Weekly Activity Reports - April 2017

April 28, 2017

  • Northern Superior Brewing recently purchased a canning machine. As a result, the business is now producing and selling a lot more suds with a larger workforce. Over the next year, the company expects to double production and sell its canned beer in stores, restaurants and arenas throughout the region. Northern Superior Brewing was one of 20 firms assisted by the SSMEDC's Business Retention & Expansion Program in 2016. Through the program, the SSMEDC helps its clients access new markets or acquire funds to purchase equipment and undertake capital improvements. "The SSMEDC helped guide us to the people we needed to talk with to help make this expansion happen," said Jeff DiCorpo, who reopened Northern Superior Brewing last year with three business partners. The business now operates at the Canadian Bushplane Centre.
  • A major sports event is coming to Sault Ste. Marie in 2019. The community was recently given the good news that its bid was successful. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and its partners are planning a press conference on Wednesday May 1 at 1 p.m. in the Angelo Bumbacco Room of the Essar Centre. Officials from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and other organizations will be on hand for this special announcement. Securing major sports tournaments and conferences is a core activity of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Along with this function, the division also sells vacation packages online and direct to consumers around the world, markets area attractions to strategic locations across Ontario and the U.S., develops tourism infrastructure and new products, and attracts cruise ships, motor coach tours and other group excursions.
  • Consisting of eight states and two provinces, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Region is home to more than 105 million people, 46 million jobs and nearly $6 billion in GDP, making it the world's third-largest economic zone. Given the importance of the region, the SSMEDC was represented at the Great Lakes Economic Forum this week in Detroit-Windsor. The event attracted over 250 business and industry leaders, academics, government officials, and organizations. It featured presentations, joint discussions and networking sessions on growing the region's economy. The SSMEDC attended the forum to connect with businesses and promote the Sault's competitive advantages. This activity falls under the SSMEDC's Invest Sault Ste. Marie initiative, a targeted program funded by senior levels of government designed to attract companies and investment.
  • The SSMEDC is seeking to hire three summer students for the position of Economic Development Researcher / Data Entry. Applications are due Monday, May 1 at 4:30 p.m. A core function of this role is updating the SSMEDC's Business Directory, a database containing detailed information of virtually every business in Sault Ste. Marie. View the full job posting at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/ssmedcjobs.asp. The Business Directory, which is a valuable economic development tool containing information on the capacity and capabilities of local companies, is the result of a longstanding partnership between the SSMEDC and Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. SSMEDC summer student positions are made possible with funding from Federal Government's Canada Summer Jobs Grant.

April 21, 2017

  • This week, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and a community partner bid on a major conference for 2018. The event involves around 3,000 delegates from across Canada and, if awarded to the Sault, would generate a significant economic impact for the local economy. It's expected that the winning bid will be announced in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, securing and supporting major conferences, conventions and sports tournaments is a core activity for Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Between 2008 and 2016, the division attracted or supported 442 events. This activity drew approximately 71,000 visitors and injected more than $39 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy. It's also important to note that these events also generated a significant amount of indirect, induced and spin-off economic activity for the community.
  • The SSMEDC is facilitating a training session next week on human resources. Titled Credence HR, the forum will teach businesses and organizations on the importance of leadership as it related to generating results. The event is taking place Thursday, April 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Machine Shop. To register, or for more information, visit www.eventbrite.ca/e/leaders-business-results-tickets-33467177228. The cost to attend is $10, which includes a light breakfast and coffee. This session is part of the SSMEDC's recently-launched Education Series. Designed to train and assist current and aspiring entrepreneurs, the program offers monthly workshops featuring guest speakers with professional backgrounds in small business support, economic development and other specialized fields.
  • The @SaultEDC Twitter account reached another milestone this week by sending out its 3,000th tweet. View the page at www.twitter.com/SaultEDC. Over the past couple years, the corporate Twitter account has grown considerably. The site now has more than 2,150 followers. Social media is a key component of SSMEDC communications. In late-2016, the organization also established a corporate Facebook page. Available at www.facebook.com/SaultEDC, the site now has over 300 followers. More recently, the SSMEDC has been boosting many of its Facebook posts, with the goal of reaching a wider audience. Moving forward, social media will play a larger role in the organization's communications activity, which is designed to keep citizens and partners informed of activity and results while also promoting the SSMEDC's programs and services.
  • The SSMEDC released a request for proposal last week for Professional Services for the Design, Development, Implementation and Hosting of the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship program website. With submissions due April 26, the RFP is available at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/howtodobusinesswithssmedc.asp. Located at the Machine Shop, the Millworks facility, along with its website, is being made possible with funding from FedNor, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and private sector. This project is a prime example of the SSMEDC's ability to lever funds. Between 2010 and 2016, the SSMEDC received an average of $1.6 million per year in core operating investments from the City and used these funds to secure an annual average of $2.7 million from senior levels of government, the private sector and other sources.

April 14, 2017

  • At Monday's SSMEDC Board meeting, staff provided an update on the Business Retention & Expansion Program, which helps companies grow. Through the program, the SSMEDC undertakes a consultation process to develop strategies to address the needs of a business. In most cases, the SSMEDC assists companies in accessing funds to purchase equipment and undertake capital improvements. During 2016, 20 clients of the SSMEDC expanded under the program, including JD Aero, China Steel, Flemming Logging, Meakin Contracting, Airport Development Corporation, Norpro Security, Springer Aerospace, Soo Foundry, Tessier Logging, Sault College, Humphrey Aircraft Services, Premier Landscaping, Chippewa Trading Post, Northern Superior Brewing, and Sims Countertops. This activity led to more than $25 million in new investments, which created over 75 jobs and retained more than 200 jobs. For accuracy, the SSMEDC uses job creation and retention figures from the government funding application used to undertake the expansion project. Agencies like the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and FedNor have applications vetted by professional accounting firms. As such, the SSMEDC has a solid foundation to correctly cite its clients' job creation and retention numbers.
  • Following a widely-successful poker run last year on the St. Mary's River, high-speed powerboats are returning to Sault Ste. Marie this summer. The 2017 CAN/AM President's Cup Poker Run is taking place August 4 to 6. With more than 40 high-performance vessels slated to come, this year's event will be double the size of the inaugural competition in 2016. Since it formed three decades ago, Poker Runs America has been holding competitions across Canada, the U.S. and Caribbean. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie had a vision of bringing this event to Northern Ontario and, working with sport officials, made it a reality in 2016. The inaugural year was a success, and organizers expect the 2017 competition to be even bigger. For updates and additional information, view the full news story.
  • The SSMEDC provides community tours to visiting doctors who are looking for a place to practice. One such tour took place Tuesday. This type of activity is part of the SSMEDC's longtime partnership with the local Physician Recruitment & Retention Program. The goal is to attract investment and create jobs while increasing the quality of life for citizens. During the past decade or so, the SSMEDC team has met with - and given community tours to - several dozen visiting medical professionals, many of whom made subsequent commitments to practice here. Says Christine Pagnucco, Manager of the Physician Recruitment & Retention Program: "The support we have received from the SSMEDC over the years has gone a very long way in helping to attract doctors to the city. We look forward to continuing to work together in the months and years to come."
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie partnered with Tourism Northern Ontario and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation to promote the Agawa Canyon Train Tour. Through the award-winning "Where Am I?" campaign, the attraction is being marketed through video, digital display and a series of sponsored stories featured on Huffington Post Canada. The "Where Am I?" brand was established by the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation and was widely successful last year. The campaign teases travellers with riddles that ultimately reveal the wondrous experience that awaits them. View the videos on Youtube. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is the first local destination marketing agency to formally collaborate with the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation on this campaign.

April 7, 2017

  • An entrepreneur support program is being revamped following a successful three-year pilot. Established in 2014, Starter Company provided mentoring and access to funds for non-student youth to start or grow a business. The program recently underwent a transformation, and the new Starter Company Plus is now open to entrepreneurs of any age over 18. Funded by the Province of Ontario, Starter Company is administered in the district by the SSMEDC. Over the past three years, a total of 25 businesses in the Sault area made their way through the program. With its financial and managerial expertise, the Province of Ontario also tasked the SSMEDC to be Starter Company's regional grant administrator for all of Northern Ontario. Since 2014, the SSMEDC facilitated program grants for 120 businesses in Sudbury, North Bay, Timmins and Temiskaming Shores.
  • At a cost of around $600 million, construction of a new shipping lock in Sault, Michigan would be an economic boon to the region. The United States Army Corps of Engineers is hopeful that funding will eventually be secured and the U.S. Feral Government will green-light the project. This was a key topic at a Construction Summit this week at Lake Superior State University. Hosted by the Sault (Michigan) Economic Development Corporation, the forum saw more than 100 businesses and organizations gather to learn about major construction opportunities in the pipeline. The SSMEDC, which helped promote the Construction Summit to companies in Sault, Ontario, attended the event with six local firms looking to do business in the U.S. The goal was to assist these companies in selling products and services south of the border.
  • The SSMEDC launched a new website this week that showcases the city as an attractive place to invest and grow a business. Available at www.investsaultstemarie.com, the website highlights the Sault's competitive strengths and quality of life. It will be promoted to companies in targeted sectors, as well as property site selectors seeking available land, talent and infrastructure. This initiative is part of Invest Sault Ste. Marie, a three-year project aimed at enhancing the community's economic development capacity and performance in key sectors. The ultimate goal of the program is to attract business and investment while increasing trade and export opportunities for local companies. Invest Sault Ste. Marie is being made possible with support from FedNor, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and City of Sault Ste. Marie.
  • Last week, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium delivered a training workshop to a dozen local business owners and managers. During the forum, attendees learned from industry experts on productivity improvements and business management practices. The SSMEDC, which works to assist local companies in their startup and expansion projects, helped to facilitate and market the workshop. Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium and the SSMEDC are longtime partners. The two organizations have delivered a number of these types of training forums over the years. Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium is a not-for-profit organization whose sole purpose is to help the Canadian manufacturing industry compete globally by sharing ideas and best practices. Online: www.emccanada.org.