Weekly Activity Reports - June 2017

June 30, 2017

  • This week, the SSMEDC's Business Development division spent some time with the team at Norpro Security & Investigations. They worked together on organizing and forecasting the company's growth and next steps. In particular, the SSMEDC took part and helped lead a strategic planning session involving the owners and managers at Norpro.  Supporting local businesses in their expansion is a primary activity for the SSMEDC. Norpro is a prime example. Over the past several years, the SSMEDC has helped the company expand further into the mining sector. Says Norpro president Brad Gergorini: "Breaking into new markets is tough. Having the SSMEDC on our side has been a huge help. They quickly opened doors for our company that would have taken us years to open ourselves. The SSMEDC is a key part of our team."
  • During the SSMEDC's annual general meeting this month, three Board members retired from their positions. With their volunteer terms ending, the organization thanks Brian Robertson, Christiane Husemann and John Martella for their years of service. The SSMEDC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of business owners and executives. It now consists of Robert Reid (President), Don Mitchell (Past-President), Terry Rainone (First Vice-President), Paul Skeggs (Second Vice-President), Donna Hilsinger (Secretary), Lori Naccarato (Treasurer), Bill Freiburger, Geoff Meakin, Frank O'Connor, Pramod Shukla, Kevin Wyer, Sandra Hollingsworth and Mayor Christian Provenzano. The Board is supported by a Liaison Committee with representatives from Sault College, Algoma University, Chamber of Commerce and Community Development Corporation.
  • Officials for this summer's Poker Run, which will feature more than 30 high-performance speed vessels on the St. Mary's River, are looking for area boat owners to marshal and help administer the safety zones. Taking place August 4 to 6, the event will showcase speedboats as the route starts at the Roberta Bondar Marina in Sault Ste. Marie to Thessalon and back. For the main event on Saturday, August 5, water marshals are required to ensure the boats follow the proper course and indicate the specific slow zones. To register, contact Megan Parlowe, Events Coordinator for Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, at 705-541-7320 or m.parlowe@ssmedc.ca. Like last year's Poker Run, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is working with Poker Runs America on planning and delivering the 2017 event. To learn more, visit http://goo.gl/GxNBp1.
  • The SSMEDC released the May/June 2017 edition of its bimonthly newsletter, The Pulse, this week. Read the publication at http://conta.cc/2tm6sHW. The digital newsletter is sent to approximately 1,500 recipients. It has an "open" rate of 45% and a "click" rate of 19%, which are well above average for digital communications campaigns. The publication contains feature stories on SSMEDC clients and programs, along with economic development initiatives. The Pulse has been published since October 2008 and is meant to keep partners and citizens informed of SSMEDC activity and results generated. The online archive to the newsletter is available at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/newsletter.asp. The SSMEDC's full communications archive is available at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/stayconnected.asp.

June 23, 2017

  • The Agawa Canyon Tour Train season began this week. For the past several years, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie has been responsible for all marketing activities related to the attraction. On this front, its staff hosted a FAM tour Wednesday for four travel writers from Ohio and Toronto. While here, the journalists experienced the full Group of Seven itinerary, which was developed by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. The package includes a stop at the Art Gallery 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 FAM tour will generate media stories in key markets, which will promote the train tour and Group of Seven itinerary. This opportunity was generated by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie at a recent media marketplace. It was made possible with support from the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation.
  • What kind of impact does a job in a particular sector have on a city? If jobs are added or taken away in that sector, what's the specific ripple effect to the economy? To ensure the community has the tools to best answer these types of questions, and thus determine best bets for economic development, the SSMEDC recently partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The ministry has a licencing agreement with EMSI, a labour data analytics firm that offers in-depth economic stats that are unavailable elsewhere. To assist community development groups in accessing this data, the SSMEDC hosted a training workshop last week. Led by two ministry officials, 25 people attended the event from agencies such as the Chamber of Commerce, Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation and Innovation Centre.
  • Last week, Sault Ste. Marie was one of 50 cities around the world to host Lolë White Tour On the Road. Held simultaneously in locations throughout North America and Europe, the yoga event is a celebration of wellness and community. With 250 tickets sold, the local forum at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion was a sellout. Seeing the event as an opportunity to attract visitors from around the region, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie partnered with the local organizer to market the forum. Ticket and accommodation packages were sold through its online reservation portal at www.saulttourism.com. Also last week, the second-annual Queen Street Cruise took place. The event saw car enthusiasts and spectators gather for a weekend of fun. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with the host committee to organize and market this event as well.
  • Earlier this month, SSMEDC partner Startup Sault Ste. Marie hosted a Startup Finance Bootcamp. The forum attracted 50 entrepreneurs and business owners for a series of workshops and training sessions. Shaw TV was there to capture the event, which was held at Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel. This week, the community cable channel aired the video segment. The news clip features an interview with Zoltan Virag, the SSMEDC's Manager of Small Business Advisory Services, who promoted the programs and services offered by his organization. This type of activity falls under the SSMEDC's outreach activity. The segment is available on Shaw's Youtube page at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsoHCRgQg_w&t=114s. StartUP Sault Ste. Marie is a grass-roots organization that connects entrepreneurs with small business resources.

June 16, 2017

  • The cycling route between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury along the North Shore of Lake Huron is now finished. This section completes the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, a 1,600-kilometre path that winds through the province. Eleanor McMahon, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was in town last week to make the announcement. With the Sault now connected to the trail, there's opportunity to attract cycling tourists. This is precisely why Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, in partnership with other groups, took the lead on this infrastructure development project several years ago. While here, Minister McMahon also announced the completion of the Lake Superior Water Trail, which connects Prince Township to Thunder Bay along the lakeshore. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and the SSMEDC helped organize and facilitate the media announcement.
  • To generate opportunities for local businesses, the SSMEDC recently participated in the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CANSEC) Tradeshow. John Febbraro, Manager of Industrial & Business Development, attended the forum with Mayor Christian Provenzano and officials from FedNor. The local delegation had more than 15 meetings with a number of major defence industry contractors, including Mercedes-Benz, Babcock Defence Services, General Dynamics Land Systems, Oshkosh Defence, DCNS Group, Seaspan Marine, and Mack Defence. During the discussions, the Sault Ste. Marie representatives learned about the opportunities and challenges in the national defence sector. They also promoted the capabilities of local companies that can provide products and services to major defence contractors.
  • On Thursday morning, the SSMEDC hosted a training workshop on Succession Planning. The event provided information to business owners looking sell their company or pass it on to a family member. Held at the Machine Shop, the forum attracted 20 entrepreneurs. It featured a keynote speech and panel discussion with six business professionals. This workshop was part of the SSMEDC's Millworks Education Series. On Thursday evening, the SSMEDC also hosted the June Take 5 from the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. Held at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel, the event attracted dozens of business owners and executives. This type of endeavour is part of the SSMEDC's outreach activity, which is designed to promote the small business support programs and services available in the community.
  • The SSMEDC, in partnership with Shaw TV, recently produced a video segment on the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. It profiles two clients, Possibilities Group and On Focus Now, which are currently operating at the SSMEDC's small business incubator. The video segment aired on Channel 10 and is also available for viewing online on Shaw TV's Youtube page at www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUs-d5GFS4s&t=73s. This initiative falls under the SSMEDC's longtime partnership with the community cable channel. Over the past decade, a number of video segments on SSMEDC clients and programs have been shot, produced and aired by Shaw TV. This is part of the organization's corporate communications activity, which aims to keep citizens and partners informed of SSMEDC activity and results while also promoting its programs and services.

June 9, 2017

  • Economic development officials in Sault Ste. Marie and Sioux Lookout are partnering on a joint initiative to support the Ring of Fire. The proposal calls for a trans-load facility to be established in Sioux Lookout, where mineral concentrate and ore can be shipped by truck, then loaded onto rail cars and transported throughout Northern Ontario for further processing. Sault Ste. Marie is interested in establishing a chromium smelter, which would be supported by an intermodal train and marine transfer facility at the Port of Algoma for shipping to global markets. To help move the project forward, SSMEDC CEO Tom Dodds attended a meeting last week of the Sioux Lookout Trans-load Facility Partners. While there, he met with First Nation and municipal representatives, along with the project's business allies, to discuss the proposed trans-load facility and the synergies that can occur by integrating Sault Ste. Marie into the transportation network.
  • This year, 17 youth in the Sault area started businesses under Summer Company. The young entrepreneur program is administered in the region by the SSMEDC. Funded by the Province of Ontario, it provides grants and mentoring to assist students between the ages of 15 and 29 in starting a seasonal business. The 2017 Summer Company businesses in the Sault area are: Brady's Brick Maintenance, VSA 705, KODI Apparel, 01 Lawn Care, Sault Scanning, Firewood Supplier, B Natural Beauty, Dokum's Lawn Care, Well Split Wood, Steph & Trevor Dog Walking, Fleming Lawn Care, Dan's Cleanup Co., Tinker, Nicholson's Naturals, Superior Landscaping, Maya Digital, and Beads & Bling. For business descriptions and contact info, visit https://tinyurl.com/y7ocwfpc. Since 2010, a total of 107 businesses in the Sault area were started through Summer Company.
  • The 2017 cruise ship season began this week. On Tuesday, a pair of luxury liners, Pearl Mist and M/V Victory 1, came to the city. With two cruise ships in town, one had to dock in Sault, Michigan, and the passengers were bussed across the bridge to Sault, Ontario. These vessels are expected to make 26 stops here this year. In total, the ships will bring around 5,000 visitors. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie works with cruise operators to develop itineraries for the passengers. When here, they tend to spend money at downtown attractions. With 26 stops planned, the 2017 cruise ship season will be busier than the record-setting 20 stops made last year. Why the increase in traffic? Part of the reason is that Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, is former Chair of Cruise Ontario and a current Board member of the Great Lakes Cruise Coalition. The organizations work to attract cruise ship traffic to the region. Mission: accomplished.
  • On Wednesday, StartUP Sault Ste. Marie hosted a Startup Finance Bootcamp for entrepreneurs and business owners. Held at Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel, 50 people attended the forum. The event featured a workshop that taught entrepreneurs about managing cashflow, how to use data to build a sustainable and fundable business, and other tips. The forum wrapped up carousel mentorship tables, with topics including funding your business growth, lean startup, government programs, capitalizing on small business tax write-offs, and tech-based funding programs. To promote entrepreneurism in the community, the SSMEDC helped facilitate and market the Startup Finance Bootcamp. StartUP Sault Ste. Marie, a longtime partner of the SSMEDC, is a grass-roots organization connecting entrepreneurs with small business resources.

June 2, 2017

  • Olympic curling gold medalist Brad Jacobs put down his rock and broom last week to show off his fishing and golfing skills for the TV series Fins & Skins. Set to air in the fall, the episode pits the local curling skip against show host and former CFL all-star Henry Waszczuk. The pair went steelhead fishing on the St. Mary's River, then battled it out during a round at the Sault Golf Club. Fins & Skins airs on TSN and Global TV in Canada, along with the World Fishing Network and Fox Sports in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.finsmediagroup.com. Since 2003, three episodes of Fins & Skins have been shot in the Sault. These promotional opportunities were created by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. As one of its primary activities, the organization markets the city by generating and hosting familiarization tours with visiting TV shows, travel writers, and other media personnel.
  • This week, a member of the SSMEDC team gave a community tour to a visiting doctor who's looking for a place to practice. Every year, the SSMEDC provides a number of these tours. The goal is to help attract doctors by highlighting the city's quality of life and other advantages. This type of activity is part of the SSMEDC's partnership with the local Physician Recruitment & Retention Program. During the past decade or so, the SSMEDC team has met with - and given community tours to - several dozen visiting medical professionals, many of whom made subsequent commitments to practice in Sault Ste. Marie. According to Christine Pagnucco, Manager of the Physician Recruitment & Retention Program: "The support we have received from the SSMEDC over the years has gone a very long way in helping to attract doctors to the city."
  • Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, a longtime partner of the SSMEDC, is hosting a free information session for businesses on Wednesday, June 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel. The forum will focus on the SMART Operational Assessments Program and the new SMART Green Program. Attending businesses will learn how they can access non-repayable grants of up to $15,000 for an Operational Assessment, along with exciting changes to the SMART Green Program, which provides non-refundable grants to businesses for technical assessments and capital investment projects. To register, visit the Eventbrite webpage. As part of its outreach activity to support businesses and promote opportunities for local companies, the SSMEDC is helping to develop and market the information session.
  • May 28 to June 3 is Tourism Week at Ontario Travel Information Centres across the province. The annual celebration commemorates the beginning of the summer tourism season, which is typically the busiest time of year for travel in Ontario. A kickoff event was held locally at the Travel Information Centre across from the International Bridge. Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, spoke at the forum. During the speech, he thanked the tourism sector's front-line staff and highlighted their dedication to the industry, along with the vital role they play in helping to position the Sault as a visitor-friendly community. Approximately 80 people attended the kickoff event. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is a longtime partner of the local Travel Information Centre.