Weekly Activity Reports - August 2015

August 28, 2015

  • The SSMEDC released its 2014 Annual Report this week. Last year, the Corporation received from the City $1,425,925 in core funding, $168,656 in targeted support of tourism marketing, $92,393 to support Destiny SSM, and $73,678 for special projects financed by City Council's Economic Development Fund. The total Municipal investment in the SSMEDC was $1.76 million. Using this funding, the SSMEDC secured $2.34 million from senior levels of government and the private sector. Over the past five years, the SSMEDC received $7.98 million from the City and used this core funding to secure more than $14 million from other sources. As a non-profit entity, the SSMEDC is able to significantly leverage its Municipal investment, which allows tangible results to be delivered. In 2014, the SSMEDC helped generate 39 business startups and expansions, which created or retained 329 jobs. Also in 2014, activity from the SSMEDC's Tourism SSM division led to 22,780 visitor days and $3.2 million in direct visitor spending.
  • Next week, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC, is hosting a major British TV film crew. The visitors are coming here to produce a series of programs based on Northern Ontario. The episodes will be aired on the show The Ultimate Race. The Sault program will focus on fishing in the St. Mary's River and will include an Aboriginal component. This type of promotional activity generates significant results. In 2014, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie facilitated and hosted eight media familiarization (FAM) tours. This activity led to articles and segments appearing in a variety of outlets, including The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, and a week-long shoot by the Emmy Award winning PBS show Travelscope. This and other activity from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie generated $578,000 in unpaid media promotion for the city and its tourism attractions.
  • Several years back, Jeff Greco enrolled in the SSMEDC-administered Summer Company program, which assists students in starting a seasonal business. With that, the young entrepreneur established Cavera Inc. The business provides creative and digital marketing solutions to clients looking to gain a competitive advantage in a digital economy. Last year, Jeff enrolled in Starter Company, another SSMEDC-administered program that supports young entrepreneurs - non-students - in growing or starting a business. Today, Cavera Inc. employs three full-time staff. And that number continues to grow. The business is now in the process of hiring a full-time Marketing and Communications Coordinator. For more information on the company, visit https://cavera.ca/careers/.
  • Last year, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with community groups to attract or host 23 conferences and sports tournaments. This activity from the SSMEDC division generated 13,866 visitor days and injected $2.08 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy, along with millions more in indirect economic activity. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie secures these events using a number of methods. One way involves producing leads by engaging with conference and tournament organizers across the country. On this front, last week, a member of the Tourism SSM team attended IncentiveWorks, Canada's largest forum for professionals who plan, organize or influence meetings and events. While at the two-day forum, a number of solid leads were generated, which should translate into more major events for the Sault in the future.

August 21, 2015

  • The SSMEDC is working to retain and grow the community's lottery and gaming sector. To make contacts with companies, the Corporation has had a presence at a couple major industry conferences and trade shows recently. This investment has paid off. For example, while at the 2014 Canadian Gaming Summit, the SSMEDC met with representatives from Carmanah Signs, a global provider and manufacturer of digital signage, software and network services to the lottery and gaming sector. Discussions centred around the competitive advantages available in Sault Ste. Marie. Jennifer Rushton, Business Development Executive for Carmanah Signs, is now working in the Sault. In a small city, every job is vital, and this one means another family living here, paying taxes and contributing to the local economy.
  • The community is hosting the 2015 Northern Ontario Tourism Summit from November 16 to 18. The second annual forum was secured by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC. Ian McMillan, the division's Executive Director, is the Chair of the local Organizing Committee. There are a number of workshops and guest speakers planned for the event, which brings together tourism industry representatives from across the region for education and networking opportunities. Last year, the conference attracted about 320 delegates. For 2015, organizers are hoping to boost that number to 400 and generate an economic impact of nearly $200,000 in direct visitor spending. The early bird registration, which is open until September 1, is just $99. For more info, including itinerary details, visit http://northernontariotourismsummit.ca/.
  • Last week, the ACR Passenger Service Working Group sent a request for proposal (RFP) to 25 firms across North America, asking them to tender proposals to operate the passenger line. Proponents have until September 9 to make formal submissions. The passenger service line is currently not operating. However, with funding available, the Working Group is making every effort to secure a viable third-party rail operator. Nevertheless, due to timing, a new operator is not expected to be in place until at least the fourth quarter of 2015. The Working Group is Chaired by SSMEDC CEO Tom Dodds, includes representation from the Corporation's Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division, and is also administered by the SSMEDC. It should be noted that the Agawa Canyon Tour Train is a separate entity and is not impacted by the disruption of ACR passenger service.
  • In its efforts to preserve and grow Searchmont Ski Resort, the SSMEDC visited the site last week with representatives from government funding agencies and the non-profit organization that operates the attraction. While there, the group discussed past infrastructure development projects and partnership opportunities for additional investments in the resort moving forward. Meanwhile, this week, the SSMEDC issued three requests for quotes (RFQs) for the following equipment required for the upcoming season: one snowmobile, one tractor and two all-terrain vehicles. Proponents have until August 28 to submit quotes. Over the course of the summer and fall, the SSMEDC will be issuing a number of RFQs for equipment and service improvements to the resort. They will be posted online at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/howtodobusinesswithssmedc.asp.

August 14, 2015

  • A former SSMEDC small business client is continuing with her upward trend. Several years ago, Jeannette Orazietti used her graphic design skills and love of baking to establish Jeannette's Custom Cakes. To help get the company started, she first utilized the services of the SSMEDC's Enterprise Services team, which provides support to help area entrepreneurs open or expand a small business. With some professional help, Jeannette's Custom Cakes opened and flourished. Today, with orders soaring, the firm recently hired a new staffer. Information on the business and its products is available at www.jeannettescustomcakes.com. This is one of many success stories for the SSMEDC. The Corporation works with entrepreneurs at every step of business development: startup, retention and expansion. Jeannette's Custom Cakes is a prime example.
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie works to attract visitors to the city. One way it does this is by bidding on or supporting major events. On that front, over the past several months, the SSMEDC division has been working with the United Steel Workers in securing and facilitating its USW District 6 Conference. Taking place next week, the event is expected to attract more than 400 union delegates from across Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, which will inject around $250,000 into the local economy. In 2014, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie's activity in attracting events and selling vacation packages generated 22,780 visitor days, $3.2 million in direct visitor spending and millions of more dollars in indirect economic activity. Over the past five years, this activity generated 173,280 visitor days and $24.4 million in direct visitor spending.
  • This week, CTV Northern Ontario aired a profile on SSMEDC client Ashley Gilmar, owner of Jax&Hail SugarBrig. Her firm offers the newest technique of hair removal for both men and women using an all-natural product at room temperature. Using this process, skin is not burned or removed and significantly less hair growth returns. Before starting the business, Ashley enrolled in Starter Company, an SSMEDC program that provides young entrepreneurs with training, mentoring and potential access to funding. The CTV news segment profiled Jax&Hail SugarBrig and Starter Company. The video is available at http://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=677372. Keeping the public informed of its programs and services is a main goal of SSMEDC communications, which is why the Corporation regularly works with media outlets to generate these types of segments.
  • The SSMEDC's summer students are wrapping up another fruitful year. One of their main tasks is to call virtually every company in town to record data for the annual Business Directory. The summer student positions are made possible with funding from Service Canada and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. The funding is part of the SSMEDC's leveraging efforts. For instance, in 2014, the Corporation received $1.76 million from the Municipality, which included one-time investments for special projects financed by City Council's Economic Development Fund. Using this core investment, the SSMEDC secured $2.34 million from senior levels of government and the private sector. Over the past five years, the Corporation received $7.98 million from the City, and the SSMEDC used this funding to secure more than $14 million from other sources to deliver projects and services for the community.

August 7, 2015

  • For the past several months, the SSMEDC has been working with Michael McAdams, an expert in 3D printers and printing. The local young entrepreneur is enrolled in the Starter Company program. He's seeking to grow his 3D printing business in Sault Ste. Marie by purchasing new equipment. Funded by the Province of Ontario, Starter Company is administered in the region by the SSMEDC. The program provides training, mentoring and potential access to funding for youth between the ages of 18 and 29, who are not returning to school, to start or grow a business. Starter Company is one of many programs offered by the SSMEDC. Helping local entrepreneurs start, grow or retain a business in a core activity of the Corporation. Over the past five years, the SSMEDC helped 167 firms open or expand, which created or retained over 1,600 jobs.
  • This week, John Pucci, Manager of Sport Tourism & Event Management for Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, attended the World Junior Showcase in Calgary. Facilitated by Hockey Canada, the event sees hundreds of players, coaches, organizers and others gather to prepare for future major tournaments. The Sault was selected by Hockey Canada to host the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Taking place next year from October 28 to November 6, the event features eight teams and will attract hundreds of visitors. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, which bid on the 2016 event in partnership with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, attended the World Junior Showcase this week to learn and help the community prepare for its hosting duties in 2016. The trip to Calgary was paid for by Hockey Canada. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is a division of the SSMEDC.
  • Next week, Algoma University is hosting the ninth annual Youth Enterprise Camp from Monday to Friday. The forum offers aspiring young entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to learn about the world of enterprise and tap into their creative business minds. The camp is facilitated and/or sponsored by the region's Community Futures Development Corporations, the Northern Ontario Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative, Algoma University, and various local businesses. A number of community organizations, including the SSMEDC, are also helping to coordinate and promote the week-long Youth Enterprise Camp. This type of activity falls under the SSMEDC's outreach activity, where its Business Development team works to support area residents in their quest to delve into the world of entrepreneurship and, ultimately, start or grow a business.
  • Yesterday, the SSMEDC released a request for proposal (RFP) for the repair and maintenance to three snow groomers for Searchmont Ski Resort. The proposal is available at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/howtodobusinesswithssmedc.asp. The deadline to apply is Friday, August 14, 2015 at 12 p.m. During the coming weeks and months, the SSMEDC will be issuing a series of RFPs, with the goal of seeking out viable proponents to conduct much-need infrastructure improvements to the resort. The Corporation purchased the attraction in December 2014. The acquisition was required to keep the resort operating for the previous and upcoming seasons. The SSMEDC is now implementing a revitalization initiative, with the goal of helping to keep the resort sustainable well into the future.