The SSMEDC released its 2014 Annual Report this week. Last year, the Corporation received from the City $1,425,925 in core funding, $168,656 in targeted support of tourism marketing, $92,393 to support Destiny SSM, and $73,678 for special projects financed by City Council’s Economic Development Fund. The total Municipal investment in the SSMEDC was $1.76 million. Using this funding, the SSMEDC secured $2.34 million from senior levels of government and the private sector. Over the past five years, the SSMEDC received $7.98 million from the City and used this core funding to secure more than $14 million from other sources. As a non-profit entity, the SSMEDC is able to significantly leverage its Municipal investment, which allows tangible results to be delivered. In 2014, the SSMEDC helped generate 39 business startups and expansions, which created or retained 329 jobs. Also in 2014, activity from the SSMEDC’s Tourism SSM division led to 22,780 visitor days and $3.2 million in direct visitor spending.
· Next week, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie, a division of the SSMEDC, is hosting a major British TV film crew. The visitors are coming here to produce a series of programs based on Northern Ontario. The episodes will be aired on the show The Ultimate Race. The Sault program will focus on fishing in the St. Mary’s River and will include an Aboriginal component. This type of promotional activity generates significant results. In 2014, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie facilitated and hosted eight media familiarization (FAM) tours. This activity led to articles and segments appearing in a variety of outlets, including The Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, and a week-long shoot by the Emmy Award winning PBS show Travelscope. This and other activity from Tourism Sault Ste. Marie generated $578,000 in unpaid media promotion for the city and its tourism attractions.
· Several years back, Jeff Greco enrolled in the SSMEDC-administered Summer Company program, which assists students in starting a seasonal business. With that, the young entrepreneur established Cavera Inc. The business provides creative and digital marketing solutions to clients looking to gain a competitive advantage in a digital economy. Last year, Jeff enrolled in Starter Company, another SSMEDC-administered program that supports young entrepreneurs – non-students – in growing or starting a business. Today, Cavera Inc. employs three full-time staff. And that number continues to grow. The business is now in the process of hiring a full-time Marketing and Communications Coordinator. For more information on the company, visit https://cavera.ca/careers.
· Last year, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie worked with community groups to attract or host 23 conferences and sports tournaments. This activity from the SSMEDC division generated 13,866 visitor days and injected $2.08 million of direct visitor spending into the local economy, along with millions more in indirect economic activity. Tourism Sault Ste. Marie secures these events using a number of methods. One way involves producing leads by engaging with conference and tournament organizers across the country. On this front, last week, a member of the Tourism SSM team attended IncentiveWorks, Canada’s largest forum for professionals who plan, organize or influence meetings and events. While at the two-day forum, a number of solid leads were generated, which should translate into more major events for the Sault in the future.