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2 0 1 0 B U S IN E S S P L A N A Four Pillar Approach to Economic Prosperity

Economic Development Services

County of Huron

Table of Contents

Table of Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 1 Partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 2 Mandate and Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 3 Guiding Principles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 3 Success Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 3 Core Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 4 Key Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 5 Core Services / 2010 Programs & Priorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pages 6-16 Special Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pages 17-19 Staff Contacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pages 20-21

Memberships & Affiliations Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) The Southwest Economic Alliance (SWEA) Huron Manufacturing Association (HMA) Huron Tourism Association (HTA) Huron County Federation of Agriculture (HCFA) Heritage & Cultural Partnership (HCP) Creative City Network of Canada (CCNC) Business Retention & Expansion International (BREI) The Ontario Rural Council (TORC) Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) Main Street National Trust for Historic Preservation Festivals & Events Ontario (FEO)


As with the rest of the world, Huron County has experienced the negative effects of the global recession both directly and indirectly. Thankfully, the fall of 2009 and first quarter of 2010 have seen significant activity, indicating that a slow and cautious economic recovery is underway. Many dormant investment attraction files become active again and some of these deals have now successfully closed. Even through the height of the recession, Huron County still had some good news stories with new investment, business start-ups and the expansion of existing companies. Keeping up the momentum in economic development is necessary in order for Huron County to fully recover to pre-recession levels, implement new growth strategies and create new employment opportunities. As a result, the Economic Development Services 2010 Business Plan is focussed on two primary areas: (1) sustaining the delivery of the core services essential to successful economic development; and (2) special projects designed to develop long-term, measurable strategies, opportunities and action planning for economic diversification and growth. Marketing and business and investment attraction for all four pillars of Huron County’s diverse economy (agriculture; manufacturing; tourism; creative industries) remains a pivotal focus of Economic Development Services. A number of brand new and re-designed websites will launch in 2010 that will significantly enhance the ability of the County and our industry and municipal partners to profile and market investment opportunities. The new on-line business directory, ( will also be a powerful new tool to assist local businesses in promoting their products and services. Industry engagement continues to be an important activity of EDS through its partnerships with the Huron Manufacturing Association, the Huron Tourism Association, the Huron County Federation of Agriculture and the Huron Heritage & Cultural Partnership. These partnerships provide for input into the core services of EDS, as well as the development and implementation of special projects. Working in tandem for economic development, the County of Huron’s on-going partnership with the Huron Business Development Corporation continued to generate successes in joint economic development initiatives. The County and HBDC will continue their efforts to seek new Provincial and Federal funding that will allow for additional industry driven projects and initiatives. The Huron Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), a joint initiative of the County and the Ministry of Small Business & Consumer Services, also continues to support small business owners and entrepreneurs will business planning and other services. In 2010, a major project to develop a long-range, comprehensive, multi-sector economic development strategy will be undertaken. The new Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint will be the first strategy of its kind for Huron County and will chart the future course of economic development.


The diversity of Huron County’s four economic pillars is our strength. We need to continue to work with our municipal and industry partners to build on our strengths and ensure that economic development programs and opportunities are planned and supported in a way that maximizes return on investment, growth and employment.




Successful Local Economic Development (LED) is built on partnership. LED offers local government, the private sector, the not-for-profit sectors and the local community the opportunity to work together to improve the local economy. It aims to enhance competitiveness and thus encourages sustainable growth that is inclusive. As defined by The World Bank, the purpose of local economic development (LED) is to build up the economic capacity of a local area to improve its economic future and the quality of life for all. It is a process by which public, business and non-governmental sector partners work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation. Sound LED strategic planning ensures that priority issues are addressed and scarce resources are well targeted. The five-stage approach incorporates: Organizing the Effort; Conducting the Local Economy Assessment; Developing the Strategy; Implementing the Strategy; Reviewing the Strategy; and, Funding the Strategy. Economic Development Services is committed to working with its many partners to take this approach to ensure success in economic development programs and projects. The Huron Economic Development Matters (HEDM) Program was born through the strong partnership that has been forged between the County of Huron and the Huron Business Development Corporation (HBDC). In 2009, HEDM was the recipient of top prize from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) for best Economic Development Strategy in Ontario. Over the duration of this threeyear program (2007-2010), $616,000 was invested in local economic development projects. Over 50 projects were successfully launched under the program, with additional private and public sector investments of $4.8 million dollars. As a result, a total of 501 businesses were created or expanded and 2,649 jobs were either created or maintained. The County of Huron, HBDC and our partners hope to continue the success of this award-winning program with a Phase 2 Program beginning in 2010. Other important partnerships that help ensure that County economic development programs are meeting the needs of our industries include: the Huron Manufacturing Association, the Huron Tourism Association, the Huron Federation of Agriculture, the Heritage & Cultural Partnership, the Huron Small Business Enterprise Centre – and the new Huron Business Leaders Network, created to better serve the needs of local BIA’s and Chambers of Commerce. Coordination and collaboration with the nine municipalities within Huron County are also key factors in achieving success in local economic development initiatives. Many other governmental, non-profit and private sector partnerships have also been developed in order to advance common economic development goals. Based on its geographic size and the diversity of the economy, core funding for economic development in Huron County is very limited. Partnerships allow these limited dollars to be leveraged with external funding and allow provide for a significant return on investment to the County on the resources allocated to economic development.


Mandate & Vision

Mandate & Vision The mandate of Economic Development Services is to strengthen, build, support, promote and diversify the Huron County economy in order to retain and attract business investment, employment opportunities and assessment.

Guiding Principles Collaborative • Professional • Proactive • Responsive

Success Factors Building Relationships Economic Development Services values the importance of strengthening existing partnerships with the Huron Business Development Corporation, industry associations and the business community within Huron County. These relationships are essential for communication, collaboration and coordination in planning and implementing the Core Services of the economic development mandate. Such partnerships are also critical in achieving efficiencies and making limited resources go farther. Targeting the Approach Research and market analysis has identified four economic pillars that continue to drive the Huron County economy: • Food and Agriculture • Manufacturing and Industry • Tourism and Hospitality • Creative Industries Economic Development Services is focused on marketing and further developing these four pillars as part of our Core Services, including the sub-sectors within them such as commercial retail and service related businesses. Emerging sectors within and outside the four pillars are also investigated as part of on-going economic diversification efforts. Customer Service


Economic Development Services strives to provide the best customer service to clients, partners and stakeholders. Even with limited resources we believe that timely, professional, friendly and helpful assistance is the key to the solutions-oriented approach adopted by our team of professionals.

Core Services

1. Marketing and Communication A major core service of EDS is the development and implementation of marketing programs designed to support, retain and attract business and investment opportunities within the four economic pillars of Huron County: agriculture; manufacturing; tourism; and creative industries. Communication with our many partners, local municipalities, industry stakeholders and business organizations is also a major area of focus. In addition to local contacts, EDS is in on-going communication with Provincial and Federal Ministries and agencies - as well as many provincial and national industry associations and organizations to ensure that Huron County benefits from various programs and opportunities. 2. Investment Attraction and Economic Diversification New business investment leads to new employment opportunities and greater prosperity for our area. Through the establishment of new marketing programs and targeted attraction strategies, it is the goal of EDS to establish Huron County as a leading destination for business investment. Significant time and resources are devoted to working with companies seeking to relocate to Huron County, as well as with our existing companies looking to expand their operations. The planning and implementation of economic diversification strategies and projects are also a focus of EDS within the four economic pillars of Huron County. 3. Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) Research shows that the majority of an area’s economic growth potential will come from cultivating opportunities with existing businesses. EDS is committed to working with local businesses and their representative organizations to ensure that they have the support they need to sustain and expand operations. This is undertaken through BR+E studies and implementation strategies, corporate call programs and working with our industry associations to better understand needs such as labour force and marketing. 4. Research and Analysis Whether it be local workforce numbers or servicing information for industrial lands, the research and analysis of statistics and data on a host of areas of the economy define our strengths and competitive advantages. EDS is continually working on the research and consolidation of up-to-date statistics in order to provide the quality and timely information and intelligence required to attract investment. Research for targeted and strategic marketing for tourism is also a major aspect of this core service. 5. Small Business Development The Huron Small Business Enterprise Centre (HSBEC) provides free business information to those contemplating or already operating a small business. This small business support initiative aims to improve the success rate of new business ventures through support services such as personal consultations, a Better Business Workshop Series and a resource library.


Key Objectives

Economic Development Services is guided by five key objectives that drive our commitment to work proactively, collaboratively and responsively. Resources for economic development in Huron County are very limited and often must rely on external provincial and federal funding. As such, the planning, implementation and tracking of programs and initiatives within each objective often transcend into one or more other objectives in order to achieve efficiencies and effectiveness in the delivery of programs and core services. Our five Key Objectives are as follows:

Objective 1 Work with our partners to develop and implement both high level and sector-specific initiatives designed to sustain, diversify and grow the local economy.

Objective 2 Increase and strengthen the business profile of Huron County across all sectors through well-planned, effective and targeted marketing programs. Lifestyle, leisure and recreational attributes of the County are also actively marketed to promote tourism and further enhance investment attraction.

Objective 3 Strengthen and promote the critical importance of economic development to industry and community stakeholders through new and enhanced communication strategies.

Objective 4 Identify, support and develop solutions that influence the private sector and position Huron County as a location of choice for business growth and development.

Objective 5 Continue to strengthen existing public and private sector relationships and identify new strategic partnerships to deliver programs and services more efficiently and effectively.


C O R E S E RV IC E S 2010 Programs & Priorities

Branding A municipal or tourism brand is not just a logo - it the heart and soul of marketing and communication. A brand must be derived from a core strategy for economic development and marketing. Brands must be supported and reinforced by every act of communication with their intended audiences. To this end, the on-going promotion and support of both the corporate Huron County brand and Ontario’s West Coast are an integral part of all EDS marketing efforts. Niche brands, such as “Taste of Huron,” are also actively promoted for specific campaign work and as part of core marketing programs.



Marketing & Communication

Business Database Data is the engine the drives successful marketing and communication. A new powerful full-function business database is now in place to streamline and enhance all aspects of multi-media marketing and communications. This database houses all business data for the entire County in one central location - yet allows for highly targeted sector specific marketing and communications to take place with only a few mouse clicks. This database provides the back-end engine for all marketing related websites and will build all business related publications; one central update to a business listing within the database streamlines and automates the process for updating websites and publications.

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County Sign Program


A new Tourism Sign Program was launched in 2009/2010 as part of a strategic effort to strengthen our tourism brand, Ontario’s West Coast. By the end of June 2010, all County Road entrances into Huron County will have new billboard signs welcoming visitors. New community signs will also be installed over the next number of years. New user fee directional signs for tourism businesses and attractions are also available through this program. EDS administers the Tourism Sign Program in partnership with the County Public Works Department. Phase 1 of the program was specific to County Roads; Phase 2 will investigate partnerships with municipalities for municipal roads.

Marketing & Communication


The world wide web and the many social media marketing tools that are associated with this powerful marketing medium have become the tools of choice for economic development. Strategic investment and funding has allowed EDS to establish the capability to design and maintain website marketing programs with in-house resources. Whether it be attracting new tourism dollars to Huron County, promoting local shopping or working with site selection firms on investment attraction, web marketing is a vital core service of the Division. Social media marketing mediums such as uTube and Twitter are also utilized to help build the Huron County brand and promote specific events and campaigns.


Web & Social Media Marketing

Print Marketing & Advertising While web marketing has become an invaluable tool in economic development, professional quality printed materials remain important for information sharing, face to face meetings with investors and for marketing tourism and other aspects of Huron County. As with web marketing, strategic investment and funding has allowed EDS to establish the capability to design and maintain a variety of promotional publications with in-house resources. From annual publications, such as the Huron County Vacation Guide and Manufacturing Directory, to specialty niche brochures such as the Hiking and Cycling Guides, print marketing is an important core service of EDS.

Research & Analysis Research is the key to any successful marketing program and campaign. EDS conducts sectorspecific research to ensure that marketing dollars are used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Investment attraction marketing is geared towards site selectors, developers and target industries. Tourism marketing research focusses on targeting demographics and geographic areas that are most likely to choose Huron County as a vacation destination. Local campaigns such as “Shop in Huron� are targeted through local media. Opportunity specific research is also undertaken to target potential investors (e.g. artisanal cheese, winery development, green energy, etc.).


Marketing & Communication



Agriculture As one of the four economic pillars, the promotion of Huron County’s diverse agricultural industry is an integral part of all high level economic development marketing programs. The strength of Huron County as a world leader in agricultural production and innovation is strategically promoted through EDS marketing programs. Huron County has a long history of successful agricultural development. With changes in crops and niche markets, the business of agriculture in the County has committed to meeting the challenges and opportunities with strategic activities, welcoming new business creation and specialization. Opportunities are being developed for the production of niche crops for nearby urban centres and specialty markets. EDS is also working with its partners to develop opportunities presented by the development of on-farm energy (solar, wind, biofuels), that give new businesses a chance to take a leadership role in green energy and manufacturing. The Taste of Huron and Buy Local-Buy Fresh initiatives that have captured the imagination of consumers are being integrated into the ongoing practices of the local agricultural sector, giving rise to an increasingly successful niche market for local specialty food production. This is resulting in strong network development between local restaurants, food markets and suppliers.

2010 Programs & Priorities


Continue to build a strong profile for the agriculture industry on all economic development marketing materials and on the website.

Work with the Huron County Federation of Agriculture to enhance their own marketing and communication efforts by assisting with the new HCFA website.

Work with various levels of government and organizations such as SWEA to advocate the importance of agriculture to the rural economy and ensure that both challenges and opportunities are addressed.

Further engage the local agriculture industry with the development of the new Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint to ensure alignment with other industries and identify key opportunities and actions for agriculture in Huron County.

Continue to develop, market and attract new investment through strategic diversification initiatives such as the Huron Shores Viticulture Project, Artisanal Cheese Project and In-land Aquaculture Project.

Further develop local food initiatives such as “Buy Local-Buy Fresh” through strategic marketing campaigns and events.

Continue work with the Huron Manufacturing Association to identify strategic linkages and businesses opportunities with the agricultural industry for green energy such as solar, wind and biofuels.

Marketing & Communication Manufacturing

EDS works in partnership with the Huron Manufacturing Association to further develop, build and promote the manufacturing sector in Huron County. Opportunities such as expanding the Port of Goderich’s deep water harbour and increasing the supply of serviced industrial lands must continue to be supported to ensure that there is strong foundation for growing our manufacturing sector. The creation of a network of strategic cross-sector alliances and partnerships will also enhance investment in manufacturing.


Huron County is home to a skilled, highly valued workforce that can meet the needs of an expanding manufacturing sector in this region of Southwestern Ontario. With access to highway corridors and manufacturing centres in London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Stratford, Sarnia and border crossings, Huron County’s manufacturers have established themselves and are eager to welcome associates to this area, with low-cost land, services for businesses and entrepreneurs - along with the required infrastructure and a life-style that is second to none.


As one of the four economic pillars, the promotion of Huron County’s manufacturing industry is an integral part of all high level economic development marketing programs. The strength of small, medium and large manufacturing and industry in Huron County is strategically promoted through EDS marketing programs.

2010 Programs & Priorities •

Build a strong profile for the Manufacturing Industry on all economic development marketing materials and on the website to assist with investment attraction efforts and the marketing of existing companies.

Continue to partner and provide support to the Huron Manufacturing Association through the Manufacturing Coordinator position with: (1) administration of HMA Board and After 5 meetings; (2) quarterly Manufacts Newsletters; (3) media coverage; and (4) strategic funding applications.

Work with the Huron Manufacturing Association to enhance their own marketing and communication efforts by hosting and designing an enhanced website; business data management; and the design and printing of the annual Manufacturing Directory.

Further engage the local manufacturing industry with the development of the new Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint to ensure alignment with other industries and identify key opportunities and actions for manufacturing in Huron County.

Continue to facilitate, support and promote the manufacturing industry with: (1) Annual Manufacturing Excellence Awards; (2) Workforce Development & Training Programs; (3) School Industry Tours; (4) Apprenticeship Scholarships; (5) Manufacturing Mentor Program; (6) Call Programs.

Continue to work with the HMA Renewable Energy Working Group (RENG) to identify, develop and attract renewable energy manufacturing opportunities to Huron County (e.g. biofuels, biodigesters, wind, solar, etc.).


Marketing & Communication



Tourism As one of the four economic pillars, the promotion of Huron County’s tourism industry is an integral part of all high level economic development marketing programs. The lakeshore and countryside of Huron County offer a diverse tourism experience that appeals to a broad demographic. These experiences clearly match current travel trends, as visitors seek: access to natural settings, clean water for recreation, year round activities, safe and friendly communities and diverse heritage and cultural pastimes. Tourism businesses, attractions and events are strategically promoted through EDS marketing programs. Targeted marketing into the London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Golden Horseshoe continues to produce greater numbers and more diverse visitors each year. Coordinated County wide marketing and strategic partnerships ensure that marketing efforts provide for a greater return on investment. EDS works in partnership with the Huron Tourism Association to further develop, build and promote the tourism industry in Huron County. Opportunities for new product and business development within the tourism industry are also being developed that will lead to further growth. Tourism marketing activities also double as lifestyle promotions that are critical for investment attraction within the County’s other four economic pillars.

2010 Programs & Priorities


Build a strong profile for the tourism industry on all economic development marketing materials and on the website to assist with tourism investment attraction efforts and the marketing of existing businesses. New on-line videos of tourism events and experiences will also be added to the list of promotional tools in 2010.

Continue to partner and provide support to the Huron Tourism Association through the Tourism Coordinator and Marketer positions with: (1) administration of HTA Board meetings; (2) Huron Tourism Newsletters; (3) coordination of regional alliances (e.g. Shakespeare to the Shoreline); and (4) strategic funding applications.

Work with the Huron Tourism Association to enhance marketing and communication efforts by hosting and designing an enhanced website and micro websites; business data management; and the design and printing of the annual Vacation Guide and niche promotional publications such as the Hiking Guide, Cycling Guide, Fishing Guide and other niche publications.

Further engage the local tourism industry with the development of the new Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint to ensure alignment with other industries and identify key opportunities and actions for tourism in Huron County.

Continue to facilitate, support and promote the tourism industry with: (1) Annual Tourism Event & Brochure Swap; (2) promotion of County wide events (The Forbidden Ride, Taste of Huron, Haunted Huron); (3) targeted advertising (print and web); (4) travel media coordination; (5) Tourism Sign Program; (6) attendance at travel shows.

Marketing & Communication Creative Industries

Huron County has a growing list of knowledge businesses and offers room for the continued expansion of this 21st century sector. The creative industries sector will now find fast, reliable and affordable broadband services in which to expand their reach. We know that quality of life plays an important role in the selection of locations to establish a creative businesses. We can attest to the exceptional quality of life that Huron County offers to creative entrepreneurs – access to recreation, opportunities to re-purpose heritage buildings in communities with active arts and cultural organizations. Welcoming countryside and coastline communities, time and room to pursue recreation, arts and cultural passions proves to be a winning mix for our creative entrepreneurs. The County and its partners will work together to support and promote our existing creative businesses - as well as develop strategic new ways to attract more of these types of businesses and individuals to Huron County.


A wide range of economic activities and businesses are included in the definition of creative industries. From innovations in design and manufacturing equipment, architecture, engineering, film, music and software creation to advertising and information handling services and electronic publishing.


As the fourth four pillar of Huron County’s economy, the promotion of creative industries is now an integral part of all high level economic development marketing programs.

2010 Programs & Priorities •

Build a strong profile for Creative Industries on all economic development marketing materials and on the website to assist with investment (and people) attraction efforts and the marketing of existing businesses. New on-line videos of testimonials from people within our creative economy will also be added to the list of promotional tools in 2010.

Continue to partner with County Cultural Services and the Heritage & Cultural Partnership to promote the lifestyle, historical and cultural attributes of Huron County that are essential to the retention and attraction of creative businesses and workers.

Host and design the new website to enhance the promotion of the broad spectrum of businesses within Huron County’s creative economy - and develop an on-line video portfolio of local business success stories and testimonials as to why the County is the ideal location for new creative economy businesses.

Further engage leaders within the creative industries sector with the development of the new Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint to ensure alignment with other industries and identify key opportunities and actions for the creative economy within Huron County.

Continue to support the development and marketing of cultural assets and creative industries through: (1) the Huron County Cultural Plan; (2) place branding (Ontario’s West Coast, Countryside and Coastline); (3) profiles that capture authentic aspects of our communities; (4) an internet strategy and audience focus that includes use of social networking tools; (5) strategic tactics for engaging creative businesses, industries and entrepreneurs; (6) a human resources and skills asset map of the population to be used in business and workforce attraction efforts.


Marketing & Communication



Local First Marketing Campaign Huron Local First is a new County wide program and marketing campaign to raise awareness of the importance of keeping businesses healthy in Huron County. With consumers and local businesses working together, we can achieve a more sustainable economy. Huron Local First will enhance the communities, support local businesses and keep the county unique. The campaign logo depicts a map outline of Huron County with a shopping tag hanging from the northern tip. The tagline “My history, my future, my Huron” was created to generate ownership of the program and recognize how generations of past businesses and new businesses to come shape the Huron County economy. The goals of Huron Local First are: • To compel Huron County residents to “think locally” when it comes to making purchases. • To create a positive attitude about businesses located within Huron County. • To create awareness of the economic benefits of supporting business in Huron County. Marketing Campaign: “It’s in the bag!” is a multi-faceted countywide program to: • gain market share for business and service providers in Huron County; • help consumers save on products and services while discovering what is available locally; • celebrate community spirit and pride through “my history, my future, my Huron.” Blue canvas shopping bags adorning the Huron Think Local First logo are available to purchase for $10 at participating locally owned businesses, local municipal offices, Chambers of Commerce and BIA’s. The canvas shopping bags allow consumers to receive discounts, savings or perks at participating businesses throughout Huron County and promotes shopping locally. Consumers can look online at for the latest list of participating businesses. The website provides for a searchable directory of all businesses within Huron County. Photos of participating “local first business” are rotated on the homepage of the new website. Business listings and discounts/perks for each participating business are also featured on, along with an interview and article to promote the business’ story. Participating businesses in the Local First Program also receive a wide range of perks and marketing tools, including: Huron Think Local First window cling to display prominently and identify as a participating business; Huron Think Local First gift tags to hand out to customers; Huron Think Local First thank you cards to hand out to customers; Seasonal Huron Think Local First posters to display in business location; Supply of fact sheets on benefits of supporting local services and businesses; Huron Think Local First stickers to hand out to young customers


Benefits to Chambers/BIAs/Business Associations and Municipalities include: • Increased exposure on; • The revenue from bags sold to consumers; • Huron Think Local First promotional materials (seasonal posters, window cling, stickers); • Information about downtown initiatives and community-specific shop local promotions • Listing of Chambers of Commerce, BIAs and business associations (linked to websites), events, initiatives and other information.

Business & Investment Attraction

EDS is currently working with a number of medium to large companies in the areas of: (1) Renewable Energy – both R&D and Manufacturing; (2) Training; (3) Machinery & Equipment Manufacturing; and (4) Food Processing. Smaller business and attraction files are also always in process - as well as on-going work with existing businesses looking at potential expansions. There are no guarantees in business and investment attraction. Work with multiple companies may result in one deal - this is simply the nature of the process.

2010 Programs & Priorities


Huron County Economic Development Services works in partnership with the Huron Business Development Corporation and local municipalities to broker deals and connect interested companies and investors with the right available properties, information (e.g. workforce statistics), financing and Federal and Provincial funding programs.


Jobs and assessment growth are the fundamental priorities for business and investment attraction. Investment attraction involves both new companies looking to move to Huron County, as well as finding and aligning new opportunities with existing companies. The necessity for confidentiality in this process is paramount and confidentiality agreements are often required.

The new on-line commercial and industrial properties tool on the website will greatly assist with connecting site selectors and businesses with the properties best suited to their requirements. In 2010 EDS will establish maintenance protocols with municipal partners, business organizations and the real estate industry to ensure that this new tool provides up-to-date property information to prospective investors. This on-line tool will be provided to local municipalities to enhance their own business and investment attraction efforts. •

Strategic marketing efforts to target site selectors and specific companies seeking to relocate or expand their businesses will be undertaken through the new website.

Industry and municipal leaders will be engaged with the development of the new Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint to identify key opportunities and actions designed to enhance investment attraction efforts.

Work will continue with the Huron Manufacturing Association on specific investment attraction efforts relating to the renewable energy sector, such as: attraction and alignment of OEM supply chain opportunities with existing manufacturers; identification of feasible opportunities within each sub-sector and diversification of markets; identification and development of industry clusters and sector-specific feasibility plans; development and implementation of a targeted marketing plan to better attract of renewable energy opportunities.

In addition to larger scale attraction efforts, new marketing and investment related websites will allow EDS to better attract smaller investment opportunities within sectors such as tourism and creative industries. These small businesses may be anything from a new bed and breakfast operation to a software engineer that has chosen to move to Huron County for our lifestyle - yet can work from a home office and still connect with clients in larger urban centres.




Business Retention & Expansion

Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) Provided and supported by OMAFRA, Business Retention & Expansion (BR+E) is a community-based, volunteer driven economic development tool to encourage the growth and stability of local businesses. BR+E fosters job growth and economic prosperity while promoting a favourable business environment. Through BR+E, communities identify opportunities and barriers facing local business and develops actions to address them. BR+E work during the course of the 3-year HEDM Program has been highly successful with proven results and significant return on investment. Subject to funding, work will continue with communities in 2010 to undertake the following: • • • • • •

Complete BR+E projects (surveys) in Clinton and Seaforth; Facilitate and support implementation of projects as identified in BR+E action plans for Goderich, South Huron, Bayfield, Brussels, Wingham (goal: one project per community per year); Engage and support smaller villages and hamlets to undertake customized business retention and expansion activities. (For example, resident surveys to identify shopping trends, community branding, establish downtown revitalization committees, modified business surveys, etc.); Create a countywide BR+E network of project leaders to discuss and address BR+E issues, concerns and challenges, provide support to one another; Host two community of practice forums (1 per year) with business leaders/organizations (beyond the BR+E committees) across the county to provide a networking opportunity for the purpose of sharing experiences and finding solutions to common BR+E issues; Consolidate all of the individual community data and actions plans (7 in total) into a comprehensive report, comparing community-to-community, community-to-county and community-to-province; the report will be used to provide direction for local and countywide economic development strategic planning.

Customer Service In 2008, two representatives became designated trainers to deliver the Customer Service Excellence Program by the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC). Building on an existing OTEC high school program, a new countywide program has been developed to increase the competitive advantage of business in Huron County. (Delivery of this program is subject to funding).

Huron Business Leaders Network


In 2009, the new Huron Business Leaders Network was created in order to better serve the needs of local Business Improvement Associations and Chambers of Commerce throughout Huron County. The ability of these organizations to network on a variety of topics allows for the sharing of success stories on how particular programs and initiatives are working in one community - and how they could be implemented in another community. The Huron Business Leaders Network will play a critical role with the development of the new Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint to ensure that the service and retail sectors are represented through this process.

Small Business Development

The HSBEC also coordinates the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) Self Employment Benefits (SEB) Program. This Program has been operated under separate contract since 1993. This program helps eligible EI participants start and run a business. 2009 Highlights: Consultations: 291 Inquiries: 1,873 Workshops: 53 Workshop Attendance: 564 Businesses Started: 72


The HSBEC strives to simplify and streamline the information required by small businesses operators. The walk-in resource area provides details on business planning, market research, funding sources, bookkeeping, licenses, regulations, and statistics and supports employment and self-employment opportunities. Services promote initiatives that retain opportunities for adults and youth within Huron County and stimulate economic growth.


The Huron Small Business Enterprise Centre (HSBEC) is committed to providing excellent, timely service to all business clients. The HSBEC assists small business operators with their business planning process and helps to establish strategies that enable them to improve their chances of business success and thus increase their longterm viability potential.

2010 Programs & Priorities •

Continue to provide the core service of assisting small business operators with their business planning process and help to establish strategies that enable them to improve their chances of business success.

Continue to deliver and administer the Self Employment Benefit Program (SEB) Program. (MTCU is now accepting applications as of April 1, 2010).

Continue to offer the highly successful Better Business Workshop Series, with over 50 workshops planned for 2010. For 2010, HSBEC is partnering with several community organizations, including the HMA, ServiceOntario, the Huron County Library, Heritage & Culture Partners and the Goderich Chamber in designing and delivering programs.

Continue to administer the Summer Company Program, intended for students who are returning to school, providing financial assistance to start up summer businesses.

Coordinate and host the annual Huron Business Summit (planned for October 2010). This year the focus is on a variety of Human Resource aspects – from recruitment, hiring and training to termination policies, along with development of HR Policy & Procedure manuals.

Continue to organize the highly successful HWIN dinners (Huron Women in Networking) for business women (with an average of 50-60 attending each event); and, coordinate and host Network Huron meetings throughout the year with employment, self-employment and training related organizations and agencies to share information regarding various projects and programs.




Grant Sourcing & Administration The sourcing and administration of new funding programs is a major part of delivering effective economic development services. This is made possible through the strong partnership between the County of Huron and the Huron Business Development Corporation - as well as through our industry associations. Provincial and federal funding is sought to not only provide for County wide economic development initiatives, but also on behalf of communities, industry association and business organizations to assist with their specific projects and initiatives. HBDC also works closely with new businesses and with companies seeking loans and funding for business development and expansion. EDS and HBDC helped coordinate a funding proposal to the Ministry of Economic Development & Trade (MEDT) to provide for funding and additional resources to accelerate 2010-2011 marketing programs and other County and municipal economic development projects. This Communities in Transition funding has been instrumental in accelerating a number of County-wide economic initiatives. Federal Community Adjustment (CAF) funding was also obtained in 2009/2010 for a diversity of economic development projects across the four pillars of Huron County’s economy. HBDC and Economic Development Services also work closely the Huron Manufacturing Association, the Huron Tourism Association and other industry organizations to develop, write and administer new sources of funding each year.

2010 Programs & Priorities


Building on the successes of the award winning Huron Economic Development Matters Program, work is underway for a Phase II funding application to the Rural Economic Development (RED) Program through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. If approved, an expanded Business Retention and Expansion Program will be undertaken in 2010-2012 for a number of communities within the County. Working in partnership with the Huron Business Development Corporation, another RED application is also planned for 2010 focusing on advancing a series of agricultural diversification projects (i.e. viticulture, artisanal cheese, aquaculture).

The County and HBDC will also work in partnership with the newly formed Above the Falls Community Project Inc. to submit an application from this organization to develop and implement programming pertaining to human capital development/training and youth. This new training centre will become the nucleus for a variety of exciting new training programs in Huron County.

In addition to the RED Program, staff will also be pursing an application to the Southern Ontario Development Program through FedDev Ontario for multi-year funding to enhance and deliver economic development activities not covered through the RED Program.

Based on its geographic size and the diversity of the economy, core funding for economic development in Huron County is very limited. Partnerships allow these limited dollars to be leveraged with external funding and allow provide for a significant return on investment to the County on the resources allocated to economic development. The new Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint will develop strategies and actions for the future of Huron County’s economy. It will also recommend the appropriate resources and financing model to ensure that strategy implementation is achievable.

S P E C I A L P R O JE C T S Strategy Development & Economic Diversification

Strategy & Action Planning



Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint In 2010, the County of Huron and the Huron Business Development Corporation, in collaboration with the nine municipalities, industry associations, the private sector and other stakeholder groups shall undertake a project to develop a long-range, comprehensive, multi-sector economic development strategy. The key priorities and outcomes of the Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint are as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Guide regional economic vision; Provide a balanced approach to meet business and community needs; Identify opportunities for cross-sector alignment and collaboration; Enact new processes to foster and strengthen municipal collaboration; Implement business climate improvements to enhance competitiveness; Foster industry innovation and cluster development priorities and investment; Support human capital, workforce and educational priorities and investment; Advance and coordinate infrastructure priorities and investment; Promote and encourage business development; Enhance marketing priorities and programs; Position the County provincially, nationally and globally; Ensure that strategy implementation is appropriately financed and resourced.

Each of the nine lower tier municipalities shall be examined in relation to the sectors and the economic opportunities identified; and, sector-specific, municipal-specific and County-wide recommendations will be made where appropriate. The Opportunities Blueprint, covering the nine municipalities of Huron County, shall support, enhance and sustain existing (and new) County, municipal and sectoral strategies. The Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint will consider not only best practices in economic development, but also new, strategic approaches that meet the County’s specific circumstances, geography and culture. A consultative process to develop the Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint will be undertaken by Huron County Economic Development Services in coordination with an experienced consulting firm. The process will be sector-driven and municipally-driven to ensure the coordination and alignment of private sector opportunities with public sector policy and infrastructure. Consultations shall occur with each of the industry organizations and also with each of the nine lower tier municipalities to discuss issues and opportunities specific to their jurisdictions. The Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint will be a comprehensive, long range strategic plan defining where resources need to be focused in order to enhance the County’s short and long-term competitiveness, create employment opportunities and grow the local economy. It is recognized that there will be additional work required to implement the recommendations of the Opportunities Blueprint. Project partners will continue to work together to ensure recommendations and actions are acted upon and that a sustainable, innovative model for continual economic renewal is achieved.


A detailed Action Plan for implementation of the recommendations and strategies contained within the Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint shall be developed. The Action Plan shall be integrated into the overall strategy document and shall outline the specific steps, milestones and resources that will take Huron County from the present to fully realizing the potential of future opportunities. A process for performance monitoring and measurement to determine potential return on investment shall be developed as part of the Action Plan. The Action and Implementation Plan will clearly outline the resource requirements (human and financial) necessary for full implementation of the Blueprint Strategy.

Strategy & Action Planning Huron Local Immigration Partnership Project

Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) provide a collaborative framework to facilitate the development and implementation of sustainable solutions for the successful integration of newcomers to Ontario that are local and regional in scope. The County has received funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to develop a Local Immigration Strategy in 2010. Members of a new local Immigration Partnership Council have been selected and will assist project staff in developing a comprehensive strategy for immigration and integration that best fits the needs of our communities.

• • • •

To develop a long term Settlement Strategy through research and needs assessment of Huron County’s newcomer/immigrant population; Improve access to - and coordination of - effective services that facilitate immigrant settlement, attract entrepreneurs and business owners from other countries - and improve access to labour market opportunities for immigrants; Strengthen local and regional awareness and capacity to integrate immigrants and newcomers; Establish or enhance partnerships and participation of multiple stakeholders in planning and coordinating the deliver of integration services.


The overall objective of the LIPs initiative is to identify groups that will coordinate and enhance local and regional service delivery to newcomers while identifying and minimizing duplication. Strategic partnerships between service providers are to be created. This new strategy aims to achieve the following fundamental objectives:


Another related strategy that will be undertaken concurrently with the Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint is the Huron Local Immigration Project.

A Partnership Council made up of a diverse range of representatives from the community has been formed to assist non-settlement service providers and the community in developing a greater understanding of newcomer needs and services. The project will generate the following deliverables: • • •

An action plan for the development of a local settlement strategy that identifies key tasks, milestones, roles and responsibilities; A report on the immigrant populations in the community, available settlement services and the capacity of service providers to provide for newcomers; A report on consultations held with newcomers, employers and service providers in the community;

A Local Settlement Strategy that indicates how the following outcomes will be achieved: • • • •

• •

Improvements in accessing and coordinating services that facilitate immigrant settlement and integration; Improvement in immigrants gaining access to the local and regional labour market; Strengthened local and regional awareness and capacity to integrate immigrants; Establishment and enhancement of partnerships that includes the participation of multiple stakeholders in planning, the coordination of newcomer service delivery in the areas of settlement, integration, language training and labour-market integration with a focus on providers funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and or the provincial Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration; Ongoing communication and consultation with local and regional labour market networks; A final report including the following: an executive summary; identification of key findings; substantive activities engaged in over the year; vetting process in terms of the strategy; the actual strategy.


Economic Diversification



Viticulture & Wine Industry Study HEDM funding was utilized to commission a climatic study and assessment of Huron County for commercial grape production (i.e. Vitis vinifera: common European grapes cultivated in many varieties and the chief source of Old World wines). This assessment was conducted by Dr. Tony Shaw, an internationally renowned researcher from the Viticulture Institute of Brock University. The study verified that the topography and proximity to Lake Huron of the inland area where tender fruits have traditionally been grown in Huron County has created several mesoclimatic and microclimatic zones. Dr. Shaw’s report goes on to say that in Niagara, the use of wind machines has allowed the industry to drastically reduce cold damage to vineyards. Effective use of wind machine technology is based on the knowledge of thermal inversion differentials at the time of a low temperature event during the spring, fall or winter months. If it can be demonstrated that the effective use of wind machines can mitigate low temperature events in Huron County, our potential for growing grapes in this region improves dramatically. Three climatic test towers have been established to monitor thermal inversion differentials within the zone identified in the initial climatic study (Port Albert to Zurich). Initial readings from the towers are favourable; however, a period of 3 years is required in order to gather sufficient data for study. The study period will end in 2011-2012. Extensive soil testing was also conducted in 2010 that was extremely favourable and showed similar soil compositions to wine regions in the United States and parts of Europe. Success of this project would have multi-sector benefits in agriculture, tourism and culture. Spin-off benefits of a winery industry could include development of new niche food markets, accommodations development, increases in commercial retail business and enhancement of local lifestyle attributes important for residential development.

Artisanal Cheese Industry Study HEDM funding was utilized to commission a study and investment prospectus for the development of an artisanal cheese industry in Huron County. With a growing market demand for high-end specialty food items like artisanal cheese, combined with renewed consumer interest in local food, this project presents an opportunity to further diversify Huron County’s agri-food and tourism industries. The province of Quebec produces innumerable cheeses, each with its own distinct characteristics and loyal market following. In Huron County, there is an abundance of dairy farms located within 2 hours of major metropolitan areas like Toronto, Hamilton, London and Windsor. These dairy herds produce a superior product with high butterfat and protein levels, perfect for rich, flavourful artisanal cheeses. . Strategic branding will be a large aspect of making this project successful by developing a range of cheeses that suit the unique terroire of Huron County and satisfy a broad spectrum of Ontario’s ethnic and local markets. To that end, the investment prospectus details opportunities for production and marketing of 10 specialty cheeses – essentially what amounts to a new “cheese region appellation” for Huron County. These will not be traditional commodity cheeses like cheddars, goudas, or brie. In fact, international trademark laws are making that increasingly difficult. Instead, the study recommends the development of a suite of entirely new cheese appellations, named after the communities in which they are produced.


The concept is already gaining some attention from potential cheese-makers and investors. Economic Development Services and the Huron Business Development Corporation will be working together in 2010 to connect the right investors with the right cheese makers and engage the local dairy producers.

Staff Contacts Economic Development Services (EDS)

57 Napier Street • Goderich • Ontario • Canada • N7A 1W2 Phone: 519-524-8394 ext. 3 • Toll-free: 1-888-524-8394 ext. 3 Fax: 519-524-5677 E-mail: Website: Staff Contacts: Michael Pullen Senior Economic Development Officer Planning and coordination of core marketing and communication programs; research and development; special projects/studies and funding programs; business and investment attraction; principal economic development contact with Provincial and Federal Ministries and other agencies. Vacant (subject to funding) Community Economic Development Coordinator (contract) Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E); Community & Downtown Revitalization; Customer Service Excellence; Local First. Cindy Fisher Tourism Coordinator/Planner Coordination of tourism marketing and development; lead County coordination role with activities and strategies of the Huron Tourism Association. Jenna Ujiye Tourism Marketer Tourism marketing planning and coordination; tourism publication and website design; media relations and tourism industry communications. Monica Walker-Bolton Huron Manufacturing Association Coordinator Coordination, planning and administration of Huron Manufacturing Association strategies, projects, meetings and events. Mark Hussey Website Designer & Multi-Media Developer (contract) Development and design of economic development related websites, videos and other multi-media. Chelsea Burchill Local First Coordinator (contract) Coordination of Local First and Shop in Huron marketing program and campaign.


Planning Staff & Administrative Assistants Planning and administrative staff are actively involved in many core economic development functions and EDS staff also consult with planners on a regular basis regarding development related matters.

Staff Contacts As noted throughout this document, EDS works in tandem with HBDC and the HSBEC on many joint projects and economic development strategies and initiatives. Their contact information is as follows:

Huron Small Business Enterprise Centre (HSBEC) Seaforth Office: 138 Main Street South • Box 1120 Seaforth • Ontario • N0K 1W0 Phone: (519) 527-0305 Fax: 519-527-2240 Website:

Goderich Office: 56 East Street Goderich, Ontario • N7A 1N3 Phone: 440-0176 Fax: 519-440-0305

Staff Contacts: Alison Lobb Business Consultant 519-527-0305 ext. 35 Carol Leeming Self Employment Benefit Coordinator/Planner 519-527-0305 ext. 24

Huron Business Development Corporation (HBDC) 138 Main Street South Seaforth • Ontario • N0K 1W0 Phone: (519) 527-0305 Fax: 519-527-2240 Website: Staff Contacts: Paul Nichol Economic Development Manager 519-527-0305 ext. 23 Rob Bundy Youth Engagement Coordinator 519-527-0305 ext. 26 Jim Niesen Business & Loans Manager 519-527-0305 ext. 28 Lisa Harper Community Information Manager 519-527-0305 ext. 25


Economic Development Services Our Partners in Economic Development: Community and Industry Partners: Huron Business Development Corporation Huron Small Business Enterprise Centre Huron Tourism Association Huron Manufacturing Association Huron County Federation of Agriculture Heritage & Culture Partnership Huron Business Leaders Network Area Chambers of Commerce and BIA’s Municipal Partners: Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Municipality of Bluewater Municipality of Central Huron Town of Goderich Township of Howick Municipality of Huron East Municipality of Morris-Turnberry Township of North Huron Municipality of South Huron

Economic Development Services

County of Huron Economic Development Services 57 Napier Street Goderich • Ontario • Canada N7A 1W2 Phone: 519-524-8394 ext. 3 Toll-free: 1-888-524-8394 ext. 3 Fax: 519-524-5677 E-mail: Website:

2010 EDS Business Plan  

County of Huron Economic Development Strategy