Weekly Activity Reports - June 2014

June 27, 2014

  • In an effort to grow the Sault's lottery and gaming sector, the SSMEDC took part in the 18th Canadian Gaming Summit earlier this week in Vancouver. The event, which attracted more than 1,400 attendees from hundreds of industry businesses and organizations, is Canada's premier annual symposium and exhibition for gaming professionals. The SSMEDC was there to promote the Sault as a centre for next generation lottery and gaming and to meet with companies that may be operating part of Ontario's lottery and gaming functions in the years to come.
  • Have an interlocking brick driveway that has shifted over the years? Not to worry - Mitchell Nisbet is here to help. His business, Doc Interlock, repairs distressed or damaged interlocking brick driveways. The processes includes removing and stacking the existing bricks, re-leveling the ground, and relaying the bricks in order to make the driveway appear in like-new condition. Mitchell is a participant in 2014 Summer Company, an SSMEDC-administered program that provides grants and mentoring for students to operate their own seasonal business. To contact him, call 705-542-8915.
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC, is currently working with the local Elettra Marconi Society to host a major regional conference in the fall. The 2014 Northern Ontario Elettra Convention is taking place at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Inn in September. The event is expected to attract 450 delegates to Sault Ste. Marie for three days, which would translate into an economic impact to the community of more than $200,000 in direct visitor spending.
  • On Thursday, Sault Ste. Marie hosted a Board of Directors meeting of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The day before, members of the OLG Board met with City officials, including Mayor Debbie Amaroso and CAO Joe Fratesi, to discuss the transition of the province's lottery and gaming industry, along with the future of the Crown Corporation and its relationship with Sault Ste. Marie. Throughout the week, the SSMEDC provided community tours and other promotional/support roles to visiting members of the OLG Board.

June 20, 2014

  • It's shaping up to be another successful year for Summer Company. The youth entrepreneurship program, administered in the region by the SSMEDC, provides grants and mentoring to help students operate their own summer business. Essentially, it helps young people find employment during the summer and allows them to try their hand at entrepreneurship, something that often leads to a lifetime in enterprise. With a solid area marketing campaign, a total of 19 people signed up for the program. Summer Company is funded by the Province of Ontario. A list of regional recipients will be released next week.
  • Andrew Ross, the SSMEDC's General Manager of Enterprise Services, received a 2014 Alumni Achievement Award from Algoma University this past weekend. A graduate of the school's Business Administration (Honours) program, Andrew is a former President of the Algoma U Student Union. As Past Chair and current member of the university's Alumni Council, Andrew remains involved in the school. He also serves on a number of Boards and Committees throughout the community, including the Sault Community Career Centre, Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation, Chamber of Commerce Awards Committee and Buskerfest. Also noteworthy is that two former members of the SSMEDC team, Nevin Buconjic and Jody Rebek DiCerbo, are also recipients of Algoma U's Alumni Achievement Award.
  • On Thursday, June 26, the SSMEDC is co-hosting a Take 5 event at Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Inn and Conference Centre. Taking place each month, Take 5s are networking events organized by Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. For the past several years, the SSMEDC has sponsored the June edition. The Corporation uses the event to promote its programs and services. If you're interested in attending the June Take 5, please contact a member of the SSMEDC's Business team.
  • Earlier this week, a new staffer joined the SSMEDC. Erik Bringleaon, the recently-hired Packaging and Online Reservations Coordinator, is on a one-year internship. The position, funded by Tourism Northern Ontario, is responsible for assisting the SSMEDC's Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division in their online vacation package bookings. Specifically, Erik will be providing customer service for travellers who use the web-based program.

June 13, 2014

  • The Corporation is releasing its 2013 Annual Report, which highlights activity and results generated. For instance, in 2013, the SSMEDC team conducted more than 400 business consultations, which led to 32 company startups/expansions, created or retained 279 jobs, and supported a total investment of about $13.1 million. Also in 2013, activity from the SSMEDC's Tourism division - specifically in attracting events and selling vacation packages - generated 18,918 visitor days, which led to $2.73 million in direct visitor spending. Financially, the Corporation received $1.62 million in operating funds from the City in 2013, which represented about 1.4% of the Municipality's total expenses, and the SSMEDC used this core investment to secure $1.78 million in additional funding from senior levels of government and the private sector. The Annual Report will be posted on the SSMEDC website early next week, and a media blitz will follow.
  • Over the next few months, several feature movies are slated to be shot in Sault Ste. Marie. During the past couple of weeks, Lost & Found has been filming here. In July and August, Remember, featuring a possible cast of Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau, is slated to be shot here. Then, later in the summer, Coconut Hero is expected to begin filming in the Sault. When a movie shoot comes to town, the SSMEDC provides assistance and acts as a facilitator between the production and the City of Sault Ste. Marie for any Municipal services that may be required or any issues that may come up.
  • This week, executives from Sportsnet were in Sault Ste. Marie for two days. The television network is holding the 2014 Grand Slam of Curling here in November, and the event management team was up to visit locations and meet with host community officials. Taking place at the Essar Centre, the bonspiel will feature 18 of the top men's curling teams in the world. The event, which will air nationally on Sportsnet, was bid on by the City's Community Services Department, in partnership with the SSMEDC's Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division.
  • For the past two years, the SSMEDC has been working with Riversedge/Blueforest Ventures, the owners of the former St. Marys Paper site, on redeveloping the downtown property. This past week, the project moved further ahead thanks to a $28,000 investment from the City of Sault Ste. Marie's Economic Diversification Fund (EDF). The investment will be used by the local Invasive Species Centre to develop a business plan to help create a "Woods & Water" attraction at the waterfront site. The project, if realized, will be a part of Destination North, a major development initiative that's set to host educational, cultural, adventure and other components designed to attract both tourists and area residents.

June 6, 2014

  • SSMEDC client Nathan Chevalier, a licensed paralegal with the Law Society of Upper Canada, recently returned home to open his own business. Knight Legal Solutions provides a more affordable option for people who are engaged in legal matters such as landlord/tenant issues, small claims and provincial offenses. Essentially, Chevalier services fill the niche between hiring a lawyer and trying to maneuver through the legal system on one's own. Before opening, he enrolled in Starter Company, a provincially-funded program administered in the region by the SSMEDC. Chevalier is still taking part in the program, which provides young entrepreneurs with training, mentoring and the possibility to access funding.
  • The SSMEDC, in partnership with Ontario's North Economic Development Corporation (ONEDC), hosted an Exporting Information session on Thursday. The event featured a keynote speech, titled Secrets to Growing Your Export Business, from Mel Sauve, President of Global Growth. Held at Comfort Suites, the session attracted a couple dozen participants from the local business community and service organizations. ONEDC is a partnership involving the economic development organizations of the five major centres in Northern Ontario.
  • A pair of longtime community volunteers and entrepreneurs, Terry Rainone and Brian Robertson, have joined the SSMEDC's Board of Directors. At the Corporation's annual meeting on Tuesday, both were elected to three-year terms. Also at the meeting, Board member Dennis Tatasciore retired from his position after several years of service. With representatives from the Sault's public, private and non-profit sectors, the SSMEDC's Board of Directors provides the Corporation with strategic direction, which the staff team then uses to undertake programs, services and special projects on behalf of the community.
  • June 2 through 8 is Tourism Week in Ontario. The promotional campaign is designed to increase visitation levels across the province. Locally, Tourism Week events were hosted by the Ontario Travel Information Centre on Queen Street West next to the International Bridge. The SSMEDC's Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division was involved in the planning and delivery of the week-long campaign.