Category Archives: Economic Development

Planning your Work and Getting some Quick Wins

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

6 Reasons Why Your Community Should Undertake a BR+E Project

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

Teeny Tiny Summit with a Great Big Reach

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

New long-term Research on business start-up and closures in Canada

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

Expanded Digital Main Street Program to Support Ontario Small Businesses

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

Rural Ontario Leaders Award Winner: New Vision Unlimited

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.

hub1New 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

Teeny Tiny Summit 2018 – Creating our Future – Finding the EXTRAORDINARY in the Ordinary

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

March Downtown Revitalization Online 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

Individuals Impacting Their Community – ROLA Winners

Strong leaders positively impact their community; sparking innovation and inspiring others along the way. The inaugural Rural Ontario Leaders Awards (ROLA) celebrated the 2017 winners in February 2018. Among the winners were Dr. Gezahgn Wordofa and Grant Sparling, who won in their respective categories. They were nominated by their community peers for the leadership they demonstrate which helps to strengthen rural Ontario. Continue reading Individuals Impacting Their Community – ROLA Winners

Important Policy Changes to Analyst

Due to the dramatic increase in requests to use Analyst, OMAFRA is changing the way clients access the tool. In the past clients have been able to rollover their licence; sometimes making it difficult to fulfill new requests for access. In addition, the rollover practice limited the client feedback we were able to collect.

 

Action A: Licence Access Hard Cap

Beginning on March 1 2018, Analyst clients will have a maximum of five months to access the tool for each individual project. Once the five month period has ended, clients will have the opportunity to justify why they need a further extension by completing a short survey. The survey will also ask that the client provide project completion timelines. Continue reading Important Policy Changes to Analyst