Weekly Activity Reports - May 2017

May 26, 2017

  • Sault Ste. Marie will be one of 50 cities around the world to host a unique yoga event next month. On Wednesday, June 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Roberta Bondar Pavilion will be home to the Lolë White Tour On the Road. The forum is a celebration of wellness and community. Taking place simultaneously in cities across North America and Europe, this inspiring experience brings together thousands of yogis, all dressed in white as a symbol of peace. It's an opportunity for participants to connect mind, body and soul. With the nearest tour locations being in southern Michigan and the G.T.A., Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is supporting the event by marketing it across the region. The goal is to attract yogis from Ontario and the U.S. Registration and accommodation packages are available on the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie website at www.saulttourism.com/packages.
  • The SSMEDC is hosting a business training session on Monday, June 5. Titled Public Image Can Drive Sales, the workshop is being led by communications and public relations specialist James Cronin. It's taking place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Machine Shop of the former St. Marys Paper site. At the session, attendees will learn how to boost business sales by creating a positive public image and how to distinguish their company within the community. There is no charge to attend, however, space is limited. To register, go to www.eventbrite.ca/e/public-image-can-drive-sales-tickets-34113088165. This event is part of the SSMEDC's Education Series, which includes regular seminars and training sessions designed to support current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Over the past few years, the international tourism market in the Sault has been growing steadily. In particular, visitors and group excursions have been coming here from east Asia. These tourists generally come to ride the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. Why the recent uptick? Tourism Sault Ste. Marie focuses a considerable amount of attention on promoting the attraction at international marketplace events. For example, Executive Director Ian McMillan recently attended Rendez-vous Canada. Lead by Destination Canada, the forum attracts around 1,500 global tourism industry officials for a series of "speed dating" sessions. While there, he had 81 appointments with world travel agencies and group tour operators, mostly from South Korea, Japan and China. This activity is expected to further increase the international tourism market in the Sault.
  • Last week, the SSMEDC welcomed three summer students. As part of their duties, Aimee Carter, Courtney Dukes and Austin Maccarone will be contacting virtually every local company to update the SSMEDC Business Directory, populating the organization's client-relationship management system and conducting economic research. The student positions are made possible with funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Grant. This is an example of the SSMEDC's ability to lever investments. Between 2010 and 2016, the Corporation received an annual average of $1.6 million from the Municipality and used this funding to secure an annual average of $2.7 million from senior levels of government, the private sector and other sources. Essentially, for every dollar the SSMEDC receives from the City, it secures roughly two dollars from other sources.

May 19, 2017

  • The SSMEDC's Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship is celebrating its one-year anniversary on May 26. Partners and citizens are invited to a come-and-go from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Located in the Machine Shop, the Millworks is home to the SSMEDC's enterprise services programs and staff, along with a small business incubator. Since opening in May 2016, a number of firms have moved into the incubation facility, with some graduating or moving on to other locations in the city. Millworks clients include: BonZa Global Inc., NorthStar Consulting Ltd., Jeronamo Solutions, Possibilities Group, MBR Services Inc., Beaver & Eagle Automotive Technologies (formerly Purus Fuel Technologies), Dizzytree, and Swamp Woods Unlimited. 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.
  • The Agawa Canyon Tour Train recently joined an elite club. Last week, the attraction was recognized by being named a "Canadian Signature Experience" by Destination Canada. As a result, the tour train is expected to benefit from an international marketing boost. Canadian Signature Experiences are once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities that show the best of the country. Destination Canada promotes the series around the world. This opportunity was generated by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, which worked with Destination Canada to identify the uniqueness of the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and how it connects travellers to the country's remarkable geography and rich cultural heritage. For more information on Destination Canada and its list of Canadian Signature Experiences, visit www.destinationcanada.com.
  • Last week, Norpro Security & Investigations held a job fair. The company is hiring in various areas, including IT, data cabling and security guard. Over the past few years, Norpro has expanded its workforce and service offering. It now operates the following divisions: residential/commercial and corporate security, investigations, mobile patrol, loss prevention, health and safety, medical response, static armed guards, CPR/first aid training, armored cash-in-transit, K-9, and alarm response. Last year, Norpro utilized the SSMEDC's Business Retention & Expansion Program to further expand into the mining sector. "Breaking into new markets is tough," said Norpro president Brad Gregorini. "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 hosting a Financial Literacy workshop on Thursday, May 25 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Taking place at the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship, the focus of the forum is managing finances for small business. Shane Turcotte and Terri Chiarello, from RBC Royal Bank, will be leading the workshop. Space is limited. To register, visit www.eventbrite.ca/e/financial-literacy-tickets-34581007725. This event is part of the SSMEDC's Education Series, which includes regular seminars and training sessions featuring talented guest speakers. The goal of the SSMEDC's outreach activity is to bolster the local small business sector by teaching and mentoring current and aspiring entrepreneurs. In 2016, for example, the SSMEDC delivered 40 seminars and workshops to train and educate business owners and the public.

May 12, 2017

  • Under its Business Retention & Expansion Program, the SSMEDC recently assisted Soo Foundry & Machine with a major growth initiative. The company utilized the program to acquire funds and buy specialty equipment to further expand into the energy sector. The firm now provides services to wind farms across Canada, and there is potential to generate export opportunities. "For medium-sized businesses looking to export, it's important to have an organization like the SSMEDC to help make connections," said Soo Foundry president Robert Cohen. "It's impossible to do this type of work alone." In 2016, 20 companies grew and added staff through the SSMEDC's Business Retention & Expansion Program. This activity created more than 167 direct jobs, retained 314 jobs and led to approximately $19 million in new investments made in the community.
  • To provide citizens and partners an update on the Ring of Fire, the SSMEDC and Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce hosted a special presentation on the regional development project on Wednesday. Speaking at the forum were Alan Coutts, president and CEO, and Stephen Flewelling, Chief Development Officer, of Noront Resources Ltd. The Canadian-based mining company has the largest land position in the Ring of Fire, an emerging multi-metals area located in Northern Ontario. The presentation centred around the current status of Noront's Eagle's Nest Project, the scale of Eagle's Nest and future chromite projects, business and employment opportunities, and the impact and benefits to neighbouring and Ontario communities. Held at Grand Gardens Downtown, more than 120 people attended the luncheon. The forum was sponsored by Port of Algoma.
  • Tourism Sault Ste. Marie recently released its 2017 Business Plan. With a vision to position the city as Ontario's fastest-growing visitor destination, combining its unique local experiences with the natural wonders of Northern Ontario, the publication lists the following objectives: increase year-round overnight leisure travel to the Sault area, diversify product offerings through packages/itineraries and product/infrastructure development, strengthen the Sault's position as a sports tournament and convention destination, leverage the city's location to build outdoor opportunities, and focus on festivals and events. The Tourism Sault Ste. Marie 2017 Business Plan will help drive the organization's activity and focus this year. The publication is available on the SSMEDC website at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/resources/TSSMBusPlan2017_HR.pdf.
  • On Wednesday, Startup Sault hosted a Startup Pitch Night. The forum provided  entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their business ideas for cash prizes. Six companies competed: EZnowPC, Heuristext, Veracity Connect, Trailblazing Beads, Our Local Market, and Cordelia Plant-Based Meals. Dan Hollingsworth, the SSMEDC's Executive Director of Business Development, was one of five judges. The winning pitch was awarded to Ashleigh and Angela Sauve of Cordelia Plant-Based Meals. As well, a Best Youth Pitch prize, courtesy of YouLaunch, was given to Melissa Kargianakkis of Heuristext. Finally, a Social Enterprise Pitch Award went to Eva Dabutch of Trailblazing Beads. Held at Delta Waterfront Hotel, more than 60 people attended the event. StartUP Sault is a grass-roots organization connecting entrepreneurs with small business resources. Its partners include the SSMEDC and Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship.

May 5, 2017

  • Sault Ste. Marie has been selected to host the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Provincial Winter Games. The event will feature competitions in six winter sports: Nordic Skiing, Alpine Skiing, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Curling and Snowshoeing. With an opening ceremony and a number of venues being used, the community will have an opportunity to take part in this exciting celebration. Involving hundreds of participating athletes from across the province, the 2019 Winter Games were bid on by Sault Ste. Marie Police Services, in partnership with Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. Held every four years, the event tends to attract around 1,000 athletes, coaches, officials and families. Based on figures from the last event held in North Bay, the 2019 Games are expected to generate a direct economic impact of approximately $1 million for Sault Ste. Marie.
  • In its efforts to generate new opportunities for Searchmont Resort, the SSMEDC has initiated the very-early-stage planning process to potentially create up to 16 new residential lots at the base of the hill. Searchmont residents are invited to a public open house on Thursday, May 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Searchmont Community Hall. More information is available at http://searchmont.com/news-events/attention-notice-of-public-open-house/. In December 2014, the SSMEDC purchased Searchmont Resort. The acquisition was required to ensure the tourist attraction and quality-of-life generator continued to operate. Meanwhile, with favourable weather, more visitors and a 24% increase in early season pass sales, 2016/17 was a profitable year for the resort. Planning is already underway for the 2017/18 season.
  • The SSMEDC is hosting a Lunch & Learn on May 11 at the Machine Shop. Dr. Mary Donohue, world-renowned speaker, TEDx Talks presenter, TV personality and CEO of Donohue Learning, will be leading the session. Here's a synopsis: "Statistics show that for many employees, work is killing them. They are not productive, nor enthusiastic and their happiness is gone. This makes work days very bad days. Why? The hardest thing to change in an organization is culture. Today's workplaces feature three - soon to be four - distinct generations, each with their own modes of communication and technology usage. Organizational leaders are failing to communicate with two or three generations of employees without realizing it." To learn how to shift this trend, attend the forum by first registering at www.eventbrite.ca/e/why-we-do-what-we-do-at-work-tickets-34106762244.
  • Last week, the SSMEDC released the March/April 2017 edition of its bimonthly newsletter, The Pulse. To view the publication, visit http://conta.cc/2qvxpVT. The digital newsletter is sent to approximately 1,500 recipients. It features stories on SSMEDC clients and programs, economic development projects, and the impact of the Corporation's activity on the local economy. The Pulse has been published for more than eight years and is designed to keep citizens and partners informed of SSMEDC activity and results generated, along with the programs and services entrepreneurs and businesses can take advantage of. The newsletter archive is available online at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/newsletter.asp. To view the full SSMEDC communications archive, visit www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/stayconnected.asp.