Weekly Activity Reports - November 2014

November 28, 2014

  • Over the past couple of weeks, members of the SSMEDC team have met or engaged in in-depth discussions with a number of prominent global lottery and gaming-related companies that are interested in taking advantage of business opportunities in Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie. With the goal of learning about the businesses, building relationships and promoting the Sault's competitive industry advantages, the meetings were quite productive. The SSMEDC, along with the City, Innovation Centre and other groups, is working to ensure the community is best positioned to take advantage of the modernization of Ontario's lottery and gaming sector.
  • The SSMEDC is holding the 2014 Bridges to Better Business on Thursday, December 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Northern Grand Gardens. The annual event provides learning and networking opportunities for business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals. Offering a full dinner, the 2014 Bridges will feature a keynote presentation, titled Doing Business with Government. An entrepreneurial panel discussion will follow. Registration for this event is free, but organizers are asking all participants to bring two non-perishable food items for donation to the local Food Bank. To learn more, or to register, visit http://www.sault-canada.com/en/yourbusiness/bridgestobetterbusiness.asp.
  • This week, the SSMEDC, including members of its Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division, took part in an orientation session for the new City Council, which is scheduled to be sworn in on Monday, December 1. The meeting was to familiarize the Councillors with the Corporation, along with its programs, services and recent results. The SSMEDC joined all City Departments and other Municipal organizations in the orientation session, which is held every four years following the election.
  • On Monday, Zoltan Virag, the SSMEDC's Small Business Advisor, delivering an information session at Sault College to the Canada World Youth organization. The seminar dealt with the local economy, along with the various opportunities for local and area youth to delve into the world of entrepreneurship. The SSMEDC team makes regular presentations and seminars to various local and external groups as a way to promote the Corporation's programs and services. Canada World Youth is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing youth an opportunity to learn about other communities, cultures and people while developing leadership skills.

November 21, 2014

  • Yesterday, the SSMEDC helped facilitate and host the Destiny Sault Ste. Marie Greater Community Forum. More than 100 leaders from the private, public and non-profit sectors attended the event to discuss and generate solutions that will help bolster the local economy and build a more sustainable future. A number of bright ideas were shared, and they're now being compiled to be used in a strategic planning process that will guide the future of the community. Destiny Sault Ste. Marie consists of representatives from various agencies in the community that support economic development.
  • This week, the community is hosting a Grand Slam of Curling event at the Essar Centre. With games broadcast live on Rogers Sportsnet, the bonspiel features 18 of the top men's curling clubs from around the world, including local squad Team Jacobs, who took home a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and also won the 2013 Brier (Men's National Curling Championships). The Grand Slam of Curling, which attracted dozens of visitors to the community, was bid on by the City's Community Services Department, in partnership with Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC.
  • Next week, the SSMEDC is presenting an information session for business owners and entrepreneurs. The event, titled First Steps to Exporting, is taking place Thursday, Nov. 27 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel. The seminar will be presented by Maggie Weaver, the Secretariat for the Canada-Ontario Export Forum (COEF). Registration is $25. The deadline to RSVP is Monday, Nov. 24. To register, or for more information, visit https://adobeformscentral.com/?f=KoQcwYChGV6rHKipn8N0rw.
  • A member of the SSMEDC business team recently attended the CoreNet Global Conference. The event caters to corporate real estate personnel, site selectors and economic developers from around the world. The SSMEDC attended the conference to meet and network with the global site selectors - folks who are looking for locations to set up companies - to market the attributes and opportunities that Sault Ste. Marie can offer. Attending such events is where many of the SSMEDC's new business leads come from.

November 14, 2014

  • Three rail companies from Canada and the U.S. have submitted formal bids to take over the Algoma Central Railway passenger service. The ACR Passenger Service Working Group, in coordination with CN Rail, is in the process of determining which of the firms is the best fit for the region and has the best chance of ongoing success. Chaired by City CAO Joe Fratesi, the Working Group, which includes members from the SSMEDC and other groups, represents a larger committee of concerned stakeholders who are vying to keep the Sault-to-Heart passenger rail service in operation.
  • The City of Sault Ste. Marie's credit rating was recently upgraded from A+ Stable to A+ Positive by Standard & Poor's, a world-leading financial services company. The high ranking was based on a number of factors, including the Municipality's relatively low debt burden and an optimistic outlook for the local economy. Simply put, the high credit rating from S&P indicates a promising future for Sault Ste. Marie.
  • This week, Ian McMillan, Executive Director of the SSMEDC's Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division, attended the Ontario Motorcoach Marketplace. At the event, he had 38 appointments with tour operators from across North America. The goal is to get these firms to bring their bus tours to Sault Ste. Marie in 2015. This year, the community hosted more than 140 motor coaches, and those passengers made up 30% of the overall riders on the Agawa Canyon Train Tour. This market is significant for the local tourism sector, and Ian's efforts at attracting more motorcoach tours will continue to pay dividends for Sault Ste. Marie.
  • On Thursday, Dan Hollingsworth, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the SSMEDC, gave a keynote speech at the annual Board meeting for the International Bridge Administration. Dan spoke on the Port of Algoma, a project currently under development. When in operation, the deep sea harbour will be a game changing transportation infrastructure initiative for the region by making it more cost effective to import and export good to, from and through Sault Ste. Marie. In fact, the Port of Algoma, when fully developed, is expected to generate up to 1,800 jobs.

November 7, 2014

  • This week, Sault Ste. Marie was home to the 2014 Energy Opportunities Conference. The event attracted more than 150 delegates from energy-related businesses and organizations from around the world. The participants gathered for the learning and business partnership opportunities offered by the conference. Hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, a number of community groups, including the SSMEDC, helped plan and facilitate the event. Meanwhile, while the delegates were here, they also got a chance to visit a number of local businesses during the industry tours portion of the conference, which the SSMEDC team also helped coordinate.
  • Last night, the SSMEDC's Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division held its 12th annual Tourism Awards at the Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront Hotel. The event recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations for their significant contributions to the local tourism industry. The 2014 winners are: Tourism Award of Excellence: Kathryn Fisher (Curator, Ermatinger-Clergue National Historic Site); Business of the Year: Mill Market; Customer Service Award: Rod Duhaime (Comfort Suites); Tourism Ambassador Award: Sault Major Hockey Association; and Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Student Hospitality Award ($500 Scholarship): Carissa Melvin.
  • Last week, a member of the SSMEDC business development team attended the 2014 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) conference. The major industry event attracted hundreds of aviation suppliers and service providers from companies and organizations around the world. The SSMEDC attended the conference to network with aviation companies and look for business opportunities for its partners, including the Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation (local airport), JD Aero Technical Inc. and Eagle Feather Aviation.
  • On Tuesday, Tom Dodds, Chief Executive Officer of the SSMEDC, gave a keynote speech to the Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie. The presentation dealt with the state of the local economy, present economic development initiatives and future opportunities for the community. Members of the SSMEDC team make several of these types of keynote speeches each year to various local and non-local organizations. The goal is to keep the community, along with external agencies, informed of the opportunities available in Sault Ste. Marie.