SSMEDC releases 2018 results report

SSMEDC Open House
PHOTO: Dan Hollingsworth, Executive Director of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, presents the organization’s 2018 results during a public open house event on May 10 at the Millworks - Centre for Entrepreneurship.

What has the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC) been up to? The answer can be found in its 2018 Annual Report. Released last week, the publication outlines the organization’s activity and results generated for the community.

Highlights for the corporation’s Business Development division include:

  • In 2018, the SSMEDC assisted a total of 164 small business clients in their startup. By the end of the year, this activity generated 176 jobs. A majority of these entrepreneurs were supported through the organization’s Starter Company Plus program, which provides entrepreneurs with training and mentoring. As well, the business incubator at the SSMEDC’s Millworks – Centre for Entrepreneurship hosted 11 companies throughout the year.
  • Under its Business Retention & Expansion program, the SSMEDC assisted 31 local companies in their growth projects. As of December 31, 2018, the investments made into these projects totaled $16.5 million, 66 new full-time jobs were created and another 180 jobs were retained.
  • Under its Invest Sault Ste. Marie program, the SSMEDC made 37 formal pitches to external companies and investors. Staff also hosted four foreign delegations and international businesses for inbound exploratory visits. Of these pitches and visits, the SSMEDC closed two deals and attracted a pair of new companies to the community. Through the Invest Sault Ste. Marie program, staff also helped seven local businesses enter or further expand into the exporting market.
  • To generate the above-mentioned results, staff delivered 767 business consultations with entrepreneurs and business owners. The goal of these sessions is to help people start and grow companies. The SSMEDC also handled more than 1,200 general business inquiries from entrepreneurs and owners seeking information or assistance.

Highlights for the corporation’s Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division include:

  • In 2018, the SSMEDC worked with community groups to attract or host 20 conferences and sports tournaments. These events drew more than 6,100 visitors, which generated over 18,000 visitor days and $2.74 million in direct visitor spending.
  • Through the SSMEDC’s group tour attraction efforts, cruise ships docked in Sault, Ontario 15 times during the year. This activity drew 3,000 passengers and injected $450,000 in direct visitor spending into the local economy. As well, 253 motor coach and specialty bus tours were attracted, which drew 12,250 travellers and generated more than 30,300 visitor days, along with $4.6 million in direct visitor spending.
  • In 2018, the SSMEDC sold 2,710 two-day vacation packages and 803 three-day packages. This activity generated 7,829 visitor days and $1.17 million in direct visitor spending. These accommodation bundles feature a wide range of experiences for visitors to choose from, including the Agawa Canyon Train Tour, downhill and cross-country skiing, heritage and culture, golf, and fishing.
  • Under its tourism marketing endeavours, the SSMEDC coordinated 15 familiarization (FAM) tours with visiting travel writers and television shows. This activity generated approximately $500,000 in advertisement value for the community. The SSMEDC also delivers seasonal marketing campaigns to promote major attractions. For the summer and fall, the focus is on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. For the winter season, the focus is Searchmont Resort.

The SSMEDC’s 2018 Annual Report was released during this year’s International Economic Development Week, which took place May 6 to 11. The full publication is available on the organization’s website at: