While attracting external companies and supporting large firms in their growth, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC) also assists small businesses. The organization recently compiled 2017 mid-year results for its Enterprise Services programs. Between January and July, staff delivered 536 formal consultations and helped a total of 45 small business clients in their startup and expansion.
So far this year, 19 firms were supported through Starter Company, which provides training and potential access to funds to help entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses. Funded by the Province of Ontario, the program is delivered in the region by the SSMEDC. Clients for 2017 include: Tombari Electric, The Back 40, Trotter’s Taxidermy, Spark Fitness, Powder Room Beauty Bar, AwakenINK Inc., Discover the Canvas, Algoma 1st Contracting, Strong Minds, Nurture Your Vibe, Light Haven Spiritual & Treasure Centre, The Plant Farm Co., Wood Studio, Innovative Potential Inc., Twisted Tree Maple Product, Lil Kaboose Eatery, Hart Mobility, 4 Boake Creative, and Milne Landscaping.
The SSMEDC’s Enterprise Services team also delivers Summer Company. Funded by the Province of Ontario, the program provides training, mentoring and grants to help students start their own businesses during the summer months. With the season having ended recently, 17 youth operated successful firms. For a list of the 2017 Summer Companies, along with descriptions of their services, visit https://lnkd.in/eBY3nva. In past years, many program participants, including Cavera Inc. and PAC Construction Group, turned their businesses into full-time, year-round operations, which speaks to the success and value of the program.
The SSMEDC delivers small business support programs from its Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship. Located in the Machine Shop, the site is home to the organization’s Enterprise Services staff, along with a business incubator that hosted nine firms so far in 2017, including: UMG Media Corp., Northstar Consulting Ltd., Jeronamo Solutions, On Focus Now, Diverse Computing, Possibilities Group, and BonZa Global Inc.
“We’ve seen a wide variety of firms set up shop in the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship,” said Andrew Ross, Manager of Enterprise Services for the SSMEDC. “We established the business incubator to maximize our clients’ success and to bolster the small business sector in the community. Studies show that after five years of operation, companies that utilize incubation services have a success rate of more than 80%, compared to about 33% for non-incubated firms.”
While assisting small businesses through programs offered at the Millworks Centre for Entrepreneurship, the SSMEDC also delivers a Business Retention & Expansion Program that helps large firms in their growth initiatives. So far in 2017, staff conducted more than 40 site visits to local companies under the program, and the expansion projects now being worked on total $15 million. As well, the SSMEDC team delivers Invest Sault Ste. Marie, a three-year targeted marketing initiative that aims to attract external companies and investment to the community.
“Our team offers a continuum of services to support entrepreneurs of all ages and companies of all sizes,” said Dan Hollingsworth, the SSMEDC’s Executive Director of Business Development. “The end result leads to a stronger and more vibrant business sector, which ultimately creates and retains jobs while generating investments in Sault Ste. Marie.”
For more information on the SSMEDC, including its programs, services and results generated for the community, visit www.sault-canada.com.