Weekly Activity Reports - August 2016

August 26, 2016

  • The SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship is pleased to welcome a new client to its small business incubator. Northstar Consulting recently moved into the facility. With a vision to bring prosperity to Northern Ontario, the company specializes in project management, business development, funding strategy and event planning. The Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship is located in the Machine Shop. The complex is home to the SSMEDC's small business development staff and services, along with a business incubator. It features the resources and expertise to help companies reach a higher level of operation. With historical success rates for entrepreneur clients of more than 80%, as compared to about 33% for non-incubated firms, small business incubators are crucial for any small-to-medium-sized community.
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is working to land another major event for the community. This week, its staff welcomed representatives from the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association. The group is looking for a place to hold its 2017 annual conference. While here, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie provided tours of local accommodation facilities, conference venues and various attractions. Given the city's amenities, along with the area's outdoor opportunities, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is making a strong case to have the event come here. Taking place July 17 to 22, the 2017 North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association Annual Conference is expected to attract around 400 delegates, which would inject well over $350,000 of direct visitor spending into the host community economy.
  • The SSMEDC's summer students are wrapping up another successful season. Jessica Aceti, Michelle Lewis and Katherine Roy will return to their post-secondary studies in September. Along with general support, the summer students call virtually all firms in town to update the Business Directory, an annual publication of the SSMEDC and Chamber of Commerce. Summer student positions are made possible with funding from Service Canada. Accessing this investment is an example of the SSMEDC leveraging its core Municipal funding. Between 2010 and 2015, the SSMEDC received a total of $9.65 million from the City and used it to secure over $16.5 million from senior levels of government, the private sector and other sources. Being able to leverage such a high amount of funding is largely the result of the SSMEDC being an independent, non-profit organization.
  • The SSMEDC staff team recently took part in individual online training programs on accessible customer service. Mandated by the Provincial Government and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the course focused on how to better interact with people of different abilities. Under its customer service policy, the SSMEDC strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. The recent professional development training will ensure the Corporation continues to meet this customer service objective. Meanwhile, human resources matters, including staff training, recruitment, hiring, health and safety, orientation, and other affairs, is one of the many roles of the SSMEDC's Corporate Services division.

August 19, 2016

  • Sault Ste. Marie has been selected to host ABM East 2016, a technology-facilitated tradeshow that will connect Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal companies and decision makers from across the country. The business matchmaking forum is taking place November 7 to 9 in the Machine Shop at the former St. Marys Paper site. The SSMEDC, in partnership with Garden River First Nation and Mississauga First Nations, is co-hosting the event. ABM East is designed to foster partnerships between businesses and groups. For example, at last year's forum in Toronto, 92% of delegates developed key contacts and anticipated post-event deals, with one in five signing at least one deal on the trade show floor of the conference. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with event organizers on securing ABM East 2016 for the community.
  • This week, Algoma University hosted its tenth-annual Youth Enterprise Camp. The forum offers aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn about the world of enterprise and tap into their creative business minds. By the end of the week, kids developed a business idea and plan. Participants then showcase their companies at the Station Mall. Youth Enterprise Camp is presented by Head Start in Business and sponsored by the region's Community Futures Development Corporations, FedNor, Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. A number of community groups, including the SSMEDC, also helped coordinate and promote the week-long forum. This year, members of the SSMEDC team acted as mentors during the Youth Business Camp.
  • A main goal of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is to bid on and help attract major events to the community. The organization also does what it can to generally support tournaments and conferences that come here. For instance, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie will often work with event organizers to provide welcome packages to the visiting delegates. The goal is to promote area attractions and increase the likelihood that the travellers return to the community. As one recent example, Sault Ste. Marie hosted the fifth-annual Shingwauk Gathering and Conference a couple weeks ago at Algoma University. Facilitated by the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association, the event attracted dozens of participants from around the region and across the country. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie provided attendees with welcome packages.
  • The SSMEDC's Twitter page reached another milestone this week with its 2,000th tweet published. Developed a few years back, the @SaultEDC site has since become one of the Corporation's main communications tools. With more than 1,800 followers and rising rapidly, growth in the page is the result of daily activity and frequent two-way communication, both of which are crucial to maintain and grow a following on Twitter. The SSMEDC's communications activity also includes routine press releases, newsletters, weekly activity reports, Shaw TV and other video segments, website news stories, and articles and columns appearing in external publications. The overall goal is to inform the public and partners of the Corporation's activity and results, programs and services, and the Sault's competitive advantages.

August 12, 2016

  • A former Saultite is looking to grow his manufacturing company back to his hometown after opening an initial production facility in the United States. Purus Fuel Technologies was launched in 2013 by Scott Irwin, a local entrepreneur now located in Peru, Illinois. He developed a patent pending machine, the IC-2, to deliver its proprietary cleaners to improve the ability for auto dealerships and repair facilities to maintain gasoline direct injection engines. The firm is looking to establish an assembly operation in Sault Ste. Marie. Mr. Irwin is now working with the SSMEDC to identify potential brown field sites, venture capital partners, local suppliers for its bill of materials and distribution partners for the Northern Ontario market. In the meantime, Purus Fuel Technologies will be located at the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Machine Shop.
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie led a city-wide effort to host the 2018 Ontario Winter Games. Though the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport was very impressed with the local bid and level of support committed by the community, the event was awarded to Orilla, it was announced this week. "Though disappointing, this is a classic example of the mantra 'You can't win them all,'" said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism SSM. "Our team, working with partner agencies, has been successful in bidding on various major events in recent months - last weekend's CAN/AM President's Cup VIP Poker Run being a prime example - but the fact of the matter is that it's nearly impossible to be successful every time." In its decision letter to Tourism SSM, the Province made specific reference to being impressed with the strong community support in the local bid.
  • This week, the SSMEDC team made site visits to several Summer Company firms. Over the course of the sunny season, the Corporation attends each youth business location to conduct an on-site mentoring and evaluation session. Funded by the Province of Ontario, Summer Company is administered in the region by the SSMEDC. The program provides grants and training to assist youth between the ages of 15 and 29, who are returning to school, in starting a business. Group training sessions and on-site mentoring are core components of Summer Company. This year, thanks to the SSMEDC's marketing and outreach activity, 18 youth took part in the program. Summer Company teaches post-secondary and high school students the ins and outs of entrepreneurship while providing employment opportunities during the summer months.
  • Sault area school boards are getting $62 million over two years to conduct refurbishments. The amount is $25 million more than what was originally budgeted by the Province. Premier Kathleen Wynne was here this week to make the announcement, which took place at Northern Heights Public School. Members of the SSMEDC team took part in the event. An additional $25 million in local construction activity is significant for the city. It will generate considerable employment and other benefits. "Spending money in construction is one of the best economic drivers," said Adam Pinder, Executive Director of the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association. "It has a huge trickledown effect. For example, $25 million in construction in the industrial, commercial and institutional market would yield approximately 275 jobs both direct and indirect."

August 5, 2016

  • This weekend, Sault Ste. Marie is hosting the 2016 CAN/AM President's Cup VIP Poker Run. The event is bringing a couple dozen race boats to the city for a friendly competition. With staging at the Roberta Bondar Marina, the vessels make five stops, including St. Joseph Island, Thessalon and Drummond Island. At each location, they grab a card and, when they return to the Sault, the best poker hand wins. Since it formed three decades ago, Poker Runs America has been holding these events across Canada, the U.S. and Caribbean. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie held discussions with the organizers of the Kingston Poker Run and, for the past year, has been working with Poker Run officials to have the competition come north. Tourism Northern Ontario and the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation also helped make the local event possible.
  • The SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship was profiled this week in a Sootoday.com feature. Host Jasmyn Rowley and a film crew stopped by to tour the facility and interview its manager. The video segment is available online at www.sootoday.com/videos/news/video-christian-rap-meets-heavy-equipment-at-local-hub-349131. Located in the Machine Shop of the former St. Marys Paper site, the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship hosts the SSMEDC's enterprise services programs and contains a small business incubator. The facility features the resources and expertise to help companies reach a higher level of operation. With historical success rates for its entrepreneur clients of more than 80%, compared to about 33% for non-incubated companies, small business incubators are crucial for a community.
  • The organizing committee for the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge unveiled a new marketing campaign this week. Over the coming months leading up to the fall hockey tournament, the event bus will be travelling across Ontario and Michigan. Initiated by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, in collaboration with Great Lakes Bus Tours, the "Snap the Bus" contest is calling on fans to post a photo with them and the bus to social media on the Facebook and Twitter pages SNAPtheBUS and @SnapTheBus. Posting gives the person an opportunity to win a weekend package for the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Taking place October 28 to November 6, the event will attract hundreds of visitors to the community. Given the economic benefits, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie partnered with the City of Sault Ste. Marie to successfully bid on the tournament.
  • Donna Hilsinger, the SSMEDC's Board Secretary and Director, recently added another community volunteer role to her résumé. She's now Executive Director of the Algoma Fall Festival. In this new volunteer role, Donna will handle programming, budgeting and financial management for the annual event. She previously served 10 years on the festival's Board of Directors. Meanwhile, several months ago, Donna was selected by the Government of Ontario to be a Provincial appointee on the Sault Ste. Marie Police Services Board. A longtime community leader and volunteer, she was the 2008 Northern Ontario Business Influential Women Award winner, 2013 Recipient of the Leading Women Building Communities Award from the Province of Ontario, and the 2015 recipient of the Paul Dalseg Award from the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.