Economic developers are faced with a constantly changing environment as industry changes before our very eyes; the needs of yesterday are not and will not be the needs of tomorrow. The EDAC 2017 Conference highlighted three themes that can help economic developers stay relevant. If understood and utilized, these themes can help economic developers capitalize on the opportunities they present when planning for future community and economic needs.
Many conversations around the conference focused on the need to nurture talent in order to retain and/or attract business. As noted in the Mississauga Life Sciences Sector Strategy presentation, talent is a key linkage that is critical to success across all sectors, whether that sector is industry, academia, or government. Positioning Mississauga as a desirable place to live and work was essential component to grow the life science sector to be the second largest in Canada. Attracting labour is not enough. How talent and careers are developed in our communities also plays a role. This point was highlighted by Jeremy Bout of Edge Factor who has created a suite of educational tools for youth, educators and industry who stated that we must “Be relevant, have a palpable story to relate to” when it comes to informing youth about the opportunities of tomorrow. Put simply we must “Promote careers, not jobs.” Ultimately, talent will be critical to meet the business realities of the future.
We are always looking for ways to better connect with you. Our stakeholders have taken to social media so we thought it is time we did too. This blog is designed to keep you up to date with the latest information on how you can grow your agriculture and economic development initiatives.
I joined the Regional Economic Development Branch (REDB) in January of 2015 and have been tasked with the job of leading a team of passionate and highly knowledgeable economic development specialists and advisors across the province whom are dedicated to helping you develop and advance your plans. The training, information and tools our team can provide are designed to move your economic and agriculture development initiatives in the right direction, driving prosperity in your community.
Prior to arriving here at OMAFRA, I spent 4 years with the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI) where I was focused on helping small and medium sized businesses grow. Many of these businesses reside in rural Ontario where retaining and expanding business was critical to supporting the economic fabric in their regions. Leveraging the experience and connections I gained while with MEDEI will undoubtedly serve me well, and the Regional Economic Development Branch here at OMAFRA too.
Having only been here a short while, I have come to understand and appreciate the hard work the folks at OMAFRA do to ensure we are working to better serve clients across the province every day. Truth in the matter though, we depend on client feedback to ensure we are helping clients where they need it most. If you have suggestions, we want to hear them. If you have concerns, please let us know. I’m excited at the possibilities that lay ahead. My team has talent, expertise and passion for the work they do. When you succeed, we know we’ve done our job. To reach the advisor in your area, please visit our website.
Enjoy the blog and hope our paths cross in the near future.
Director, Regional Economic Development Branch
Regional Economic Development Branch blog focusing on agriculture and rural economic development for Ontario