Are you interested in exporting to the United Kingdom? The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs is hosting a free webinar on Thursday, July 23, from 10 AM – 11 AM EST. The webinar will discuss opportunities for food and beverage companies to export to the UK. Topics will include:
The 2020 BREI Conference took place during the week of June 15, 2020 and featured a variety of presenters from across North America. Academics and practitioners presented on emerging BR+E practices and guided discussions centered around the role of BR+E as an economic recovery tool. Below are 8 key takeaways from the conference:
A strong Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) program can help communities understand and address prospects and issues facing their business community. Amidst a global COVID-19 outbreak that has significantly impacted local economies, it is crucial, now more than ever, to consider BR+E as a means to:
- assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak to the local economy
- identify current and potential opportunities and challenges that lie ahead
BR+Es work by using survey questions to conduct live interviews with the business community. Once the data has been collected it is used to formulate actions to support the business community. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA’s) BR+E program helps communities develop situation specific surveys which ask meaningful questions that in turn provide the data needed to plan for economic recovery and future resiliency.
This post will examine the importance of undertaking BR+E in the current context.
Why is BR+E important now?
As Ontario transitions through the Framework for Reopening Our Province, downtowns and main street areas are required to operate in different ways than they have in the past. On June 1, 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs facilitated an online Community of Practice event to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with the reopening of downtowns. Speakers Stephannie Schlichter, Director of Economic and Creative Development of the City of Barrie, Noella Rinaldo, Executive Director of the Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Area, and Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA), provided their input on some of the methods and techniques that their municipalities have introduced to support the reopening of downtowns.
A few key ways were identified as quick, high-impact tasks that municipalities can implement in downtowns to attract residents and boost their economic recovery:
In the past couple months, Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) has hosted a 2-part webinar series discussing emergency economic task forces. The series covered key economic challenges and successes from both rural and urban perspectives. Fellow EDCO members Craig Kelley – Director of Property and Development with the County of Renfrew, Rebecca Mustard – Manager of Economic Development with the City of Kawartha Lakes, and Martin Bohl – Sector Manager with the City of Brampton shared insights on their local efforts to support their community in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Structuring an emergency economic task force was discussed as a means to support local businesses and guide the community back toward a thriving economy.
Why are economic task forces beneficial?
Our previous blog post, The Importance of Collaboration to Support Economy Recovery, discussed how initiatives that are built on collaboration will be stronger and more resilient. The next two posts will delve into best practices to consider when structuring your recovery team so it can best support your local businesses.
Economic Recovery Management Committees or Economic Recovery Taskforces provide focus and lead the efforts throughout the recovery process. The team has several core functions and roles including:
Ontario’s Local Food Week is here from June 3rd – 9th, 2020! This week we emphasize the importance of Ontario’s hardworking farmers, food processors, organizations and agri-sector workers who are committed to providing Ontarians with access to a steady, reliable supply of fresh local food products. With the vast array of food options available, we can remain confident that our agriculture and agri-food industry continues to be resilient and innovative.
OMAFRA’s Agriculture Economic Development Resource Guide for Communities notes that Ontario’s agri-food sector is one of the province’s largest economic contributors. In 2016, over $37 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) was contributed to Ontario’s economy from the agri-sector with the provision of over 800,000 jobs – roughly 12% of total provincial employment. This means that one in eight Ontarians are agri-sector workers!
The Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice held a webinar on April 15, 2020, to discuss issues in the agriculture and food sector due to COVID-19 and how to help communities during these difficult times.
One concern expressed is the lack of agriculture labourers. The agricultural community is worried that they will not get their full complement of temporary seasonal workers, and that would impact their ability to plant and harvest this season. The goal of the Community of Practice it to help find local and regional solutions to address these types of issues.
The rapidly emerging impacts of COVID-19 on local communities has left economic developers seeking guidance on how to best respond to the crisis and offer effective support measures. Working together, elected officials, partners, local businesses, community members and economic developers can implement actions to mitigate the negative outcomes of this outbreak and work towards a more resilient future.
The International Economic Development Council held a webinar in early April to discuss a ten-point action plan for how economic developer organizations (EDOs) at all levels of government can work through a three phase recovery plan: mobilizing to help their local businesses now (Phase 1), preparing to reopen safely and securely (Phase 2) and positioning economies for longer run recovery Phase 3).