Category Archives: Economic Development

Business Retention + Expansion Program

Introducing the Refreshed OMAFRA BR+E Coordinator’s Manual

The Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) is an action-oriented and community-based program that aims to support local business growth and community development through identifying challenges and opportunities. The Program’s Four Stage Process helps to:

  • Prepare the groundwork and project team
  • Collect and analyze immediate concerns and opportunities
  • Develop goals, action plan, and data analysis
  • Implement the plan and track progress
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Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Opens on August 30th

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program is open from August 30, 2021 to October 1, 2021. You can find all program information including how to apply on the program’s homepage on August 30, 2021.

Information Sessions

OMAFRA staff will be conducting two public webinars to provide an overview of the RED program, and discuss the process for applying to the program. Please bring your questions as there will be a Q&A period. The sessions will be on the following dates:

  • September 2, 11:00am-12:00pm EST
  • September 16, 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

Sign up on the session registration page

Ontario’s Rural Economic Development (RED) program provides cost-share funding to support activities that create strong rural communities in Ontario and open doors to rural economic development.

What are RED Outcomes?

RED applications are assessed on their ability to result in one or more of the following:

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New funding Intake for Ontario Food and Beverage Processors

Canada and Ontario are investing up to $6 million in projects to help Ontario food and beverage processors improve their operations, increase their competitive edge and adapt to challenges as the pandemic begins to subside.

Applications for this program will be accepted in two phases.

The first phase of this new intake under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support projects that will enhance economic development and food safety in the sector will be accepted. Applications for phase one of the intake will be accepted starting on August 5, 2021 until September 2, 2021.

The second phase of the intake will open in September for targeted projects to improve labour productivity, efficiency and reduce waste.

Program materials including the application form and program guide are available on the OMAFRA website.

A webinar providing an overview of this food and beverage processor intake will be held on Monday August 16, at 9:30am. Sign up using the webinar registration form. This session will be recorded and available for those not able to attend.

For more information about the programming contact OMAFRA by emailing or calling 1-877-424-1300.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity. This commitment includes $2 billion for programs that are cost-shared by the federal and provincial and territorial governments and are designed and delivered by provinces and territories.

12 Questions to Determine if Entrepreneurship is Right for You

Before diving into entrepreneurship in the food and beverage industry, it is recommended to do some self-reflection to determine whether it is a good fit for your personality, skills, resources, lifestyle, and preparedness. This 12-question self-assessment will help you understand how you may perform in an entrepreneurship scenario and how this change would affect your life. Take a few minutes to learn more about being your own boss and what it takes to succeed.

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Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade (PROFIT) Workshop

OMAFRA’s Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade (PROFIT) workshop provides Ontario agri-food producers and processors with the main exporting touchpoints required for food and beverage products to the United States. 

For more than 30 years, the PROFIT workshop has grown the success of hundreds of Ontario agri-food businesses by enhancing their market knowledge to export to the U.S.

Following the successful shift from an in-person event to a virtual platform in 2020, the PROFIT seminar will be offered online again this year. The PROFIT seminar series is comprised of nine (TBC) twice-weekly sessions during July and August. It is free for participants to attend, and is being offered to anyone in the agri-food industry that is interested in learning more about exporting food and beverage products to the U.S.

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Regional Economic Analysis Community of Practice Webinar

Join other economic development professionals on Thursday, June 17, 2021 for a panel discussion about regional economic analysis and how to use data to support decision making.

This session is designed to help participants:

  • Gain a better understanding of existing regional and local data to support planning and recovery efforts, such as regional economic base, growth opportunities, sector impact, workforce, and its uses in strategy development.
  • Learn how other communities have utilized different Analyst reports and other data to further their economic development objectives
  • Network with others that use a data driven approach to economic development.
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Informative Resources for Potential Entrepreneurs in the Food Industry

The Government of Ontario is offering new educational resources to assist and guide those who are interested in starting a food business. These resources are intended to inform potential entrepreneurs about various components of starting and operating a food business, as well as to help them discover whether the food industry is right for them.

Key Components of a Business Plan

The first resource offers information about the key components of a business plan, including operations, finance, human resources, marketing and more. It presents many considerations for each of these key components, allowing readers to generate an accurate and fully-encompassing plan for their future business.

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Award-winning EDAC & EDCO Economic Recovery Projects

When COVID-19 cases began to spike in 2020, municipalities started exploring a variety of ways to support businesses. Across Canada, economic development organizations examined the unique challenges facing their communities and created action plans to help businesses survive and recover from disruption caused by the pandemic.

This post showcases organizations and related activities that were recently recognized by the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) for their economic recovery projects.

At EDAC’s 2020 Conference, three participants won the Marketing Canada Award for the COVID-19 Recovery Project/Plan category:

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A recent survey of rural economic development practitioners across Canada revealed that business outreach and enhanced BR+E programs are two key avenues being explored to aid economic recovery. Business engagement and the use of business-level data to guide strategic planning have historically been core components of effective economic development practice. The current pandemic has reinforced the need to ensure that business needs are identified and addressed in an effective and efficient manner.

Join other BR+E practitioners on Thursday, May 6, 2021 for a panel discussion on a variety of approaches and outcomes relating to three theme areas:

  • Using Focus Groups for Business Engagement – Simcoe County
  • Springing to BR+E Actions during a Pandemic – Wellington County
  • The Art of and Science of Collaboration for BR+E – Dufferin County & the Town of Orangeville

Presentations by panelists representing the communities listed above will be followed by a discussion and Q&A segment.

To register for the event, follow this link

OMAFRA provides economic development tools, training and technical guidance to rural Ontario communities. Follow this link for more information on the OMAFRA BR+E program.