Three organizations have joined forces to offer citizens a unique program designed to promote self-employment opportunities. The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC), District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (DSSMSSAB) and Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie & Area (CDC) signed a formal partnership agreement today. The goal of the joint initiative is to generate business startups and create jobs.
“Locally, we have some tough economic circumstances right now and, in these times, it’s important to support job creation initiatives and to encourage new business start-ups,” said Mayor Christian Provenzano. “This partnership will help do that, and it’s a great initiative for our economic development agencies to be engaged in.”
The SSMEDC, DSSMSSAB and CDC each offer employment and business support programs to their clients and target markets throughout the community. Under the partnership agreement signed today, the organizations will be presenting streamlined access to these services through cross-promotion.
“This joint partnership will create a continuum of enterprise services that people can take full advantage of,” said Don Mitchell, President and Board Chair of the SSMEDC. “Ultimately, our clients and the community in general will benefit from having increased access to business support programs and funding.”
The idea for a formal partnership began last year, when the SSMEDC provided mentoring to assist an entrepreneur in starting a business using a micro-loan from the DSSMSSAB. The individual, local artist Darren Emond, found success in his venture and even went on to draw the latest comic book for the heavy metal band Iron Maiden. With this achievement, the SSMEDC, DSSMSSAB and CDC decided to enter into a formal partnership, with the goal of repeating this success story many times over.
“It is extremely important for people in the community that Social Services develop strong and meaningful relationships with economic development agencies,” said Janet Gawne, Chair of the DSSMSSAB. “Providing holistic employment services and supports, as identified in our partnership agreement, creates exceptional value and will lead to greater opportunity and outcomes for people in receipt of social assistance.”
To help deliver the program, the SSMEDC, DSSMSSAB and CDC pooled some resources to hire an Outreach Marketing Coordinator. Jasmine O’Connor began the position earlier this month. She’s jointly promoting the support services of the three organizations using direct consultations with clients, workshops and events, social media, and other methods.
“The CDC has been engaged in a number of innovative partnerships supporting entrepreneurship in the community; at this time, we are also working with PARO supporting Women in Entrepreneurship and most recently with the Nordik Institute supporting entrepreneurship in the Social Economy,” said Janice Beatty, Chair of the CDC. “This partnership with the SSMEDC and DSSMSSAB is a very unique example of collaboration among social and economic development organizations supporting the local economy for the benefit our community,”