities with comparative data that can help them make informed decisions and strategies for retaining and attracting youth. Few communities have an accurate picture of how they differ from their neighbours or other similar communities across the province. The tool allows communities to make decisions based on a sound understanding of their strengths and weaknesses compared to other communities. Continue reading Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities

Improving the Analyst User Experience

Data plays a number of roles in effective economic development. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs – in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) – has offered Ontario’s economic development community access to a full range of data to support regional analysis, strategic planning, and monitoring in a free, user-friendly tool called ‘Analyst’ since 2013. EMSI has recently developed a new version of that flagship tool to improve the user’s ability to find, assess, and report on regional economic data. Improvements focus on five key areas: Continue reading Improving the Analyst User Experience

Collaboration Goes a Long Way: Huron County-wide Economic Development Planning Project

Successful regional economic development planning achieved thanks to the “Train the Trainer” program developed by the Regional Economic Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

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Vicki Lass, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, presenting at the 2016 ORGA/ROMA annual conference

Gone are the days of planning in silos for the municipalities in Huron County. In 2014, the County began the challenging process of re-structuring their entire Economic Development department and also created an Economic Development Board comprised of leaders from across the business community. The first order of business was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Working together, all ten municipal partners and community representatives achieved economic development plans that are integrated county-wide.

Key Factors for the project success:

  1. Influential Leadership
  2. Time Commitment
  3. Agreement on Common Elements

Continue reading Collaboration Goes a Long Way: Huron County-wide Economic Development Planning Project

Staff Profile: Kent Fitzhugh

Get to know our staff. We’ll be profiling them here so you can get to know who can help you grow your ideas.

What is your role in the Regional Economic Development Branch?Kent (2)

As an Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, there are several facets to the position that make it such an interesting role within the Ministry. Promoting programs that support both agriculture and rural economic development allow me to interact with a wide demographic across Renfrew and Lanark Counties, as well as rural Ottawa.  I also help build networks, connecting my clients not only to subject matter experts within Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, but introducing them to resources that can be found in other ministries, as well as other levels of government.

What initiatives or projects are you currently working on? Continue reading Staff Profile: Kent Fitzhugh

Preparing Effective Funding Proposals

One of the biggest challenges an organization faces is receiving external funding, as there are various challenges associated with the process. The Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Regional Economic Development Branch (REDB) partnered to deliver a session entitled “Preparing Effective Funding Proposals” at the recent Economic Developer Council of Ontario 2016 annual conference, which was designed to address these challenges

The goal of the session was to provide participants with an understanding of the proposal writing process, as well as provide an overview of some of the regional and rural funding programs administered by the ministries.

Below are the slides from the session.

If you are in need of help with your funding proposal, contact our Regional Advisors, as they have the skills and expertise needed to properly assist you.

 

Ontario Craft Brewery Ramps Up Production with Growing Forward 2 funding

Time is always in short supply when you run a business. It is something Brent Davies always seems to run out of. He is vice president and co-owner of Wellington Brewery, so finding the time to look into funding opportunities just never seems to rise to the top of his priority pile.

“When you are a small company, and trying to do everything, you just don’t have the manpower to investigate funding options,” says Brent. “But after successfully accessing three cost-sharing projects through Growing Forward 2, I would encourage other small business to find the time. It’s a well-run program and worth the effort.” Continue reading Ontario Craft Brewery Ramps Up Production with Growing Forward 2 funding

How Infographics Support Business Retention + Expansion Projects

One of the challenges with Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) projects is effectively communicating the vast amount of information that is collected. As part of the BR+E program, it is important to develop a final report and action plan. This plan will act as a full and complete record of the project. Its also recommend that Coordinators consider writing a short summary that can be shared with businesses and the broader community. One of the ways to achieve this is by using Infographics. Continue reading How Infographics Support Business Retention + Expansion Projects