Tag Archives: Economic Development

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:

Continue reading Rural Economic Development (RED) Program Opens on August 30th

Registration Open: Online Agriculture Economic Development Training

If your community is looking for ways to support your local agriculture sector; consider attending the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) online Agriculture Economic Development Training.

The course is split into two sessions and registration is free.

  • Tuesday April 27, 10am – 11:30am
  • Tuesday May 4, 10am – 11:30am

This interactive training will:

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Register Now: Spring 2021 BR+E Coordinator Training

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.


Using Focus Groups for Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E)

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.

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Findings From the 2020 OMAFRA Recovery BR+E Surveys

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
  • Workforce
  • 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

2020 Ontario Regional Economic Development: A Year In Review

2020 has been an incredibly unique and unforgettable year, it’s also been a great year for the ON Regional Economic Development blog website. We’ve expanded our range of topics and have enjoyed watching our follow numbers grow. Below is a recap of our most popular blogs for 2020.

1. Top Ten Impacts COVID-19 Is Having on Local Economic Development and Ways That Economic Developers Can Help – April 23, 2020

Impacts of COVID-19 on local communities has left economic developers seeking guidance on how to best respond to the outbreak and offer effective support measures. This blog post discusses a ten-point action plan for how economic developer organizations can work through a three-phase recovery.

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Recap – Municipal Agriculture, Economic Development & Planning Forum

The 12th annual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development & Planning Forum took place on November 18-19, 2020. The forum showcased exciting agricultural and rural projects happening in Huron County and throughout Ontario. Ways to engage and grow agriculture along the value chain, and opportunities for planning and economic development were highlighted to the more than 230 people in attendance.

Energetic discussions explored topics such as export as a growth strategy, direct selling in a COVID world, inspiring innovation within a municipality and more!

The forum focused on working together to grow a better future for the Agri-Food sector. Whether you want to:

  • Promote local food
  • Brand your region
  • Support export initiatives
  • Drive innovation in your region

Listed below are several tools and resources to support your work. Visit these links for more information:

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Data Tools and Analysis for Economic Recovery

Join OMAFRA economic development staff and subject matter experts on Tuesday, November 24th, 2020 (2 pm – 3:15 pm EST) for a free webinar exploring data tools and analysis for economic recovery.

Local economic development initiatives and policies should be driven by evidence-based decision-making. Access to current data is therefore crucial as communities address current challenges while planning for resilience and prosperity in a post-pandemic world. Some examples of suitable data sets and analysis are:

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Register Now with the Choose Ontario Pavilion at Grocery Innovations Canada Live @home show

The Choose Ontario pavilion will be at Grocery Innovations Canada in its first-ever virtual format where thousands of grocery retail buyers around the globe will be looking for new business partners like you!

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Recapping the Pandemic Response and Recovery Webinar

On Tuesday September 29th, OMAFRA hosted the “Retooling for Economic Recovery Webinar”. Topics centred on economic development programs and tools can be used to enhance economic recovery efforts. The webinar covered the following areas:

  • Leadership & Economic Recovery Teams
  • Using Data to Guide Recovery
  • Altering Business Retention & Expansion During a Pandemic

Below are some key takeaways from the webinar:

Continue reading Recapping the Pandemic Response and Recovery Webinar