Corporation of the County of Huron
Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint A Blueprint for Building Greater Economic Prosperity
Terms of Reference
PROJECT DESCRIPTION & REQUIREMENTS
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 an Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint for Huron County. The key priorities of the Opportunities Blueprint are: 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 (attraction/retention/expansion, entrepreneurial 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 as follows: a.
identify/verify the key sectors of the Countyâ€™s economy and the strengths and constraints that these sectors and the community must address;
identify and quantify the interdependencies that exist among sectors and identify new opportunities for collaboration;
identify which industries will drive the Countyâ€™s economy in the future, providing the best match for Huron County based on market analysis, resource availability, trends and the vision / goals of the community;
develop growth projections for recommended industry sectors;
define strategies to allow the community to realize the full employment potential of all sectors, including skilled trades, service and knowledge-based occupations;
identify how institutions (local schools, community colleges, job training organizations, etc.) need to align (or re-align) to train and educate local residents in order to offer a qualified workforce and ensure high pay jobs;
investigate the need for a coordinated, proactive and targeted approach to infrastructure planning as it relates to economic development in the County, keeping in mind the individual goals and needs of the nine municipalities;
outline a strategy and process for internal consensus building among local municipalities and the County as it relates to development opportunities transcending political boundaries;
outline a marketing, promotion and positioning strategy for multi-sector business attraction and the attraction of knowledge workers;
undertake an analysis of economic base data where appropriate and as required.
SCOPE OF WORK
The Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint will consider not only best practices in economic development, but also new, strategic approaches that meet the Countyâ€™s specific circumstances, geography and culture. The Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint will address the following key outcomes: PART A: a.
Provide an extensive and detailed analysis of the local economy, including: a thorough economic base study; an analysis of the local labour force; a review of the investment readiness of Huron County, including a summary of the major opportunities and assets, as well as locational advantages/disadvantages;
Prepare a market analysis that identifies community resources, strengths, assets, limitations, barriers, opportunities, threats, gaps, trends, etc. This will include a review of previous research including plans, studies, statistical data, case studies and comparative data from other jurisdictions;
Evaluate how Huron County compares to other (particularly directly competitive) jurisdictions by identifying the situational realities (i.e. internal strengths and weaknesses, workforce, capital and other resource availability, transportation and other infrastructure, sites / facilities, community demographics, knowledge resources, education / training, business climate, technology, quality of life, access to markets, land and facilities, utilities / servicing, etc.);
Produce an internal and external environmental analyses including (but not limited to) regulatory and political conditions (e.g. local municipal conflicts, Provincial Policy Statement), global trade trends, industrial sector shifts, demographic trends, technological changes, etc., identifying how they are currently impacting the Countyâ€™s economy, and are expected to impact it in the future;
Audit the Countyâ€™s economic base (current and future), identifying current and potential industry clusters, strategic alignments and analyze their competitive dynamics within the provincial, national and global community;
Verify existing and identify new key sectors to target for potential new investment in the County; and, identify potential growth areas within existing sectors;
Develop recommendations regarding the enhancement of existing marketing strategies, to include, but not necessarily be limited to consideration (and/or verification) of: key messaging, appropriate promotional tools, recommended approaches, key activities to take place and the recommended approach;
Develop a strategy for business retention and expansion, to include, but not necessarily be limited to, consideration of major objectives, roles and responsibilities of existing groups and organizations in implementing relevant strategies previously developed;
Identify the following: a. Key factors that limit profitable growth for businesses in key industry segments; b. Barriers to economic development (current and future) that could restrict leading edge industry growth; c. Opportunities (short-term and term) that capitalize on the County’s sustainable competitive advantages and available resources, while meeting the community’s goals / vision for the future; d. Gaps between the County’s current position and the community’s goals and vision for the future (i.e. Take Action for Sustainable Huron Report).
Recommend (where appropriate) the inclusion, enhancement and implementation of existing sectoral development strategies previously developed;
Recommend partnerships with other organizations and agencies involved in economic and business development activities;
Provide tactical recommendations required to move the County and its municipal partners from where they are today to where they want to be in the future.
The Opportunities Blueprint will examine each sector to identify the County’s competitive advantages and opportunities, including: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h.
Agri-food and Agri-business Manufacturing and Industry Tourism and Hospitality Creative Industries Retail and Service Natural Resources (e.g. salt, wind, etc.) Research (e.g. health care, environment, etc.) Others identified through the process
The Blueprint will be an inclusive document. The opportunities identified will be sector-driven and multi-jurisdictional, involving all levels of government, business and the not-for-profit sector. PART B: 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. Specific consultations shall occur with each of the following industry organizations: • • • • •
Huron Manufacturing Association Huron Tourism Association Huron County Federation of Agriculture Huron Heritage & Cultural Partnership Huron Business Leaders Network
Consultations shall also occur with each of the nine lower tier municipalities to discuss issues and opportunities specific to their jurisdictions:
• • • • • • • • •
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
It is being proposed that industry and municipal consultation meetings be consolidated into event formats at centralized locations with time allotments given for each municipality and industry organization. Approximately 2 to 4 meetings will also be scheduled with the industry led “Blueprint Action Team” (comprised of the chairs of each of the latter industry organizations) and the Warden’s Economic Development Task Force to review and provide an opportunity for input into key finding and recommendations. Due to its existing sectoral, municipal, County and HBDC membership, the Warden’s Economic Development Task Force will act as the overarching governing body for the Economic Development Opportunities Blueprint process. PART C: 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. Project partners will act as a catalyst for renewal and financial support (i.e. funding). ACTION & IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: •
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.