Findings in the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs “First Impressions Community Exchange,” a program that sees communities of similar size and demographics exchange unannounced visits. The exchange helps communities to see themselves the way tourists, prospective businesses, relocating families, and non-local shoppers might see them. Their first impressions of a community have a strong influence on their decisions to relocate to or shop in the community.
Rural communities in Ontario, and many across Canada, find themselves in a complicated situation when it comes to population growth, and the concomitant effects of such growth (or stagnation), on economic development. The City of Brockville is no exception. With a population that has been incrementally decreasing or staying relatively neutral since 2006, Brockville finds itself among the many municipalities across Ontario (and Canada) that seeks to create innovative ways of attracting residents and investment, both meant to ensure the long-term viability of the City. In February 2016, the City of Brockville’s Economic Development Department in collaboration with the Leeds & Grenville Immigration Partnership (LIP) received funding from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) to investigate innovative ways to attract immigrant entrepreneurs (and more peripherally, foreign direct investment) to Brockville specifically, and to rural communities/small cities more generally. This toolkit is the result of nine months of research, analysis, consultation, and outreach into the central question of how the City of Brockville’s capacity can be further developed to attract and retain immigrant entrepreneurs to the area. This toolkit is specifically designed to take the foundation laid by the City of Brockville and the umbrella organizations that make up the Leeds & Grenville Immigration Partnership, and move it forward into action by assessing the situation Brockville currently finds itself in vis-à-vis welcoming new immigrant entrepreneurs, helping them to get established, and providing an environment that allows them to remain and flourish as part of Brockville’s community and economy.
A facilitated workshop was conducted with Brockville’s community and business leaders to determine where future strategic directions are required to continue Brockville’s economic development growth. The results were captured and incorporated into the strategic update in addition to reviews of progress since the previous strategy and socio-economic data from Statistics Canada. This strategic update contains three primary components:
- Beyond the 2009 Economic Development Strategy is a chapter dedicated to reviewing some broad directions of the previous strategy and a discussion of key activities undertaken by the City to move economic development forward in Brockville since 2009
- Where is Brockville Now? provides a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis and competitive advantages and disadvantages analysis to identify Brockville’s current assets, challenges or barriers, and competitive positioning
- Where does Brockville Need to Go? translates the results of the preceding analyses into a series of opportunities and action areas, accompanied by performance measures, the role played by the local economic development office (as core or non-core focused), and potential partners to help translate actions into outcomes.