Moving forward with Economic Development in our city.

Recently I received an email from John Hankins CEO Mid-Island Business Initiative Website:

In his letter he attached the document below.  I fully support the ideas in this document and look forward to hearing a presentation by Mr. Hankins to the new council.  The practices below are in keeping with my vision and platform for economic development in our city as we move into the future.

5 Best Practices to Attracting Businesses and Talent to Mid-Vancouver Island

There are many articles published on how to best attract businesses to your region. Through a combination of experience and a best practices search 5 approaches have been identified that other mid-size communities have successfully adopted to attract investment to their respective regions as follows:-

1) A Vibrant Central Area and Creative Community
A vibrant central area enables the citizens of our community to act as natural ambassadors promoting our region to their friends and families as they see and feel the vibrancy. A happening central area appeals to all and especially to the younger demographic 20 to 45 who are looking for central walkable areas and cycle friendly communities where they can meet and socialize.

2) Engaged Elected Officials – Visionary Leaders
Cities that have transformed themselves had visionary leaders. “Every smart city programme around the world started with a visionary mayor. No smart city programme can even succeed – or begin – without a visionary and smart mayor.” Uri Ben-Ari (Smart city expert).
Formulating the vision is a Community Engagement Exercise to create buy in and formulate a plan to enable that vision.
Successful cities have engaged elected officials who make themselves available to meet and greet companies to make them feel wanted and welcomed. This was evidenced in 2015 when Tilray shared how much influence the support of the Nanaimo community played in their decision to choose our region over other locations. The following report shows the impact this decision has and continues to have on Nanaimo. Source: Tilray Economic Impact 2015
“Nanaimo welcomed us with open arms and we are delighted that our operations have had such a positive impact on the community,” said Greg Engel, Tilray’s Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to continuing to invest millions of dollars and create hundreds of jobs in Nanaimo pending necessary regulatory approvals needed for our proposed expansion.”

3) Access to talented labour pool
A key factor to successfully attract companies is to provide access to a labour force that will meet their requirements. Universities play a big part in providing programs that will result in a good supply of graduates to meet the
needs of both existing and future employers. We are blessed to be a University City. A Vibrant Community helps to attract and retain the talent.

4) Promotion, Introductions and Economic Indicators
Providing easily accessible and up to date economic information and contacts allows business attraction targets to quickly assess the fit with the community. This is achieved through a combination of publishing and distributing economic data, profiling success stories and easy access to knowledgeable people. A one stop-shop to pro-actively and reactively support business attraction opportunities.

5) A Regional Approach
On the global stage cities are competing against each other from both their own Province, Country, Continent and Globally. Therefore getting noticed is the first step, having a regional promotional approach enables us to appeal to organizations that may still locate close to your city which will attract attention, as like attracts like. Our Region will be noticed by competing and complimentary organizations.

Adopting these 5 highlighted attraction approaches will help to get our region noticed by positioning the Mid-Island to attract interest from targeted industries and companies. With a Vision that has been formulated and adopted by the community and the strategy to get there the structure for Economic Development can be created to enable the vision as structure follows strategy. Whatever structure is adopted it should act as Catalyst, Connector and Story teller for the community.

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