Weekly Activity Reports - October 2016

October 28, 2016

  • The 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is now taking place in Sault Ste. Marie. Running from October 27 to November 5, the tournament features eight teams from around the globe. Drawing hundreds of visitors, the event was secured by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, in partnership with the City of Sault Ste. Marie. To accommodate visiting players, staff and dignitaries, 1,750 hotel room nights are required for the week-long period. While offering outstanding competition for local fans, the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge also provides a significant financial boon for the host city. For instance, the 2014 tourney in Sydney, Nova Scotia generated $3.8 million in total economic activity, with $2.6 million occurring in the host community. And with the final games broadcast on national TV, there are promotional benefits for the host city as well.
  • With its competitive advantages, the Sault is an ideal place to do business. This is the key message in a video released this week by the SSMEDC. The marketing reel highlights the city's strengths, including strategic location at the heart of the Great Lakes, globally-recognized post-secondary institutions and access to skilled labour. View the video at: https://youtu.be/bNegZaOxy-U. The video is part of the SSMEDC's Invest Sault Ste. Marie initiative, a three-year program aimed at enhancing the community's economic development capacity and performance in key sectors. Along with the marketing video, the SSMEDC also unveiled a brand logo for the initiative this week. Invest Sault Ste. Marie represents an incremental increase in the SSMEDC's economic development activities. It's funded by FedNor, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and City of Sault Ste. Marie.
  • Mean Dreams was screened at the Sault's Galaxy Cinema yesterday. Starring Bill Paxton (Apollo 13, Titanic) and Colm Feore (Chicago, House of Cards), the motion picture was primarily shot in Sault Ste. Marie last fall. The movie was directed by Nathan Morlando, who also filmed Citizen Gangster here several years ago. Given the economic impact of movie productions, the SSMEDC provides logistical assistance to the visiting crews. Essentially, the Corporation's Business Development team helps the production guide through the Municipal approval process. Over the past several years, a wide variety of feature films have been shot here, including: Swearnet, Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy, Collaborator, Breakout, Foxfire, Compulsion, Masked Saint, Midnight Sun, Remember, Story of Luke, If You See Her, Fall, and Coconut Hero.
  • The SSMEDC receives operating investments from the Province of Ontario to deliver small business support services in Sault Ste. Marie. As part of the provincial funding agreement, the Corporation is also required to provide this service in communities throughout the region. Last week, for example, members of the SSMEDC staff team delivered enterprise training sessions in Wawa, Blind River, Elliot Lake and Chapleau. Several dozen current and aspiring entrepreneurs attended the forums. The SSMEDC engages in several of these consultation trips throughout the district each year. The cost of delivering this type of regional outreach activity - from staff time, travel and other expenses - is covered by the Province of Ontario.

October 21, 2016

  • An SSMEDC client developed an online tool that customizes web pages based on the users' reading level. Melissa Kargiannakis is working to bring her product to the market in the near future. To help achieve this goal, she recently launched a $20,000 GoFundMe drive to allow her to attend the Women's Startup Lab accelerator next month in Silicon Valley, California. Earlier this year, the local entrepreneur and software developer enrolled in Starter Company, an SSMEDC-administered program that provides training, mentoring and potential access to funding to help youth start and grow businesses. Over the past three years, 14 young entrepreneurs in the Sault area have received grants through the program, which is open to non-students between the ages of 18 and 29. Starter Company is funded by the Province of Ontario.
  • This year's Bridges to Better Business drew the largest crowd in the history of the local event. Facilitated by the SSMEDC, the annual forum brings together current and aspiring entrepreneurs for an evening of learning and networking. Held at the Machine Shop on Wednesday, Bridges to Better Business 2016 attracted nearly 200 people. During the event, former CBC Dragons' Den advisor Dr. Sean Wise delivered a keynote presentation on enterprise and tips on how to start a business. Earlier in the day, he delivered another speech to more than 300 local high school students. Held during Small Business Week, both events were facilitated by the SSMEDC and Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship, with support from the BDC, Province of Ontario, Chamber of Commerce, Startup Sault, Innovation Centre and Community Development Corporation.
  • Last month, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie - using private sector tourism industry funding - purchased the railway car that was used in the TVO documentary film Pained Land: In Search of the Group of Seven. The boxcar is a near-exact replica of the coach used by the iconic Canadian artists when they visited the Sault area nearly 100 years ago. Last weekend, the railcar was used in a Lawren Harris exhibit at the Machine Shop. The public display was part of this year's Algoma Fall Festival, which runs from October 1 to 29. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie is a longtime partner of the annual event. The organization markets the Algoma Fall Festival and includes it in the Sault's Visitor Guide, along with and other printed material and digital mediums. Held since 1973, the Algoma Arts Festival celebrates all-things art.
  • John Febbraro, the SSMEDC's Director of Industrial and Business Development, presented to members of the Sault North Rotary Club this week. His keynote speech dealt with some of the major economic development projects in the community, including opportunities in the national defense sector and the redevelopment of the Port of Algoma. The presentation also touched on some of the challenges currently facing the local economy, along with workforce and economic data. This type of endeavour falls under the SSMEDC's outreach activity. Every year, members of the Corporation's staff team conduct many of these presentations to various groups throughout the community and around the world. The goal is to keep the public informed of SSMEDC activity and promote the community's competitive advantages.

October 14, 2016

  • To promote local trade and investment opportunities and the city's competitive advantages, the SSMEDC hosted 30 Provincial Government officials based in offices from around the world this week. Representing the Ministry of International Trade, along with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, these senior economic officers are stationed in China, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, Mexico, France, United States and Canada. While here, the visitors heard presentations from a number of organizations, including the SSMEDC, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and Port of Algoma. With a focus on robotics and the digital economy, the visiting delegates also toured various businesses and community sites, such as SIS Group, Heliene Canada and the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship.
  • In the past few years, there has been an increase in the amount of international group travel activity in the city. Mostly hailing from Japan, United Kingdom, South Korea and Germany, these visitors generally come for the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and other area attractions. To help with the community's efforts to attract and host these group tour operators, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and its industry partners facilitated an International Travel Trade workshop this week. During the session, representatives from local attractions, experiences and accommodation providers were delivered education and information on how to better understand and host international group tours. A couple dozen businesses participated in the two-day workshop. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie facilitated the forum with the Algoma Kinniwabi Travel Association and Tourism Northern Ontario.
  • Angela Bruni, an Economic Development Officer with the SSMEDC, presented to City Council on Monday evening to highlight the upcoming Small Business Week. Following the address, Council passed a resolution to officially proclaim October 16 to 22 as Small Business Week in Sault Ste. Marie. The annual campaign is a nationwide celebration of entrepreneurship that the Business Development Bank of Canada has been organizing for nearly 40 years. There are a number of events planned in Sault Ste. Marie during Small Business Week. For instance, on Wednesday, the SSMEDC is hosting WISE Words, a student-focused entrepreneurship session with former Dragons' Den advisor Sean Wise, along with Bridges to Better Business. And on Friday, the SSMEDC staff team will be providing tours of its Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Machine Shop.
  • The Business Development division of the SSMEDC is seeking to hire a Marketing Outreach Coordinator. This internship position is a career development opportunity for a recent graduate to utilize their educational knowledge as a basis to further develop their skills in marketing and outreach, workshop and event coordination, and business development. The Marketing Outreach Coordinator will be located within the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship, a dynamic and interactive focal point for enterprise in Sault Ste. Marie. The deadline to apply for this position is Friday, October 21. For more information, please view the job posting at www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/ssmedcjobs.asp. This internship position is made possible with support from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.

October 7, 2016

  • After a six-year hiatus, the quad lift at Searchmont Resort is set to operate this year. New parts have been ordered, and hill brushing is taking place near the lift lines. During the off-season, a number of other improvements have been taking place, including snow-making capital upgrades and hill remediation, which means less snow is required to open this winter. These renovations are being made possible with committed investments from senior levels of government. The SSMEDC bought Searchmont Resort in December 2014. The purchase was required to ensure the attraction remained open. As the owner, the SSMEDC is able to take advantage of significant amounts of capital improvement funding from FedNor and Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, which has provided support for these recent upgrades. Searchmont Ski Association and a special SSMEDC Board Committee have been working together to plan and execute necessary capital improvements to enhance the skiing experience and sustainability of the facility.
  • Following a competitive bid process, Sault Ste. Marie was selected to host the 2017 North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association annual conference. Taking place July 17 to 22 at Quattro Hotel & Conference Centre, the event is expected to attract 400 game wardens and conservation officers, along with their families, from across the continent. This opportunity was secured by Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. In August, its staff hosted representatives from the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association. During the familiarization tour, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie showcased local accommodation facilities, conference venues and various attractions. The goal was to demonstrate that the community has the amenities and other attributes required to be a prime host for the 2017 annual conference. Mission: accomplished.
  • In economic development, you need a solid plan in place to help ensure best bets are made and, ultimately, solid results are generated for the community. With this in mind, the SSMEDC Board of Directors and senior managers held a strategic planning session this week. The goal was to begin charting the next steps for SSMEDC projects, programs and activity. The SSMEDC Board is a dedicated group of volunteers who commit thousands of hours annually to the governance, planning and administration of the Corporation. The Board and volunteer Committees consists of business owners, executives and professionals with a commitment to the growth and development of Sault Ste. Marie. To view the Board members, along with their biographies, please visit www.sault-canada.com/en/aboutus/boardofdirectors.asp.
  • This week, the Essar Centre hosted a National Hockey League exhibition game. The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Buffalo Sabres in a nail-biting 3-2 shootout win. This event was acquired by the City of Sault Ste. Marie - in particular, the Essar Centre division of its Community Services Department. Though not directly involved with securing the exhibition game, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie provided some behind-the-scenes support. For instance, the organization helped promote the event to strategic markets. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie also offered ticket and accommodation packages on its online reservation system. The first of its kind in Northern Ontario, the web-based portal allows travellers to book their hotel, entertainment and attraction passes with the simple click of a mouse.