Weekly Activity Reports - August 2017

August 25, 2017

  • Last weekend, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hosted a familiarization (FAM) tour with folks from Epoch Times, an independent, U.S.-based news agency that focuses on Chinese news and culture. The publication reaches more than 30 countries in over 20 languages. Representatives from the agency's Travel division came to Sault Ste. Marie to cover the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, fishing in the St. Mary's River, and other local attractions and tourism opportunities. Stories generated from the FAM tour will appear in the Epoch Times' 2018 Ontario Travel Magazine. While here, the reporters also captured their trip using WeChat, the most popular Chinese social media tool used inside and outside the east Asian country. Generating and hosting FAM tours is one of the many ways Tourism Sault Ste. Marie promotes the community to strategic markets around the world.
  • To help local businesses sells their products and services to external markets, the SSMEDC is hosting a two-day exporting workshop on September 19 and 20. The forum will feature a number of seminars and learning sessions, with topics including market research, transportation and logistics, getting results from tradeshows, market entry strategies, and exporting through e-commerce. The workshop is being delivered by the SSMEDC, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of International Trade. It's taking place at Quattro Hotel & Conference Centre. To register, visit https://lnkd.in/eeDt7ZE. This initiative is part of the SSMEDC's Invest Sault Ste. Marie program, a targeted investment attraction and marketing initiative designed to create jobs by attracting external companies and investment.
  • Last month, the SSMEDC unveiled a Business Pitch Competition. With a grand prize valued at $15,000, the forum generated a considerable amount of interest. A total of 21 submissions were received, and contest organizers narrowed it down to five finalists: Meatless Monday With Megan, Black Fox Fishing, Ontario Wild, The Queen's Tarts, and Scott Coffee Co. In the coming weeks, the company owners will be submitting a comprehensive business plan and one-minute pitch video, which will be posted to social media. After that, they will be ranked based on Facebook likes and the business plan merits. Two finalists will be chosen, and the pair will compete in a pitch-off at the SSMEDC's Bridges to Better Business event on October 19. The Pitch Competition is being facilitated by the team at the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship.
  • In its efforts to market the community, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie formed a partnership with Tourism Northern Ontario last year to feature local stories on the website NorthernOntario.Travel. Over the past month, a number of Sault-focused articles have been published to the portal. One story, from last week, highlights some of the best pizza joints in the community. Another article, published in July, centres on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. There's also a recent feature that profiles some of the city's most popular patio restaurants and bars. To view the stories, visit www.northernontario.travel/sault-ste-marie. Facilitated by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, this marketing initiative is being made possible with support from Tourism Northern Ontario, an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

August 18, 2017

  • Third-party traffic at the Port of Algoma is up considerably in 2017. As of last week, non-Algoma shipping volumes stood at 141,453 tons, compared to 32,461 tons in all of 2016. The increased third-party traffic is related to shipments from manufacturing and mineral-production firms. Given the opportunities generated by the port, it's also helping the Sault capitalize on future developments like Noront's proposed chromite-processing plant. This is why the SSMEDC is a primary partner in the initiative. "The Port of Algoma has the potential to change the economic landscape of our community and region, and we'll continue to work with our port partners to advance this infrastructure project, which will generate opportunities for local businesses and create jobs," the SSMEDC's Dan Hollingsworth said in a Port of Algoma press release earlier this week.
  • One year ago, the SSMEDC established a corporate Facebook page to help promote its programs, events, activity and results. Since then, 409 campaigns have been published to the site. As of today, these posts generated more than 259,000 impressions, meaning the number of times viewed. They also generated over 10,300 engagements, which include readers who like a post, comment or click a link. The results have been especially strong since the SSMEDC began paying to boost Facebook posts in April. Since then, the organization has been able to more than double its impressions and engagements. Simply put, Facebook has become - and will continue to be - one of its main communications platforms. It should also be noted that the SSMEDC recently launched a LinkedIn page. As well, its Twitter account, established in 2013, now has 2,275 followers.
  • A tour bus carrying 52 passengers came here this week for the Group of Seven experience. The visitor product, developed by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, includes a stop at the Art Gallery of Algoma and dinner at the Ermatinger-Clergue site with a one-person Lawren Harris play, followed the next day with a train ride to Agawa Canyon and painting session with a professional artist. The itinerary attracted more than 1,100 visitors in 2016 - mostly from motor coach tours - which was a 20% increase over 2015. So far, 2017 is on pace to be the best year yet. To attract group bus tours, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie promotes the Group of Seven experience by attending tradeshows, such as the American Bus Association Marketplace, Rendez-vous Canada Marketplace, National Tour Association Travel Exchange, and Ontario Motor Coach Association Marketplace.
  • This week, the SSMEDC conducted site visits for nine Summer Company clients. The young entrepreneur program provides grants, training and mentoring to help students start their own summer businesses. As a program requirement, SSMEDC staff visits each firm at the start and end of the season to ensure participants are operating effectively. This year, 17 youth are enrolled in Summer Company. Along with conducting 34 site visits, the SSMEDC also delivers the business training sessions and administers grants. Funded by the Province, the program is facilitated in the region by the SSMEDC. Since 2010, a total of 107 businesses in the Sault area were started through Summer Company. Some firms, such as PAC Construction Group and Cavera Inc., are still active as full-time, year-round operations, which speaks to the program's success and value.

August 11, 2017

  • Last year, B&E Automotive Technologies set up an office at the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. The U.S.-based company manufactures a machine used to maintain gasoline direct-inject engines and is looking to establish a production facility in the Sault to serve the Canadian market. In a recent development, the firm's IC-2 GDI fuel service system won a 2017 Innovation Award from Professional Tool & Equipment News. This honour bodes well for the company's future. Meanwhile, located in the Machine Shop, the Millworks is home to the SSMEDC's enterprise services team and a small business incubator. Since opening in May 2016, a number of firms have moved into the site, including UMG Media, BonZa Global, NorthStar Consulting, Jeronamo Solutions, Possibilities Group, MBR Services, On Focus Now, and Swamp Woods Unlimited.
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie promotes the community using a number of methods. One tactic is hosting global travel writers for familiarization (FAM) tours. Earlier this summer, for instance, the organization brought in five bloggers and reporters from across Canada and the U.S. While here, the visiting writers took in a number of area attractions, including the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and Art Gallery of Algoma. Stories on the visit are now popping up all over the continent. As an example, travel blogger Marc Smith recently published a number of his local articles at www.30dayadventures.ca. This type of activity generates positive results for the city. In 2016, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hosted 10 FAM tours for visiting travel writers, television shows and other media personnel. This generated more than $400,000 in unpaid marketing for the community.
  • Members of the SSMEDC met with U.S. Consul General Juan Alsace on Wednesday. Stationed in Toronto, he was in Sault Ste. Marie to learn about local initiatives and opportunities. Nevin Buconjic, the SSMEDC's Manager of Trade Investment & Community Marketing, along with SSMEDC Past-President Don Mitchell, had an opportunity to present to the Consul General and his team. The presentation highlighted the city's competitive advantages, key sectors and strategic initiatives, which complemented a discussion on the challenges and opportunities for local companies doing business in the U.S. It was a great opportunity for the SSMEDC to promote the Sault to a high-ranking diplomat. The U.S. Consul General visit was facilitated by the Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the SSMEDC and other groups.
  • The SSMEDC is holding a Business Pitch Competition. Featuring a grand prize valued at $15,000, the contest is open to anyone 18 years or older who is proposing a new company, looking to expand an existing firm or seeking to buy a business. With online summary submissions due August 9, the SSMEDC is now reviewing the proposals. Five participants will be chosen to submit a comprehensive business plan and one-minute pitch video, which will be posted to social media. After that, they will be ranked based on Facebook likes and the business plan merits. Two finalists will be chosen, and the pair will compete in a pitch-off at the SSMEDC's Bridges to Better Business event on October 19. For more information on the Business Pitch Competition, watch the contest video on the Millworks' Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pg/MillworksEntrepreneurCentre.

August 4, 2017

  • Thirty-nine speed boats from across the U.S and Canada are descending on Sault Ste. Marie this weekend. From August 4 to 6, the community is hosting the 2017 CAN/AM President's Cup VIP Poker Run. Throughout the weekend, there's no shortage of opportunity for citizens to take part in the event. To view the full agenda, visit https://lnkd.in/eYcWHMB. Like last year's event, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is working with Poker Runs America on planning and delivering the 2017 Poker Run. Attracting major events to the community is a main focus of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Between 2008 and 2016, the organization secured or supported 442 conferences, sports tournaments and special events. This activity drew more than 78,000 visitors and injected over $39 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy.
  • Dan Hollingsworth, the SSMEDC's Executive Director of Business Development, emceed an announcement this week at Heliene Inc. The Sault-based solar panel manufacturer received a $199,000 interest-free loan from FedNor. The investment is helping Heliene purchase and install a fully-automated soldering machine, which will allow the company to produce its products faster and more efficiently. In total, the cost of the new machine, along with start-up and employee training, is approximately $440,000. Ultimately, this initiative is helping the company remain competitive and is supporting the retention of its 75 employees. The funding announcement was made Wednesday by local MP Terry Sheehan at Heliene's production facility on the corner of Allens Side Road and Second Line West.
  • Last week, the SSMEDC worked with Shaw TV to produce a segment on the Summer Company young entrepreneur program. The video, which profiles two businesses, Brady's Brick Maintenance and Nicholson's Naturals, is being aired on Channel 10 and is also available online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_kO5Gd6_tw&feature=youtu.be. Summer Company provides training, mentoring and grants to help students start their own businesses. Funded by the Province of Ontario, the program is administered in the region by the SSMEDC. This summer, 17 youth in the Sault area are enrolled. As part of its corporate communications activity, the SSMEDC produces a number of video news segments with Shaw TV each year. As with all content, the segments are also promoted through the SSMEDC's social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Startup Sault Ste. Marie, in partnership with the SSMEDC, held an education session this week at the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. More than a dozen current and aspiring business owners attended the forum. During the session, attendees heard a presentation from Mike Staz of POPC Consulting, who shared his 30 Steps to Startup. Startup Sault Ste. Marie holds a number of these learning forums each year. The grass-roots organization connects entrepreneurs with the small business resources available in the community. The SSMEDC is one of its main partners. Meanwhile, the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship, which is located in the Machine Shop, is home to the SSMEDC's enterprise services team, along with a small business incubator that currently hosts seven companies.