Tag Archives: Community

Downtown Revitalization Ticking Along in Gravenhurst

Downtowns are often the historical heart of communities across rural Ontario. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Downtown Revitalization program offers a framework for improving the physical, economic, and social well-being of those traditional town centres and their historic places and spaces.

The Town of Gravenhurst launched their Downtown Revitalization initiative with the support of OMAFRA in 2011. The vision for this initiative was to create a Town that offers economic sustainability, diversity, and cultural or geographic uniqueness. Through investment and support from the Town and OMAFRA, Gravenhurst’s Downtown Revitalization initiative has generated a number of positive impacts for the Town over the last several years of implementing its action plan.

These include: Continue reading Downtown Revitalization Ticking Along in Gravenhurst

Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities

Attracting and retaining youth is one of the many challenges faced by rural communities.

The Newcomer and Youth Community Indicators is a tool that was designed to assist rural communities looking to better understand their attractiveness to both newcomers and youth. Screenshot18It is a free Excel-based tool that includes information for every municipality in Ontario. The tool was developed in partnership with the Rural Ontario Institute and the Conference Board of Canada, and includes the most recent Statistics Canada data available.

The tool provides communities with comparative data that can help them make informed decisions and strategies for retaining and attracting youth. Few communities have an accurate picture of how they differ from their neighbours or other similar communities across the province. The tool allows communities to make decisions based on a sound understanding of their strengths and weaknesses compared to other communities. Continue reading Attracting and Retaining Youth in Rural Communities

Collaboration Goes a Long Way: Huron County-wide Economic Development Planning Project

Successful regional economic development planning achieved thanks to the “Train the Trainer” program developed by the Regional Economic Development Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

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Vicki Lass, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, presenting at the 2016 ORGA/ROMA annual conference

Gone are the days of planning in silos for the municipalities in Huron County. In 2014, the County began the challenging process of re-structuring their entire Economic Development department and also created an Economic Development Board comprised of leaders from across the business community. The first order of business was to develop a comprehensive strategic plan. Working together, all ten municipal partners and community representatives achieved economic development plans that are integrated county-wide.

Key Factors for the project success:

  1. Influential Leadership
  2. Time Commitment
  3. Agreement on Common Elements

Continue reading Collaboration Goes a Long Way: Huron County-wide Economic Development Planning Project

Ontario Craft Brewery Ramps Up Production with Growing Forward 2 funding

Time is always in short supply when you run a business. It is something Brent Davies always seems to run out of. He is vice president and co-owner of Wellington Brewery, so finding the time to look into funding opportunities just never seems to rise to the top of his priority pile.

“When you are a small company, and trying to do everything, you just don’t have the manpower to investigate funding options,” says Brent. “But after successfully accessing three cost-sharing projects through Growing Forward 2, I would encourage other small business to find the time. It’s a well-run program and worth the effort.” Continue reading Ontario Craft Brewery Ramps Up Production with Growing Forward 2 funding

Overview of the First Impression Community Exchange Program

A group of people having a discussionA First Impressions Community Exchange (FICE) is a structured and cost-effective process that reveals the first impression a community conveys to potential visitors, investors and new residents. The results can serve as the basis for action plans to enhance or build on community strengths and address challenges. Continue reading Overview of the First Impression Community Exchange Program

Ontario Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice Sessions

Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice sessions are an excellent opportunity for downtown revitalization Kingston_downtowncoordinators, volunteers and community leaders to network, gain insights into the experiences, successes and challenges communities have faced on their downtown revitalization journey Continue reading Ontario Downtown Revitalization Community of Practice Sessions

Two ways to Explore Value-Added Opportunities

CheeseIn spring of 2015, Regional Economic Development and Business Management Unit of OMAFRA, Harvest Hastings and the Small Business Centre delivered the ‘Starting or Growing your Food Business?‘ two-part series workshop in Stirling. Part one was ‘Exploring Value-Added Opportunities (EVAO)’ and part-two was ‘Market Considerations’. Continue reading Two ways to Explore Value-Added Opportunities

Too Small for Economic Development? 5 Strategies for Teeny Tiny Places.

Hastings downtown streetYou’re a small community in rural Ontario. You have a stable or declining population, no downtown core, no economic development officer and no strong drivers of economic activity. Give up, right? Not so fast…

Economic development is a means to an end goal, which is community well-being. And Teeny Tiny Places can improve community well-being as much as any other place. They simply work on a different scale and with a different toolkit. Continue reading Too Small for Economic Development? 5 Strategies for Teeny Tiny Places.