The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Business Retention and Expansion program (BR+E) is a structured approach to economic development that helps communities to cultivate an environment for local businesses to grow and thrive. Since the program’s launch in 1998, over 10,000 businesses have participated in more than 300 BR+E projects across Ontario. Over the past two years, a broad range of communities such as the Town of Hanover, Dufferin County, Huron County and Whitewater Region have worked with OMAFRA staff to undertake BR+E projects to identify strategies for post-pandemic business growth.
Attend a free, three-part online BR+E training series in June if you are:
An economic development professional who will be undertaking a BR+E project,
An elected official or municipal staff who would like to learn more about the BR+E program,
An individual who is interested in managing or coordinating a community BR+E project.
All four stages of BR+E will be covered during the OMAFRA BR+E training sessions listed below:
Registration is now open for the FREE Selling Food to Ontario Training Workshop, brought to you by collaboration between OMAFRA, York Region, and the Town of Georgina!
Looking to learn more about different sales channels, how they work and how to decide which channel(s) may be best for business? This webinar will help you create new opportunities for your farm or food business by learning how to expand into new markets such as farmers’ markets, restaurants, food service, and food retailers.
This webinar is best suited for farmers, producers, food & beverage start-ups, small food & beverage manufacturers and food business retailers/restaurants.
The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 5th, 2020 (8:45am-12:30pm), and participants will hear from expert speaker on the topics of:
OMAFRA’s PROFIT (Program to Raise Ontario Food International Trade), is designed to provide a working knowledge of exporting food and beverage products to the USA. For 2020, PROFIT will be offered in virtual format at no cost. This highly successful ‘how to export’ program will be offered in eight, 90-minute sessions during the month of September 2020.
Any Ontario-based manufacturer or seller of Ontario-made food, beverage or agriculture products are welcome to register and attend the eight session webinars.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recognizes the unique workforce challenges and opportunities agri-sector employers are faced with. Through Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding, OFA is rapidly developing a support system for agriculture and food employers from field to fork, to feed Ontario’s future. This project will help employers seek qualified candidates for planting, harvesting, processing, marketing, researching, and selling Ontario’s healthy, high-quality food, beverage and agri-products.
Enhancing agri-food workforce readiness along the value chain will help strengthen the Ontario agri-food sector during COVID-19 and beyond. This project will address agri-food labour supply and training challenges through the inclusion of:
The Rural Ontario Institute has created a Young Rural Change Makers pilot program that invites young adults to develop their community leadership capacity to make a difference in their rural community. This program is open to individuals ages 18-29 that currently reside in rural Ontario.
Up to 30 motivated young adults will be selected by application to join the program. The chosen individuals will participate in a series of developmental training webinars that will foster online connections for a customized, experiential event. This will support them to take action on a challenge/opportunity that they have helped their community to select. Additional personalized coaching will take place, as-needed, either in-person, phone or via email.
On March 5th, 2020, the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice hosted a webinar on planning for agriculture. This webinar fostered a discussion between the audience and the speaker, Dr. Wayne Caldwell, on the impact and opportunities for land use planning and near-urban agriculture. Potential challenges and opportunities were addressed, along with ten methods to create a more viable agricultural sector through planning practices.
As Ontario’s population grows, urbanized and highly populated areas are expanding into agricultural areas. While there are certainly opportunities for agriculture in proximity to urban markets, it can also pose some risks and challenges.
Businesses in all sectors will be impacted by COVID-19 in some manner. In order to support them effectively, economic developers will need to do some outreach and consultation to assess these impacts and determine the needs of the businesses in their communities.
This will be particularly difficult at this moment, as businesses struggle with various priorities. Here are some tips to connect with your businesses effectively.
Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a concept that can be activated for times of crisis. It is a structured and community-based approach to business and economic development. It helps communities learn about issues facing local businesses and sets priorities to address these needs where possible to help strengthen the economy. It is important to recognize that few communities can do everything they would like to do to support their existing businesses.
Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a structured, action-oriented and community-based approach to business and economic development. The data and knowledge obtained from business interviews is used to address issues and opportunities facing employers.
BR+E best practice suggests that interviews should ideally be conducted in-person because face-to-face interactions can offer beneficial results. However, there are some potential challenges to be aware of.
If your community is looking for ways to support your local agriculture sector; plan on attending the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) online Agriculture Economic Development Training.
Earlier this year the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) hosted several Community Economic Development workshops (CED 101) across Ontario. These sessions helped those involved in local economic development learn the basics of economic development in local communities, and how these concepts can be applied in municipal environments.
During CED 101, participants learned that Community Economic Development is a process of fostering an environment that results in the creation of wealth and well-being for the benefit of the community. CED is practiced through mobilizing economic wealth generators (e.g., investment attraction), support activities (e.g., family doctor recruitment) and community supports (e.g., infrastructure improvement).