Weekly Activity Reports - July 2017

July 28, 2017

  • The SSMEDC is helping area businesses expand into the world's second-largest economy. On August 1 at 11 a.m., its staff team is hosting an information session with the Chinese Investment and Business Alliance of Canada (CIBAC). The organization is looking to meet with local companies that want to do business in China - particularly in sectors such as agri-food, forestry and environmental technologies. The CIBAC is also organizing a trade mission to China and other global business development activities. During the information session, the organization will present on the trade mission, along with services offered. The forum is taking place at the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. To register, RSVP to n.buconjic@ssmedc.ca. This initiative is part of Invest Sault Ste. Marie, a targeted marketing program being delivered by the SSMEDC.
  • Local GDP is expected to grow by 0.6% in 2017. Though this is an improvement from the flat growth over the past two years, the rate is below the provincial and national forecast of 2.3%. This is the projection from the Conference Board of Canada in its Mid-Sized Cities Outlook report, which was released yesterday. For more information, visit www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=8925. The findings show that the economic outlook for Sault Ste. Marie is positive, though uncertainty remains and challenges will need to be addressed. The local section of the Conference Board report was commissioned by the SSMEDC, which requires qualified, third-party analysis of the local economy to formulate its short and long-term activities. The Conference Board is the country's foremost independent, not-for-profit, applied research agency.
  • A motor coach tour with more than 50 passengers made a stop in Sault Ste. Marie this week. Part of a Great Canadian Holidays bus tour, the travellers came here to enjoy the Group of Seven itinerary developed by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. The two-day excursion features 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 Group of Seven itinerary attracted more than 1,100 visitors in 2016 - mostly from motor coach tours - which was a 20% increase over 2015. And 2017 is on pace to be the best year yet. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, which has been actively promoting the itinerary in strategic markets, also works with tour bus operators on attracting these visits to the community.
  • Earlier this month, the SSMEDC was featured in a promotional video produced by the marketing agency Dead Famous. CEO Tom Dodds was interviewed for the segment. Featuring communities across Ontario, the video focuses on eat local, buy local and support local themes. It's part of a province-wide campaign for Credit Unions of Ontario entitled "Some Choices Matter," which aims to highlight the importance of local investment, participation and support. Being a part of the video gave the SSMEDC an opportunity to promote Sault Ste. Marie on the provincial and national stages. In the coming weeks, the segment will air on www.creditunionsofontario.com, along with the organization's Youtube and social media channels.

July 21, 2017

  • More than 3,000 delegates are in Sault Ste. Marie this week for a major conference. From July 21 to 23, the 2017 Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses Convention is taking place at the Essar Centre. The event is generating more than 6,000 visitor days and injecting approximately $1 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, local Jehovah's Witnesses members, and its industry partners on securing and coordinating the conference. This same group joined forced last year to secure and host the 2016 Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses Convention. The regional event tends to attract delegates from across Northern Ontario and Northern Michigan.
  • On Tuesday, the SSMEDC hosted a roundtable discussion with the Honourable Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. He toured the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Machine Shop and met with staff. During the roundtable discussion, Minister Moridi also met with the owners of three current or former SSMEDC clients of the Starter Company and Summer Company programs, Jeronamo Solutions, Cavera Inc., and Valor Props & FX. The group discussed and shared ideas on entrepreneurship, business support programs and other matters. While in Sault Ste. Marie, Minister Moridi met with a number of businesses and institutions, including The Createch Group, Insightworks, Sault College and Algoma University.
  • With a top speed of 224 mph, My Way is confirmed for this summer's Poker Run. The 50-foot speedboat is powered by twin Lycoming T-55 turbine engines and boasts a whopping 3,000 horsepower. To view a video of the vessel in-action, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRzkq1DNohI. Taking place August 4 to 6, the 2017 Poker Run will feature more than 30 race boats as they speed from the Roberta Bondar Marina in Sault Ste. Marie to Thessalon and back. Making five stops along the way, the vessels collect five playing cards. When they return to the Sault, the best poker hand wins. Like last year's event, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is working with Poker Runs America on planning and delivering the 2017 Poker Run. For more information, including how citizens can take part in the weekend event, go to www.saultpokerrun.com.
  • The 2017 Summer Company season is in full swing. This year, 17 youth in the Sault Ste. Marie area enrolled in the young entrepreneur program, which provides training, mentoring and grants to help students start and operate a seasonal business. This week, the SSMEDC facilitated a showcase event at the Station Mall, which allowed Summer Company participants to promote their businesses. Funded by the Province of Ontario, Summer Company is administered in the Algoma region by the SSMEDC. Since 2010, a total of 107 businesses in the Sault area were started through Summer Company. Many are still operating today as full-time, year-round businesses, which speaks to the success of the program. Summer Company is delivered at the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship.

July 14, 2017

  • Competitive gaming is one of the fastest-growing sports in North America. UMG Media is at the forefront of this trend. The e-sports company has been operating in the U.S. and western Canada for several years. Wanting to move further into the Ontario market, the firm recently established a presence in Sault Ste. Marie. UMG Media now has an office at the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. Operated by the SSMEDC, the facility houses the organization's enterprise support programs and advisors, along with a business incubator that currently hosts seven firms. The site features resources and expertise to help businesses reach a higher level of operation. Says UMG Media chair Dave Antony: "The Millworks is a perfect fit for us. It's a tremendous facility. Our team is able to collaborate with other users and utilize the in-house business support staff. The space works very well for us."
  • Sault Ste. Marie is hosting the 2017 North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association annual conference next week from July 17 to 22. Taking place at Quattro Hotel & Conference Centre, the event is expected to attract around 400 game wardens and conservation officials from across Canada and the United States. The conference will inject approximately $350,000 of direct visitor spending into the local economy. Given the benefits to the community, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie secured this event. Last year, its team submitted a bid package and hosted officials from the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association to showcase local attractions, accommodations facilities and other venues. The goal was to demonstrate that the Sault is the perfect place to host the convention. Long story short, the bid was successful, and the event starts on Tuesday.
  • John Febbraro, the SSMEDC's Manager of Industrial & Business Development, received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree this month from the University of Liverpool in the U.K. He enrolled in the program in 2014 and recently passed his final exam. The staff and Board of Directors at the SSMEDC congratulate him on the accomplishment and for his continued service to the community. John is well recognized for providing assistance to local businesses and attracting investment. He sits as a Board member for Ontario's North Economic Development Corporation and the North East Local Health Integration Network. As well, John formally served as a Board and Finance Committee member for ARCH Hospice, President of Lake Superior Figure Skating Club, and President of Algoma's Canadian Cancer Society. Prior to joining the SSMEDC team, he worked at the Canadian Space Agency.
  • The SSMEDC established a corporate LinkedIn page this week. With 194 followers already, the account is off to a solid start. SSMEDC communications content is currently being posted on its social media pages, which include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Over the past few months, a lot of these posts have been boosted. For a relatively small cost, posts can be amplified to reach a wider audience. The audience can also be targeted by specific location, interests, age and other factors. Simply put, with the ability to reach a large, targeted audience for a low cost, social media is one of the SSMEDC's key corporate communications tools. Visit the LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/company/sault-ste.-marie-economic-development-corporation. For the best layout view, it's better to be logged in to a personal LinkedIn account while visiting the SSMEDC page.

July 7, 2017

  • Sault Ste. Marie began welcoming chess players from around the world this week. Taking place July 6 to 10, the 2017 Canadian Youth Chess Championship features children from across the country compete for the title of national champion and the right to represent Canada at the World Youth Chess Championship later this year. From July 8 to 16, Sault Ste. Marie is also hosting the 2017 Canadian Open Chess Championship, which is set to draw players of all levels from across Canada and around the globe. Both events are taking place at Sault College. In total, the tournaments are expected to generate more than 5,000 visitor days and up to $1 million in direct visitor spending for the local economy. This is precisely why Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with organizers on securing the events for the community. Online: www.ssmchess.ca.
  • This week, the SSMEDC held a pair of education sessions for Summer Company participants. The program provides training, mentoring and grants to assist students in starting and operating their own business during the summer months. CTV News filmed the Tuesday education session, which was held at the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. The video segment features an interview with SSMEDC Economic Development Officer Angela Bruni and Summer Company participant Walker Gregoire, owner of Walker's Wood. View the news clip at the CTV Northern Ontario website. A total of 17 students in the Sault area are enrolled in Summer Company. The program is funded by the Province of Ontario.
  • Officials with this summer's CAN/AM President's Cup VIP Poker Run made a special announcement this week. My Way, a speed boat with twin T-55 turbine engines, is confirmed for the event. The vessel has a jaw-dropping maximum speed of 224 m.p.h. No, that's not a type-o - 224 m.p.h. My Way will bring an added level of excitement to the weekend Poker Run. Taking place August 4 to 6, the event is expected to draw more than 30 high-performance speed boats from across North America. Given the visitor spending and promotional benefits to the community, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with Poker Runs America on planning and delivering the inaugural CAN/AM President's Cup VIP Poker Run last year. The two organizations have partnered again to host the second-annual event this summer. To learn more, visit www.saultpokerrun.com.
  • SSMEDC President and Board Chair Robert Reid is featured in the summer issue of Bear Country, the in-flight magazine of Bearskin Airlines. The story includes messages from economic development officials in the communities serviced by the airline. Robert talks about some of the development projects and opportunities in Sault Ste. Marie, including lottery and gaming sector growth, the Port of Algoma, and a proposed chromite processing plant for Northern Ontario. The story can be read in the digital version of Bear Country, which is available online at http://reader.mediawiremobile.com/BearskinAirlines/issues/201328/viewer?page=37. This promotional opportunity was generated by SSMEDC Communications. Each year, SSMEDC-written articles and feature stories appear in a variety of publications.