Weekly Activity Reports - June 2015

June 26, 2015

  • Thanks to efforts from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and its partners, the city has been selected to host the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Taking place next year from October 28 to November 6, the tournament features eight teams from around the globe and will attract hundreds of visitors to the community. While offering outstanding competition for local fans, the event also provides a significant financial boon for the host city. For instance, the 2014 tourney in Sydney, Nova Scotia generated $3.8 million in total economic activity, with $2.6 million occurring in the host community. And with the final games broadcast on national television, there are promotional benefits for the host city as well. With such economic and marketing benefits, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC, partnered with City Council and the City's Community Services Department to bid on the 2016 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.
  • The SSMEDC, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and City of Sault Ste. Marie are one step closer to developing a Tier 3 Data Centre. On Monday, City Council gave the green light for the Municipality to apply for funding from senior levels of government to create a Technology Park on Old Garden River Road. This site currently houses Sutherland Global Services and the City's EMS Centre, and there's a concerted effort to establish a Data Centre. When developed, the facility would store vast amounts of data to be accessed, managed and controlled in a secure, climate-controlled environment. With a number of requirements, including independent distribution paths, a Tier 3 complex is one of the most protected and reliable type of Data Centre. The local facility will store data for public and private sector lottery and gaming operators, along with other IT firms. As the project will create high-end jobs, the SSMEDC is a strong proponent.
  • On Wednesday, the SSMEDC helped organize and facilitate a showcase forum for participants of the Summer Company program. Held at the Staples store on Great Northern Road, the event saw a variety of young entrepreneurs promoting their seasonal businesses. Staples sponsored the province-wide showcase, with similar events taking place at various store locations across Ontario. Summer Company provides training and resources to help students operate their own business during the summer months. Funded by the Provincial Government, the program is administered in the Algoma District and Chapleau by the SSMEDC. This year, with a solid marketing and outreach effort by the Corporation's Business Development team, 15 students enrolled in the program, meaning all of the spaces allocated to the Sault area by the Province of Ontario were filled.
  • To advocate on behalf of the community, and to use their experience to help drive projects forward, SSMEDC staff serve on various local and external committees and boards. The time investment for these roles is generally minimal, but the return is significant. This week, for example, a member of the SSMEDC team contributed to the board meetings for the Sault Community Career Centre and Algoma Workforce Investment Corp. Other boards with SSMEDC reps include: Local Immigration Partnership, Startup Sault, Transportation Infrastructure Committee, Travel Industry Council of Ontario, Ontario's North Economic Development Corp., Cruise Ontario/Great Lakes Cruise Coalition, SSM Chamber of Commerce, Port of Algoma Project Management Team, Algoma U Alumni Council, Attractions Ontario, United Way Community Priorities Taskforce, and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corp.

June 19, 2015

  • Earlier this week, the SSMEDC helped coordinate a Finance Bootcamp with Startup Sault. Designed to assist participants in sharpening their financial management skills, the event brought together more than 60 current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Startup Bootcamps are intensive training workshops led by industry experts. The SSMEDC facilitated table discussions and promoted its programs and services. Startup Sault is a place for budding and seasoned entrepreneurs alike to gather, learn from each other, and get access to invaluable resources and programming. The organization, which is part of a larger nationwide group of Startup communities, is entrepreneur-led and committed to the long-term success and sustainability of Sault Ste. Marie. The SSMEDC has been working in partnership with Startup Sault since the group formed last year.
  • Members of the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie team attended the 2015 Canadian Curling Summit and Curling Canada Annual General Meeting in Collingwood, Ontario this week. The annual event sees representatives of the sport from across the country gather to partake in professional development and to discuss the future of curling. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC, attended the 2015 Canadian Curling Summit to support its bid to host the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier. The goal was to meet with Curling Canada brass and to show Sault Ste. Marie's commitment to host the National Men's Curling Championship. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, which works to attract major events to the community, is bidding on the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier in partnership with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Soo Curlers Association and Tarentorus Sports Club.
  • Yesterday, the SSMEDC co-hosted the June edition of Take 5 from the Chamber of Commerce. Held at the Delta Waterfront Hotel, the event saw dozens of people from the community's public, private and non-profit sectors gather to network, share idea and learn. The SSMEDC co-hosted the forum as part of its outreach and marketing activity. At the event, the Corporation's Business Development team promoted its programs and services while meeting with area entrepreneurs and community leaders. Take 5 is a monthly networking forum presented by the local Chamber of Commerce that's hosted by various partners across the city. The SSMEDC generally co-hosts the June edition of the event, which allows the Corporation to promote its programs and services like Starter Company and the upcoming Millworks: Small Business Incubator.
  • The SSMEDC is currently engaged in a large-scale effort to grow and retain the lottery and gaming sector in Sault Ste. Marie. Under its SSM/OLG Modernization Project, the Corporation is working to best position the community to take advantage of the changing landscape of the lottery and gaming industry in Ontario. As part of this initiative, the SSMEDC and Innovation Centre represented Sault Ste. Marie's interests at the Canadian Gaming Summit this week in Windsor. While there, the Corporation met with private sector lottery and gaming organizations, some of which are looking to establish or expand into the Ontario market or grow their operations in the Sault. In the SSMEDC's efforts at promoting the community's competitive industry advantages nationally and abroad, attending events like the Canadian Gaming Summit is crucial.

June 12, 2015

  • A local industrial firm is set to significantly expand its production capacity. Envirotek Sealing & Fibreglassing received a $1 million investment from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to help purchase additional machinery and construct a new building on Allen's Side Road. The project will create jobs and add to the Municipal tax base. At yesterday's funding announcement, company President Patrick Praysner thanked the SSMEDC for helping the project come to fruition. The Corporation worked with him on the Provincial funding application and assisted the business in forming other strategic partnerships. This type of activity is a main focus of the SSMEDC. In 2014, its staff helped 39 companies with their startup and expansions plans, which generated nearly $22 million in community investments while creating or retaining 389 jobs.
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma Country and Tourism Northern Ontario recently hosted industry workshops on Group of Seven development opportunities and how the private sector can get involved. The three organizations are delivering a product development strategy around the iconic artists. A number of components are now being put into place, such as a group travel itinerary involving the Train Tour, Art Gallery, and Ermatinger-Clergue site. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC, and its partners have been working with four group travel operators, who have already sold 12 tours totaling nearly 500 people. Meanwhile, an interpretive signage program is going ahead and will see signs developed for a number of Group of Seven locations around the Sault area, which will be turned into a driving tour to attract even more visitors.
  • The SSMEDC administers Summer Company in the region. Funded by the Provincial Government, the program provides training, mentoring and grants to assist students in operating their own summer business. This year, the Province allocated 15 Summer Company spaces to the Sault area. Thanks to the SSMEDC's solid outreach and promotional campaign, the Corporation was successful at filling all the spots. Summer Company is open to youth between the ages of 15 and 29 who are returning to school. Along with the training and mentoring delivered to the young entrepreneurs by regional administers like the SSMEDC, the program provides grants of up to $3,000 to help the participants start their company. In many cases, they turn their business into a full-time, year-round operation, which speaks to the success and value of Summer Company.
  • The upcoming issue of Business Today, the newsletter for the local Chamber of Commerce, will feature a story written by the SSMEDC on its efforts to retain and grow the lottery and gaming sector in the city. Also, the upcoming edition of Bear Country, the in-flight magazine of Bearskin Airlines, will feature an SSMEDC-written summary on key economic development projects in the Sault. Furthermore, the SSMEDC recently worked with Business In Focus magazine to produce a story on local opportunities and growth. Developing these types of articles for external publications is a key activity of SSMEDC communications. The goal is to promote the Sault's competitive advantages while keeping the public and funding partners informed of SSMEDC activities and results, thus demonstrating accountability for the investments made in the Corporation.

June 5, 2015

  • The small business incubator being developed by the SSMEDC now has a location, along with a fitting name. Millworks will be located in the Machine Shop at Mill Square, the former St. Marys Paper site. The complex, when unveiled this summer, will provide a space for entrepreneurs to operate their budding companies through the support of direct services, including coaching, mentoring and marketing assistance. With renovations currently underway at the future Millworks site, the SSMEDC is set to take occupancy of the facility on July 1. The small business incubator, which is a critical part of a larger community strategy to revitalize the downtown core, is expected to be fully operational later in the summer. Millworks is a three-year pilot project made possible with funding from the City of Sault Ste. Marie and senior levels of government.
  • The SSMEDC works with a number of companies in various sectors and of various sizes. As an example, for the past few months, the Corporation's staff has been assisting Darren Emond, a local entrepreneur and artist/entertainer, on his business planning. Darren operates The Comic Book & Magic Man, which designs and prints original comic books. He also offers his professional services as a commercial artist and skilled magician. Born and raised in the Sault area, Darren spent over a decade living and working in Montreal before returning home two years ago. Wanting to continue operating and grow his business in Sault Ste. Marie, he contacted the SSMEDC for assistance. Together, they have been working on operational and expansion strategies to help the company thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.freewebs.com/darrenemond.
  • Last Monday, the official torch for the 2015 Pam Am Games visited Sault Ste. Marie. A total of 32 relay runners, including a number of local celebrities, passed the torch through much of the community. The relay began at Sault Area Hospital and finished with some evening festivities at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion. The local Pam Am Games celebration was facilitated by a number of community groups, particularly the City of Sault Ste. Marie. During the organizing stages, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC, provided support and assistance - albeit relatively minor - to the event organizers. The 2015 Pan American Games is a major international multi-sport event that's taking place July 10 to 26 in Toronto and surrounding communities in the Golden Horseshoe area.
  • Three professionals from the Sault's public and private sectors have joined the SSMEDC Board of Directors. Following the organization's annual meeting last week, John Martella, Pramod Shukla and Susan Myers were each elected to serve on the volunteer Board. John is the Northern Ontario District Manager of Green For Life, Pramod is Chief Operating Officer for Essar Steel Algoma, and Susan Myers is a Ward 2 City Councillor. Also at - or prior to - the annual meeting, Michael Moore, Greg Peres and Ross Romano retired from their positions on the Board. The SSMEDC would like to extend its sincere thanks to these individuals for their volunteer service in helping to drive local economic development. The SSMEDC's Board administration matters, including recruitment and orientation of members, are facilitated by the organization's Corporate Services division.