Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) Update
GEDC invited local stakeholders and partners to a BR+E session on November 1st. Since the tracking of the project was completed, a presentation was designed to review the history, key projects, and results of the BR+E. There was also a strategic planning component that was designed to encourage stakeholder feedback and generate ideas for future projects and partnerships. The Greenstone BR+E was launched by GEDC in 2013 to help the community understand local business needs and respond – so that businesses can diversify and become more competitive in the community.
We had 49 business owners that owned 75 businesses in Greenstone participated in the 2013 BR+E surveys. As part of the Greenstone BR+E Final Report released in March 2014, recommendations were developed as a tool to help community stakeholders identify their priorities and address opportunities. Although the core of the BR+E Project was the base retention and sector surveys, the project did not end with the survey results and recommendations. Projects and initiatives that relate to BR+E recommendations have been tracked to provide evidence that GEDC and other stakeholders committed to continual development of local businesses and the economy of Greenstone.
Some key statistics for the BR+E include:
- There were 59 recommendations issued from the BR+E surveys,
- 100+ tracked projects/activities that fit a BR+E recommendation,
- Over 50 projects utilized or created a partnership, and
- 92% of the recommendations were addressed by at least one project
The 2017 BR+E Recommendation & Strategy Report and Presentation can be viewed on our report page.
GEDC worked on the outstanding recommendations outlined in the original 2014 Greenstone BR+E Project Report. There were numerous activities/projects that stemmed from the recommendations and that also stimulated other or annual activity including but not limited to: WPC Committee, GEDC Booklet series, Mining Forums/Events, SNC Economic Study, and the Clustering Initiative, GEDC newsletter, Mobile Friendly website and Blog concept, local and regional project support/partnerships.
Activities for 2017:
- Workshops and information sessions on various topics such as: succession planning, workforce innovation resources, Indigenous programs
- Business Clustering Sessions which inspired a Forestry Industry themed AGM
- Succession Matching Initiative
- New Business Ideas Report
- GEDC Mobile friendly website
- GEDC Blog/Forum (in-progress)
- Exporting Information package
- Booklet Series additions – Business Resource Guide and Entrepreneur’s responsibilities and obligations of owning a Business (in-progress)
- Business Capacity Inventory (in-progress)
- Local and regional partnership projects (in-progress)
2016 was a busy year for GEDC and as such many of the outstanding recommendations from the BR+E report were addressed through various workshops, enhanced business directory, brainstorming sessions, economic development study, resource directory, bonjour campaign, business opportunities report, and non-profit booklet. There were also several partnership events/activities such as the Mining Update Event, Business Outreach Initiative, Workforce Preparedness Committee, Clustering Framework, and the Business Compliance Initiative. A Tourism Strategy is also being undertaken by the Municipality of Greenstone that encompasses many of their recommendations.
Business Outreach Initiative—Complete!
GEDC Business Centre and the Municipality of Greenstone launched the ‘Business Outreach Initiative’ in spring of 2016. The goal of the initiative was to inform businesses of available services, and answer any questions during the visits, or through a follow-up. There were over 200 business meetings and follow-ups completed in the communities of Nakina, Beardmore, Jellicoe, Longlac and Geraldton.
Business Compliance Initiative—Phase 2
The Business Compliance Initiative was concluded this year as the second phase of the project wrapped up. The first phase of this was to create a brochure-style Business Checklist (2015) of mandatory requirements that business should be aware of. This was a way to help businesses determine if they were complaint with the latest Health and Safety regulations in Ontario. The second phase was to expand on this by creating an information handout and to generate a flash drive to have available for businesses in Greenstone.
The flash drive contains information about Health and Safety regulations for businesses, mandatory training, and information from local organizations that can assist. The stick was generated in partnership with MTW Employment Services, Thunderbird Friendship Centre, and Confederation College – Greenstone Campus. Call or visit GEDC or any of these partner organizations to find out more.
Online Business Directory
The GEDC business directory received a number of enhancements to increase functionality and better serve the businesses in the region. Over 300 businesses are now listed on the directory, and approximately 2000 English and French search-filter terms have been programmed as part of the enhancements.
An enhanced Business directory was among the top requested services by Greenstone businesses in the BR+E survey.
Email gedc%23ca|brian to add/update your business information, and hours of operation.
Visit our Report page on our website to view our resource booklets, studies and reports.
Following the BR+E community leaders brainstorming session in March, several projects are underway and many strategic partnerships have been formed. Additional stakeholder engagement sessions have been held to help determine priority recommendations for stakeholders that were unable to attend the March session.
GEDC staff have identified several projects that can address the recommendations of the BR+E and group meetings are underway. Many partnerships that have been formed include other major stakeholders for BR+E in the region. Some of the projects underway include; Greenstone Enhanced Business Directory, Municipality of Greenstone Marketing/Brand Strategy, and GEDC Youth Journey.
Youth Entrepreneurship Awareness
The stakeholder report from the 2014 BR+E project listed several youth-related recommendations. Among those was a recommendation to engage youth and make them aware of advantages and opportunities of entrepreneurship. In partnership with the North Claybelt CFDC/ Northern Ontario Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative, Geraldton Composite High School and Marjorie Mills Public School, we created an event to help fit that recommendation. The GEDC Youth Entrepreneurship Awareness event took place on November 17th, 2015 at Geraldton Composite High School and Marjorie Mills Public School. The strategy behind the event was to engage youth through an impactful motivational speech from a young, successful entrepreneur. The event featured keynote speaker, The Illusionist: Lucas Wilson. Lucas, age 25, is an entrepreneur and business owner from Port Dover, a small town in Southern Ontario. He turned his dream into a successful, full-time business through hard work and dedication, and delivers an inspirational story that captivates and engages his audience. Lucas has made appearances on popular reality television shows including Dragon’s Den and Canada’s Got Talent. We invited all students grades 6-12 in the Greenstone area and over 400 students attended the event. To determine the event effectiveness, a short 4-question survey was distributed to students to gauge the following criteria: Overall impact, level of interest in entrepreneurship prior to/after the event, and was there a positive message received? Overall, the event was highly rated and over 60% of students commented about the positive messages from Lucas’s speech. Teachers that had attended the event also had the opportunity to provide feedback and many teachers indicated that the entrepreneurial message was well-received and that more events/encouragement similar to this would be beneficial for students in Greenstone.
Business Compliance Brochure – Is Your Business Complaint?
The GEDC, in partnership with the Greenstone Regional Skills Centre, Thunderbird Friendship Centre, Contact North, and MTW Employment Services produced a brochure to help raise awareness for local businesses about health and safety compliance information. This committee project stemmed from GEDC’s BR+E recommendations regarding available training resources in the region. The goal is to help local businesses recognize essential training requirements, and assist with information and resources to help ensure all businesses in Greenstone are compliant with Ontario regulations. The brochure was distributed in close proximity to the Health and Safety for small business course (October 16th), which focused on crucial health and safety compliance information in Ontario.
March 31, 2015: GEDC held a BR+E Community Leaders Brainstorming Session in order to assess and put into action some of the recommendations that were derived from the BR+E Report. The session went well with numerous local representatives taking part during the day, from conversations around the room there are several projects / strategies starting or now in the planning stage which will encompass some of the recommendations.
GEDC continued with partnership maintenance and through a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) “Succession Planning” workshops with Crupi Consulting Group were held June 23, 2014 in Longlac and Geraldton.
There were additional workshops offered during our October Business Week to the community such as Website & Outreach, Diversification of Income & Services / Brand Image (French), Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Grow Greenstone One Co-op at a Time, plus information sessions held on Programs / Services offered by Paro and MTW Employment Service.
GEDC held a BR+E Community Leaders Luncheon, on December 5, to provide an opportunity to the Stakeholders / Community Leaders to gather and discuss future participation and continuation with the project objectives. Please see below presentation and session notes.
2013 / 2014 Greenstone BR+E Project:
BR+E (Business Retention and Expansion)
GEDC conducted their second BR+E project from May 2013 to April 2014; the original project was in 2003. At project end Stakeholders were advised of the final report recommendations and which ones may fall under their mandates through a separate Stakeholder Report. GEDC underwent a Strategic Session to prioritize their own recommendations, action plan, identify possible projects and partnership opportunities with other Stakeholders to address some of the recommendations. Since then there have been several engagement and brainstorming sessions amongst Stakeholders.
Greenstone BR+E Thank You:
Thank you to all participating businesses and stakeholders for you input and comments to the Greenstone Economic Development Corporation Business Retention and Expansion Report. To see an electronic copy of the final report, in both French and English, please click on either of the following:
BR+E English Report BR+E French Report
Public BR+E forums were held in March, 2014 in Nakina, Geraldton, Beardmore, Longlac and in Thunder Bay at the Grow Greenstone Expo. To see a live Greenstone BR+E public forum presentation by Dan Brenzavich BR+E Coordinator, please click the following: https://www.youtube.com/v/t_MFbtI7Xpg&hd=1&autoplay=1
BR+E Coordinator Dan Brenzavich presents Greenstone BR+E findings in Longlac on March 12, 2014.