Fostering Investment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

fostering innovation, investment and entrepreneurship icon

Provide necessary infrastructure to foster growth and be a catalyst to attract investment.

  • It is essential to create an attractive environment for both current and prospective businesses and investors to innovate, invest and embark on new and exciting entrepreneurial ventures
  • The new economy will be dependent on innovation to keep ahead of global competition, so it is necessary to foster creativity, celebrate innovation successes, support research and development and encourage new and expanded business opportunities in Niagara

Focused Projects

  • Expedited process for development

      Objective

      To develop an expedited planning approvals process that will increase approval certainty and accelerate the review period with a focus on creative solutions for development initiatives.

      Impact and Outcomes

      • Created an evidence-based evaluation procedure to evaluate sites and determine if they qualify for Premier Site status
      • Showcase Niagara's "shovel-ready" sites in the Niagara Premier Sites section of the Niagara Canada website to promote the Region's competitive advantage in attracting new investment

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      Identify specific sites that fall short of Premier Site status and work with the property owner to increase the site's investment attractiveness. This could include leveraging the Ontario Certified Sites Program for additional funding and advertising.

  • Influence provincial plans

      Objective

      To review the planning policies in the Provincial Comprehensive Review considering the benefits / implications for Niagara, provide site specific examples of Niagara demonstrating how planning policies and mapping impact growth, and make submissions to draft planning policy, mapping and guidelines under the Provincial Comprehensive Review.

      Impact and Outcomes

      Submissions were made to provincial planning policy documents and associated guidance documents: Growth Plan, Greenbelt Plan and Niagara Escarpment Plan. The outcome of this project has resulted in a comprehensive assessment on the impact of provincial planning policy and mapping to the future growth and development of Niagara.

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      The Provincial Comprehensive Review is now complete. However, through the preparation of the new Niagara Region Official Plan, provincial planning policies, guidelines and mapping will need to be challenged.

  • Joint economic development action plan

      Objective

      In collaboration with local businesses, economic development officers, CAOs, post-secondary institutions and innovation centres, Niagara Region will be developing an economic development action plan. The plan will emphasize investment attraction, innovation and entrepreneurship, economic research and analysis, and advocacy to drive growth in Niagara.

      Impact and Outcomes

      • Built organizational capacity related to targeted economic research and analysis and established administrative frameworks and protocols to implement the action plan
      • Conducted strategically focused trade mission activity and industry participation
      • Developed marketing materials to promote Niagara's competitive advantage and support lead generation activities

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      Business case to be developed to incorporate Team Niagara funding into the economic development base budget to continue current activities and include in the joint Team Niagara Action Plan.

  • Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT)

      Objective

      To support the growth of small businesses in rural areas by:

      • Expanding access to online and e-commerce tools
      • Securing significant federal and provincial investment to improve Niagara's information infrastructure
      • Providing better connections for residents in rural communities with online information and services

      Impact and Outcomes

      Niagara is now a key partner in a larger buyer group and will be able to leverage this to attract broadband providers to build connectivity into smaller and rural communities. The SWIFT project has received $180 million dollars in combined funding from the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      Niagara Region will continue to look for funding opportunities to expand broadband connectivity in under-served communities.

  • Tourism Strategy

      Objective

      To ensure that tourism is part of Niagara Region's Economic Development Strategy by:

      • Facilitating discussions on transportation access initiatives
      • Developing a Regional Wayfaring Plan
      • Promoting five scenic routes and supporting event bids
      • Advocating on behalf of industry stakeholders and undertaking investment attraction initiatives

      Impact and Outcomes

      Niagara Region Economic Development has a defined role in tourism that avoids duplication of effort, while ensuring appropriate support for the tourism industry. Some of the major impacts as a result of the collaborative work among the Gateway Niagara partners includes:

      • Tourism Summit held December 2016
      • Niagara awarded the 2021 Canada Summer Games
      • Lease agreement signed by the Tourism Partnership of Niagara for the Niagara Gateway Kiosk in Grimsby
      • Supported bid for the 2020 Brier event

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      Niagara Region Economic Development is resourced and funded to fulfill their defined role in tourism. Ongoing efforts will continue to advocate to ensure that tourism is part of Niagara Region's Economic Development Strategy.


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