It seems simple, right? Interview a bunch of businesses, and then do what they told you to do. There! A Business Retention + Expansion (BR+E) project!
BR+E projects are complex, multi-stakeholder efforts with many moving parts. They need a strong foundation, good partnerships and a healthy dose of flexibility.
At the Ontario East Municipal Conference, three economic developers shared their hard-won wisdom about managing a successful Business Retention + Expansion project. All three had recently completed county-wide BR+E projects with various levels of involvement from lower tier partners. Continue reading Zen and the Art of Business Retention and Expansion
Continuing with our series of blogs on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Downtown Revitalization Program, this entry will take a look at the potential benefits and impacts of a revitalization program.
Downtown Revitalization (DR) can be costly and time-consuming, with positive impacts emerging only over the longer-term. As the figure from the DR Coordinator’s Manual shows, economic impacts are not expected until the medium-term in a downtown revitalization program, with new market trends (e.g. e-commerce) necessitating a long-term commitment to ensure sustainability. Though time frames remain a key challenge, downtown revitalization programs also contend with the perception that their benefits are “local” to the downtown area, rather than the broader community. Continue reading Understanding the Benefits of a Downtown Revitalization Program
There are six community pastures located across northern Ontario. Partnerships between organizations and the provincial government were instrumental in the formation of the pastures. In the early 2000’s the Association of Community Pastures (ACP) was created and they subsequently ownership of some of these pastures. The pastures are available for farmers to rent for the summer, allowing them to increase their herd by providing extra grazing opportunities. Community pastures are also used as sites for research and information workshops.
Economic benefits of community pastures
Since the first community pasture was established in the early 1960’s, they have come to provide a source of economic benefit to the communities where they are located. To see what kind of overall benefit community pastures have for the northern Ontario, data was collected for all six of the pastures in 2016.
Charges for using the pasture is done in one of two ways; either a flat rate per animal/animal pairs for the season, or a per-day rate. Table 1 shows the number of animals at each location and the rental rates charged in 2016.
It is clear that there is consistent positive revenue being generated by the northern community pastures. Overall the pastures benefit communities by providing jobs and allowing farmers an opportunity to increase the livestock they raise and subsequently increase their revenues.
Table 2 highlights the overall financial impact of the community pastures in 2016 (based on the assumption that the sale of Cow/Calf pairs and bulls to be $1200 and sale of yearlings to be $1500), which also generates jobs, and benefits the local economy.
In summary, community pastures demonstrate economic benefits by contributing to local research, and positively impacting the economy though the generation of profit from hosting the cattle on pasture, generating jobs, and increasing a farmers revenue opportunities.
Authored by Barry Potter and Kaitlyn Schenk
Meetings are an essential part of conducting the business of any board or organization. Meetings provide the forum for discussion and making decisions on programs and initiatives. Having a structure for running meetings will minimize distractions (i.e. participants talk off topic, monopolize discussion time, have difficulty making decisions or fail to respect the contributions of others).
It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that: Continue reading Chairing Effective Board Meetings
The “first ever” report of this kind, establishes a baseline of the economic and social contribution of Business Improvement Areas to Ontario’s communities.
The Return on Investment of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) project was spearheaded by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) and Toronto Area Business Improvement Association (TABIA) and funded through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs (MMA).
The primary goal of the year-long project was to:
- Establish a set of common indicators for BIAs across Ontario
- Create a pool of tools and metrics for BIAs to share their impact and analyze trends
- Understand what is happening in Ontario’s downtowns and mainstreets
- Outline existing gaps in the data base and how to go about filling them
The consultative process throughout the project was extensive and included a broad range of input from a full spectrum of BIAs, municipalities, and other stakeholders.
“Our goal was to provide the over 310 BIAs across Ontario with the understanding they need to manage and grow their capacity to be vital partners to their members, to their communities and to their municipalities,”
– Kay Matthews, OBIAA’s Executive Director.
The ROI Report identifies that BIAs are:
- Unique in scale and geography
- Big on passion
- Ground Zero for business innovation and incubation because they support small businesses
Here are some key observations from the report:
- BIAs can drive employment, with the survey of 162 BIAs across the province highlighting BIAs that are attracting notable levels of employment to an area (increased the daytime population by over 800% in one BIA), and BIAs that account for a significant proportion (ranging from 0.2:1 to 0.9:1) of the jobs in a community.
- An average of 6% of BIA membership represents new businesses.
- Based on Real Estate Board data, the cost of a single family home or condominium within 500m of a BIA rose on average 46% between 2011 and 2016.
- 75% of BIAs have a significant stock of properties that are either heritage-designated or of heritage interest.
- BIAs produce an estimated total of 1200 events each year, and another 1300 produced by other community organizations land within the BIA boundaries.
- Over half (55%) of reporting BIAs had members leveraging façade programs, generating an average 2.5:1 private sector to municipality investment ratio with an average of $0.17 per capita invested
Continue reading Ontario Business Improvement Areas Releases Return ON Investment Report
I had the opportunity to attend the 60th annual Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) conference that took place in February. Delegates from across Ontario included economic development officers, municipal elected officials, staff from several Ontario ministries, and industry leaders representing manufacturing, business, planning, IT, and tourism.
The theme this year was Driven by Innovation. The following are my top three takeaways from the EDCO conference. Continue reading 3 Lessons on Innovation from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario Annual Conference
At the end of September 2016 a bus load of University of Guelph, Ontario Agriculture
College (OAC) students headed north from Guelph to tour the Nipissing and Temiskaming farming districts. Through pictures and quotes here is a summary of their trip.
Two OAC students from the Temiskaming District, Emily Potter and Tanja Gahwiler, decided their fellow aggies should experience the agriculture found in northern Ontario, so they set about to organize a bus trip to northeastern Ontario.
With assistance and sponsorship from enthusiastic farm associations, the two brought 50 of their fellow students to the region. Continue reading #Agsplore The North
Held on November 15th, 2016, and hosted by the Municipality of Brooke-Alvinston, OMAFRA, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, and Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation, this event brought together 126 community volunteers, business champions, municipal staff and elected officials to hear ideas about revitalizing small communities.
Continue reading Key Takeaways: Teeny Tiny Southwest Summit
The 8th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum was held on November 2 & 3rd in Caledon at both the Millcroft Inn and Spa in Alton and the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Palgrave respectfully.
Delegates came from across Ontario with disciplines in both municipal planning, tourism and local economic development with agriculture and food (farming, food processing, agri-tourism, equine/agri-business sector, and agri-entrepreneurship) as part of their portfolio.
Continue reading 8th Annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development Forum Highlights
As the downtown revitalization community of practice sessions have come to an end, we thought it would be a perfect time to reflect on the key learnings and benefits that these sessions provide to our clients. Community of Practice sessions are generally held as a knowledge transfer opportunity; these sessions aim to provide feedback, support, and guidance to those who wish to partake in a downtown revitalization initiative.
Continue reading Key Takeaways: Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice