Weekly Activity Reports - March 2017

March 31, 2017

  • The SSMEDC's audited financial statements for 2016 are now available online at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/resources/FinancialStatements2016.pdf. The Corporation is funded by various sources, including all levels of government and the private sector. Last year, it received $1.74 million from the City, which included funding for special projects financed by Council's Economic Development Fund. The SSMEDC received an additional $2.31 million from other sources in 2016. The SSMEDC uses its Municipal investment to access significant amounts of additional funds to undertake programs and deliver services. Between 2010 and 2016, the SSMEDC levered its City investment at a rate of nearly 2:1, meaning for every dollar the SSMEDC receives from the Municipality, it secures roughly two dollars from other sources.
  • On Tuesday, Sault Ste. Marie was home to the Northern Ontario Road to Defense forum. Facilitated by FedNor, in partnership with the SSMEDC, the event saw dozens of companies from across the region gather to learn about supplier opportunities in the defense sector. Over the next decade, the Government of Canada is expected to spend billions on national defense. Ottawa's Industrial and Technological Benefits policy is meant to ensure that Canadian businesses benefit from this government defense and security procurement. The goal of the Northern Ontario Road to Defense forum was to provide information to local and regional companies on how to take advantage of this policy and sell products and services for the defense sector. The event was held at Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre.
  • This weekend, a member of the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie team is attending the Canada Media Marketplace. While there, he'll be meeting with more than 25 travel writers and media personnel from across the U.S. Sault Ste. Marie will be pitched, with the goal of having the journalists come here to cover area attractions. This type of activity generates considerable returns. For example, in 2016, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hosted 10 FAM tours for visiting travel writers, photographers and television shows. Following the tours, stories on local attractions and scenery were published in various outlets, including The National Post, Nord de l'Ontario and Chinese TV programs. This activity led to more than $400,000 in unpaid marketing for the community. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie typically generates these opportunities by attending industry marketplace events.
  • Algoma University hosted its 11th annual Business Case Competition today. The event sees fourth-year Business students tackle an issue related to entrepreneurship and come up with solutions. Similar to previous years, Andrew Ross, the SSMEDC's Manager of Enterprise Centre Services, was one of the judges at the 2017 event. A graduate of the university's Business program, Andrew is a current board member and former chair of the Algoma U Alumni Council. Meanwhile, the SSMEDC and its Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship were title sponsors of this year's Algoma University Business Case Competition. The Corporation uses this type of outreach activity to encourage entrepreneurism while promoting SSMEDC enterprise programs and services that people can take advantage of to start and grow businesses.

March 24, 2017

  • The SSMEDC has compiled results for 2016. Its Business Development team helped clients raise $19.3 million in new investment towards growth projects totaling $34.7 million. This activity led to 30 new businesses startups and 20 business expansions, which created 233 jobs and retained 314 jobs. To break down these numbers . . . 18 businesses were started under the Summer Company program, and another 10 entrepreneurs launched their businesses under the Starter Company program. As well, more than 230 active clients received support through counselling and education initiatives. Meanwhile, in the first eight months of operation, the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship hosted nine firms in its small business incubator. Also, under the SSMEDC's Business Retention & Expansion Program, 20 large companies and organizations undertook significant growth projects. A full report of 2016 activity will be released in the coming weeks.
  • To further build the level of sports expertise in the community, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is facilitating a prominent coaching clinic this week. Delivered by the Coaches Association of Ontario, the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Super Clinic is taking place at various local venues from March 24 to 26. The training forum features NCCP coaching courses taught by industry experts. "Our goal is to continue to build on the city's sports-friendly reputation, which will allow the Sault to host more high-level tournaments," said Ian McMillan, Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. "The Super Clinic will go a long way in helping us achieve that objective." Launched in 1974, the NCCP is delivered in partnership with the federal, provincial and territorial governments, along with sport agencies. Online: www.coachesontario.ca/superclinic.
  • The SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship will be hosting monthly workshops and seminars under its newly-launched Education Series. The series will feature guest speakers with professional backgrounds in small business support, economic development and other specialized fields. Topics include Leadership 101, Generational Learning, and Sales Skills. For more information, go to the Education Series webpage. The Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship is located in the Machine Shop. Some of the Education Series seminars are scheduled to be held at the 83 Huron Street facility, but other venues will be used to accommodate larger crowds.
  • Registration for this year's Queen Street Cruise is now open. Taking place Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17, the event brings together car enthusiasts and families for a weekend of fun. To register a vehicle - everything from muscle cars to tractors are welcomed - or for additional information, visit www.queenstreetcruise.com. With more activities planned, along with new partnerships and sponsors, the organizing committee expects the 2017 Queen Street Cruise to be bigger and better than last year's. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is working with event organizers on planning and marketing. With funding from its private sector partners, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie hired an Events Coordinator last year. The position is charged with attracting visitors by increasing the size and draw of local festivals and events.

March 17, 2017

  • Last week, it was announced that UMG Media Corp., an eSports entertainment company, will be delivering services in eastern Canada through an office in Sault Ste. Marie. The office is set to be located in the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. Located at the Machine Shop, the facility houses a thriving business incubator. UMG's local presence will create jobs and add to the community's growing gaming sector. "The decision by UMG to establish operations here in Sault Ste. Marie is an important one for our cluster and the energy of its partners," said Leo Tiberi, Executive Lead for UP, the Sault's lottery and gaming growth initiative. "eSports is a fascinating and well-known sector among millennials. It is the fastest growing spectator sport in the world, and is indicative of the shift that is occurring in the gaming industry."
  • On March 9, Sault Ste. Marie hosted the Northern Ontario Forums for Food, Farms & Tourism. The conference attracted more than 50 delegates from across the region. Its goal was to increase culinary tourism opportunities and build industry partnerships. This new event was facilitated by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, Buy Algoma Buy Fresh, Rural Agri-Innovation Network, Algoma Kinniwabi Travel Association, Growing Forward 2, Agri-food Management Institute, Province of Ontario, and Government of Canada. Securing and supporting conferences and sports tournaments is a main activity for Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Between 2008 and 2016, the organization attracted or supported 442 events, which drew around 80,000 visitors and injected approximately $40 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy.
  • Last week, the SSMEDC presented to 400 students in 26 classes at St. Mary's College to promote Summer Company. Administered by the SSMEDC, the program provides grants and mentoring to assist high school and university student in starting a seasonal business. Summer Company participants can start any type of enterprise they want. In past years, ideas ranged from laser printing to brick driveway re-leveling. In many cases, the summer businesses were turned into full-time, year-round operations. Cavera Inc. and PAC Construction Group are prime examples. Summer Company is funded by the Province of Ontario. Since 2010, 90 students in the region have enrolled in the program. The deadline to apply for 2017 is May 6. Space is limited, and all spots allocated to the region are usually filled. Online: www.ontario.ca/page/start-summer-company-students.
  • To help local firms sell their products and services to the U.S., the SSMEDC, Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Ministry of International Trade are hosting a seminar on March 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Quattro Hotel. To register, or for additional details, please visit www.eventbrite.ca/e/exporting-to-the-usa-what-you-need-to-know-tickets-32470169150. Space is limited. Attendees will learn best practices, new information on U.S. customs requirements and insights on the future of NAFTA. The event will feature speakers from seven different agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Export Development Canada, BDO Canada, and FedNor. The forum will also feature a panel discussion of local exporting firms, including Evolution Deck, Tenaris Algoma Tubes, Arauco North Americas and SIS Manufacturing.

March 10, 2017

  • This week, 22,000 mining officials gathered in Toronto for the 2017 PDAC Convention. To help generate leads and business for local companies, the SSMEDC was represented at the expo. NorPro Security is a prime example. The Sault-based firm attended the forum to build partnerships and sell its services to the mining sector. "We generated a ton of solid leads, and we already inked a few commitments," said president Brad Gregorini. "We wouldn't have been able to do this without the support of the SSMEDC. They helped us make new contacts and build connections." Rector Machine Works also attended the PDAC Convention. "We went to gain exposure, network and see what projects are coming down the pipe," said owner Dave Rector, who thanked SSMEDC staff for their assistance. "The SSMEDC knows our business and were very helpful in brokering meetings for us. They worked the trade show floor and sought out potential partnerships. It worked out very well."
  • With a tourism career spanning more than 35 years, Ian McMillan was inducted into the Festivals & Events Ontario (FEO) Hall of Fame last week. The Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie was given the honour at the closing ceremony of the 2017 FEO Conference, an event Tourism Sault Ste. Marie secured for the community. The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of individuals in the festival and event industry. Ian was appointed the first Executive Director of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie in 2001. Prior to that, he spent 18 years with the Algoma Kinniwabi Travel Association. With his expertise, Ian currently sits as a Board member on a number of provincial tourism organizations, including the Great Lakes Cruise Coalition, Travel Industry Council of Ontario, Attractions Ontario, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, Tourism Northern Ontario, and Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation.
  • This year's Women in Business Breakfast took place Wednesday at Algoma's Water Tower Inn & Suites. The event was hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the SSMEDC and Community First - A Division of Your Neighborhood Credit Union. More than 200 people registered for the forum, which was held on International Women's Day. Taking place annually in Sault Ste. Marie, the Women in Business Breakfast features learning and networking opportunities, along with panel discussions on entrepreneurism. At this year's forum, Linda Ryan, Director of Sault College Employment Solutions, was presented with the ATHENA Leadership Award for her professional excellence and years of service in the community.
  • The SSMEDC is in the process of compiling activity and results data for 2016. On the human resources front, its Corporate Services team facilitated the recruitment, interviewing and orientation of 13 individuals, including interns, summer students and new Board members. The division also coordinated staff performance evaluations, along with staff training sessions mandated by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. As well, Corporate Services facilitated dozens of Board and Committee meetings, including a strategic planning session to chart the future of the organization's programs and activity. In 2016, the division also facilitated six requests for proposals (RFPs) for various community economic development initiatives and handled more than 4,000 public phone inquiries at reception.

March 3, 2017

  • Last week, a video celebrating the advantages and vibrancy of Sault Ste. Marie was formally released. It has since gone viral, with thousands of views on various Youtube channels. With a focus on youth, the segment includes footage of a number of outdoor and recreational opportunities, attractions, and other amenities in the Sault area, including the waterfront boardwalk and John Rowswell Hub Trail, boating, Sault College and Algoma University, Searchmont Ski Resort, paddle boarding and fishing, the Mill Market, shopping and dining establishments, festivals, and cross-country skiing. To watch the segment, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRf5E5s79pI&feature=youtu.be. The video is the result of a partnership initiative involving the SSMEDC, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, Algoma University and Sault College.
  • The community was home to the Festivals & Events Ontario 2017 Conference this week. Secured by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, in partnership with Tourism Northern Ontario, the event attracted around 160 industry leaders from across the province. Held March 1 to 3, the conference generated a considerable economic impact for the local economy, and it also allowed Tourism Sault Ste. Marie to showcase the city to festivals and events professionals. This was the first time the event was held in Northern Ontario in 20 years. On Wednesday during the opening night, citizens had an opportunity to take part in the celebration with a public fireworks display that took place on Topsail Island at Bellevue Park. To learn more about the Festivals & Events Ontario 2017 Conference, visit www.feo2017.com. Also online: www.festivalsandeventsontario.ca.
  • This week, the SSMEDC released the January/February 2017 edition of its bimonthly newsletter, The Pulse. To view the publication, visit http://conta.cc/2manoxL. 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 includes articles on economic development initiatives, SSMEDC clients and results generated. The Pulse has been published since October 2008 and is meant to keep partners and citizens informed of the Corporation's activity, along with its programs and services. 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.
  • In 2016, more than 200 bus tours carrying over 10,000 passengers came here from Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and Canada. The main focus of these trips is the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and Group of Seven excursions. To help ensure these tours continue to come - and the numbers increase - Ian McMillan from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie attended the National Tour Association Travel Exchange this week. While there, he met with 28 tour operators and pitched Sault Ste. Marie to them, with some already making commitments to come here this summer. "We've identified motor coach tourism as an area with significant growth potential," said McMillan. "With the recently-developed itineraries enabling visitors to literally follow in the footsteps of the Group of Seven, it gives us a leg up in attracting additional motor coach companies to our community."