Weekly Activity Reports - May 2016

May 27, 2016

  • An SSMEDC client is embarking on a major growth project. SIS Manufacturing recently received a $1-million grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. The company is using the investment to purchase robotic welding equipment and expand its structural steel machining capacity. Ultimately, the initiative is expected to create 15 jobs, which will bring the firm's total staff contingent to more than 60. SIS Manufacturing is a longtime client of the SSMEDC. Over the years, the two have worked together on a number of successful growth projects. For the latest initiative, the SSMEDC provided assistance with developing a business case and funding applications. This type of client support activity falls under the SSMEDC's Business Retention and Expansion program, which helps local companies in accessing funds and growing.
  • This week, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie unveiled its latest Festivals & Events brochure. Targeted towards visitors, the marketing publication showcases the area's major upcoming festivals and events, including Rotaryfest, CAN/AM President's VIP Poker Run, Bushplane Days, Algoma Fall Festival, and Ontario Winter Carnival Bon Soo. Marketing area attractions and festivals is a core activity of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. The organization also secures and supports major conferences, sports tournaments and special events, sells vacation packages online and direct to consumers around the world, develops tourism products and infrastructure, and attracts cruise ships, motor coach tours and other group excursions. The ultimate goal is to draw visitors and visitor spending to Sault Ste. Marie.
  • Last weekend, local artist Darren Emond showcased his newest comic book at the Rad Zone in the Wellington Square Mall. What makes this work especially special is that it was commissioned by the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Darren's success is a prime example of the great things that can happen when people and groups work together for a common goal. Last year, the SSMEDC assisted the artist in starting a business using a micro-loan from the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board. With Darren's success, the two organizations, in partnership with the Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie & Area, entered into a formal partnership to offer area entrepreneurs streamlined access to their enterprise services. Essentially, the goal is to replicate Darren's success story many times over.
  • Several years back, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie initiated the Agawa Canyon Tour Train Revitalization Project. The initiative led to the purchase of new coaches and on-board technology. With that, along with Tourism Sault Ste. Marie's strategic marketing efforts, ridership on the city's number one travel generator topped 30,000 in 2015 for the first time in eight years. To help keep this positive momentum going, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is seeking to hire Tour Train Travel Ambassadors. The seasonal staff positions, which will run from June to October, will be responsible for providing accurate travel information to riders and facilitate a memorable experience to visitors of the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. The deadline to apply is June 3. For more information, including a full job description, visit www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/ssmedcjobs.asp.

May 20, 2016

  • To support small businesses and generate jobs, the SSMEDC established the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. The grand opening of the building was held today. Located in the Machine Shop, the facility houses business clients and provides incubation services and direct support to entrepreneurs. Studies show that after five years, the success rate for firms that use incubation services is over 80%, compared to around 33% for non-incubated companies. Given the benefit to entrepreneurs and the economy, the Millworks is a key priority project for the SSMEDC and community. The project, which is supported by all levels of government, is part of the city's downtown Canal District revitalization. For entrepreneurs who want to utilize the Millworks' incubation services, contact the SSMEDC's Andrew Ross at 705-251-3500 ext. 1000 or a.ross@ssmedc.ca.
  • Around 2,800 visitors will be in Sault Ste. Marie this summer for a major conference. Taking place July 6 to 10 at the Essar Centre, the 2016 Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses Convention will generate more than 11,000 visitor days and inject over $1.6 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy, along with millions more in indirect economic activity. The city last hosted this conference some 20 years ago. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie has been working - and continues to work - with the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, local Jehovah's Witnesses members and its industry partners on securing and coordinating the 2016 event. The formal announcement for the 2016 Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses Convention was made at Monday's City Council meeting.
  • This week, Sault Ste. Marie hosted the 2016 Spring Symposium for the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO). The conference attracted dozens of economic development leaders from across the province. During the two-day event, delegates took part in a number of training sessions. They also had an opportunity to tour various community sites and attractions. The 2016 EDCO Spring Symposium was secured by SSMEDC CEO Tom Dodds, who sits on the EDCO Board members, with support from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. The conference not only generated visitor days and visitor spending for the local economy, it also provided an opportunity for Sault Ste. Marie to be showcased and promoted to Ontario's economic development professionals.
  • Sault Ste. Marie will be profiled in an article in the upcoming edition of Bear Country, the in-flight magazine of Bearskin Airlines. The company services the Sault and other Northern Ontario communities. Various local development projects will be highlighted in the story, including expansion at the Sault Airport, construction of the new Federal Bridge Plaza, the Port of Algoma, and the recently-opened Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. This promotional opportunity was generated - and the article written - by the SSMEDC's Corporate Services division. Every year, the organization generates a number of stories and content for external publications. The goal of this type of communications activity is to promote Sault Ste. Marie and local development opportunities around the world. 

May 13, 2016

  • To demonstrate accountability to citizens and funding partners, the SSMEDC releases a number of publications and communications material. The organization's 2015 Results, Activity & Outcomes report is now available in the May 16 City Council package and at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/resources/MOU2016Final.pdf. Highlights include: in 2015, SSMEDC activity led to 29 business startups and expansions, which created or retained 150 jobs. Between 2010 and 2015, the SSMEDC generated 194 business startups and expansions, which created or retained more than 1,700 jobs. Also in 2015, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie activity generated 23,951 visitor days and $4.4 million in direct visitor spending. Between 2010 and 2015, this activity generated 197,231 visitor days, $28.8 million of direct visitor spending, and millions more in spinoff impact.
  • Want to learn about economic development? The SSMEDC is holding an informative workshop on Tuesday, May 17 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. A keynote presentation will be given by industry specialist David Cash, Past President of the Economic Development Council of Ontario. This workshop is specially designed to provide an overview of what local economic development is about. Not quite "Economic Development 101," this session covers the basics and is geared to elected officials and others appointed to economic development committees and boards. There is no cost to attend the workshop. However, space is limited so register as soon as possible. For more details, visit http://www.edcossm2016.com/#!may-17/gzdl7. This information session is part of the SSMEDC's outreach activity.
  • The community has another solid resource in its efforts to retain and expand the local lottery and gaming sector. Leo Tiberi was recently hired as the Executive Lead for the newly-created Lottery & Gaming Pursuit Project. He will lead the team tasked with growing and diversifying the Sault's lottery and gaming industry. The group is focusing on innovative business outreach and attraction efforts, talent management solutions, marketing and communications, partnerships with post-secondary institutions, and programs for employee retention. Leo is an innovative leader with more than 30 years of experience in academics and recruitment, most recently as Vice President of Academic and Research with Sault College. The Lottery & Gaming Pursuit Project is being led by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, in partnership with the SSMEDC.
  • The SSMEDC recently received funding from Service Canada to hire three summer students. With today the deadline to apply, the posting is available at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/ssmedcjobs.asp. Accessing this investment from the Federal Government is an example of the SSMEDC leveraging its core Municipal funding. Between 2010 and 2015, the Corporation received a total of $9.65 million from the City. The SSMEDC used this funding to secure over $16.5 million from senior levels of government, the private sector and other sources. Essentially, for every dollar the Corporation receives from the Municipality, it secures roughly two dollars from other sources. Being able to access such a high level of funding from senior levels of government is largely the result of the SSMEDC being an independent, non-profit organization.

May 6, 2016

  • A travel documentary filmed in the Sault last summer received some major accolades. Season 8 of Joseph Rosendo's Travelscope was nominated for two Emmy Awards at the 2016 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Ceremony: Outstanding Cinematography and Outstanding Sound Editing. The Sault episode features the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, scenic driving along Lake Superior, Voyageur Lodge & Cookhouse, Errington's Wilderness Island Resort, and fishing in the St. Mary's River rapids. The idea for Travelscope to highlight the Sault area stemmed from host Joseph Rosendo meeting Ian McMillan from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie at the Canadian Media Marketplace in 2014. "Although I had long understood the scope of the touristic treasures of Ontario and had previously covered the province extensively for my radio and TV shows, my interest was revitalized when we met Ian McMillan," said Rosendo.
  • A large component of economic development is building partnerships and connections. With this in mind, the SSMEDC was represented at the 2016 Great Lakes Economic Forum last week. The second annual event brings together global leaders from economic development, government and the private sector to share ideas and insights that will help shape economic policy, boost the region's competitive edge and secure its long-term success in a borderless global economy. The SSMEDC attended the conference to promote local companies and development opportunities, including the Port of Algoma and other transportation infrastructure projects. The Corporation also attended the 2016 Great Lakes Economic Forum to understand what's going on in other jurisdictions to learn from them on how to best position the Sault for growth.
  • From October 28 to November 6, the community is hosting the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. The event was secured by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, in partnership with the City of Sault Ste. Marie. The organizing committee and partners are now working on planning and logistical matters. Meanwhile, to help market the tournament and attract visiting fans, the SSMEDC's Corporate Services division penned a promotional story that now appears in the event brochure for the 2016 OHL Gold Cup, which is taking place May 4 to 8 in Kitchener. With hundreds of hockey enthusiasts attending the southwestern Ontario tournament, it's hoped that the promotional story on the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will cause many of them to attend the Sault Ste. Marie event this fall.
  • This week, the SSMEDC staff team received the Outstanding Employee Campaign Award (Under 100 Employees) from the United Way of Sault Ste. Marie & District. The Corporation was given the recognition for significantly increasing employee donations to the charity through payroll deduction to 94% staff participation. The mission of the United Way of Sault Ste. Marie & District is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action. Through community engagement, the charity has identified four priority issues: health, employment, poverty and youth concerns. Working with the non-profit and volunteer sectors, the United Way of Sault Ste. Marie & District facilitates solutions to these issues, resulting in positive impacts to the community.