Join the Agriculture and Economic Development Community of Practice on May 11 from 10 am – 11:30 am to hear about Ontario’s growing agriculture and food innovation ecosystem including presentations about several provincial and regional innovation initiatives including:
Economic development officers, planners and those involved in community economic development should join in and share how the agriculture and food innovation ecosystems can help your agriculture and food industry.
Ontario’s agriculture and food industries strive to meet an ever-increasing global demand for agricultural products. Ontario agriculture and food innovation projects are evolving and expanding to help people make new business ideas become reality.
Register for this Zoom meeting at: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArcOigrjgpGNCn-GbheDGA6MmmYql6LR9f After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) have coordinated the Agriculture and Economic Development Community of Practice – a free, online network to bring together economic development and planning professionals across Ontario interested in agricultural issues. The quarterly meeting topics will be based on relevant municipal policies, procedures and programming impacting the agricultural sector.
The second Teeny Tiny Summit webinar series centered around the question that has arisen during COVID-19 – will rural communities take shelter from the pandemic storm or dance in the economic rain? To view the slide presentations & recording, visit the Teeny Tiny Summit website.
Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summit – Rural Resurgence Webinar Recap – From December 1, 2021
Do you want to learn how to engage the business community so you can strengthen your local economy? Consider attending the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) three-part Business Retention + Expansion (BR+E) training in April:
- Thursday, April 8th 10:30am – 12pm
- Thursday, April 15th 10:30am – 12pm
- Thursday, April 22nd 10:30am – 12pm
As communities explore ways to support local businesses and foster post-pandemic growth, a BR+E project can assist by:
- prioritizing business engagement
- identifying key challenges and opportunities
- provide insights into how to develop long-term goals and actions
BR+E fundamentals (spanning all four stages of the OMAFRA BR+E process) will be covered during the three training blocks.
Register for the BR+E training. More information about the OMAFRA BR+E program.
A thorough Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) exercise can take several months to complete. However, there may be times when an economic development practitioner may need to gather data quickly. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with the County of Simcoe and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury to address this challenge as they developed their COVID-19 Recovery Plans. Instead of the usual one-on-one business interviews, we used a series of virtual focus groups to collect the business information they needed to develop recovery strategies within a short timeframe.
Our focus groups consisted of a small group of people that would typically be engaged in a BR+E exercise. We used a short-list of questions (no more than four questions per hour of focus group discussion) targeting immediate and long-term opportunities and challenges.
Continue reading Using Focus Groups for Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E)
BR+E continues to take center stage for many communities across Ontario as they navigate through shifting local economic conditions. Data gathered through BR+E interviews and surveys can provide a window into the challenges and opportunities faced by many businesses. This precedes effective, targeted actions and strategies to facilitate the growth and success of local businesses.
While a typical BR+E survey is extensive and provides several opportunities for probing and in-depth discussion, the current economic climate may call for a different approach. Some communities would prefer a streamlined set of questions to quickly identify and address major issues and facilitate business growth. The OMAFRA Recovery BR+E Survey contains 15 questions under the following topics:
- General Information
- Resources and Supports
- Looking ahead
Below are some highlights from data collected between April 2020 and December 2020 by communities using the OMAFRA Recovery BR+E Survey:
Continue reading Findings From the 2020 OMAFRA Recovery BR+E Surveys
The second virtual Teeny Tiny Summit that took place on September 23rd, 2020 discussed how communities have been able to promote engagement and activity in alternative formats throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Speakers shared insight on engagement initiatives that their teams have coordinated to provide support to the community and other organizations.
Below are key items and initiatives from each of the speakers and organizations mentioned:
Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summit – Creatively Bringing Communities Together Recap
Join us for the next Teeny Tiny Summit taking place on Wednesday, September 23rd from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm to hear about creative ways communities have been brought together. For registration and event details, visit the Teeny Tiny Summit page.
Why should I attend Teeny Tiny Summit?
- Become inspired – learn of relevant examples from a community like yours
- A breath of fresh air –refresh with new perspective and insight from other small communities
- Discover – learn about pursuing economic development goals in your community
Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summit – Creatively Bringing Community Together
The Teeny Tiny Summits began in 2016 as a forum to discuss scale-appropriate economic development techniques in Ontario’s smallest communities. Since then,1300 people have attended 11 summits. Feedback from participants tells us that they always come away inspired and engaged, with ideas that they can put into practice right away in their communities. This year, a virtual format was adopted for the first time. But just like previous offerings, participants benefited from the wisdom of their peers and were every bit as inspired as they have been in the past. Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summit Goes Virtual!
In 2020, Teeny Tiny Summits will be moving to a virtual format featuring a series of three webinars. The virtual Teeny Tiny webinars will shine a light on creative ideas and people in small communities that have made the most of the past few months. The webinar series will be sharing ideas and actions from community leaders in small communities of all kinds for informative and inspiring sessions.
Continue reading Teeny Tiny Summit Goes Virtual! Big Ideas for Small Places: A celebration and Exploration of Small-Town Possibilities
Just as the activities of business and government are shifting to meet the demands of the current context, the BR+E process should also adapt to meet today’s economic development needs. To tackle the implications of this outbreak, communities and organizations will benefit from having access to and sharing timely, reliable, and meaningful data. This data can allow stakeholders and the business community to share critical information that can help address individual, regional and sector-based issues.
This post will review four keys ways in which your BR+E practices could pivot to address today’s economy.
Continue reading Adapting your Business Retention + Expansion Practices During a Crisis