The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC) released its 2019 third quarter results last week. From July 1 to September 30, highlights for the organization’s Business Development division include:
The SSMEDC assisted 15 entrepreneurs through its Starter Company Plus program, which provides training and mentoring. These firms include: CVA Contracting, RL All Terrain Services and CCM Contracting. Staff provided 166 consultations to these and other small business clients during the quarter.
Through its Business Retention & Expansion Program, the SSMEDC made 40 site visits to local firms to assess their operations and determine what type of investment was required to achieve growth in production and staff levels. Of these clients, 12 formally undertook expansion projects. Updates on these companies and their growth will be provided in future reports.
The SSMEDC secured $785,740 from FedNor and $807,100 from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to deliver a program to help businesses capitalize on national defence procurement projects. This initiative will assist regional companies in upgrading their technology and obtaining the federal government’s “Controlled Goods” designation, which is required to sell products and services to major defence contractors. The SSMEDC is delivering this initiative on behalf of Ontario’s North Economic Development Corporation, a consortium of the region’s five major cities.
Staff delivered formal pitches to three new external companies. One of these firms made a commitment to Sault Ste. Marie and is expected to begin operations by year-end. In its investment attraction efforts, the SSMEDC also facilitated the development of a feature story in Perspective magazine, which focuses on the community’s growing manufacturing and aerospace sectors.
Highlights for the SSMEDC’s Tourism Sault Ste. Marie division include:
Staff secured or supported five events that took place in Q3, including Crank the Shield cycling race, CAN/AM President’s Cup VIP Poker Run and the Northern Ontario Business Awards. These conferences and special events generated 1,090 visitor days and $163,500 in direct visitor spending.
Cruise ships docked in Sault Ontario 13 times during Q3. The vessels brought 2,600 passengers, which injected $390,000 of direct visitor spending into the local economy. To attract cruise ships, the SSMEDC works with its partners at the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Great Lakes Cruise Coalition and Lakeshore Excursions. The SSMEDC also works with cruise operators to develop unique land itineraries for passengers.
The SSMEDC helped attract 66 motor coach bus tours, which came for the Agawa Canyon Tour Train or Group of Seven product experience. This activity generated 8,697 visitor days and $1.3 million in direct visitor spending.
Staff sold 666 two and three-night vacation packages through the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie online reservation system. This activity generated 2,223 visitor days and more than $333,000 in direct visitor spending.
In Q3, staff facilitated two familiarization (FAM) tours with visiting travel writers and tour operators from around the world. This activity will lead to significant marketing exposure for the community, which will be highlighted in future reports. During the quarter, a number of tourism stories were published as a result of previous FAM tours. The articles were featured in a variety of publications, including Forbes Magazine, Golf Travel & Leisure, Vacay.ca, Culture Magazine, and Dog Trotting. These stories generated approximately $330,000 in advertisement value for the community.
The Q3 results report was released during the SSMEDC’s Board of Directors meeting on November 4. To view the full publication, CLICK HERE