The following is the full version of NEDC's 'Economic Growth Strategic Plan

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY December 15 08
The 2009 Business Plan for Niagara Economic Development Corporation
(NEDC) is the most comprehensive and detailed plan developed for the organization. It is lengthy because it ties together the Niagara economy with the role that NEDC plays to support and facilitate growth. It is detailed because it is important that the organization is transparent in both what it does as well as why it does it.

The Business Plan is based on and supportive of three strategic documents
approved by the Regional Council of Niagara:  Regional Council Business Plan 2007 – 2011
Navigating Our Future: Niagara’s Economic Growth Strategy 2005-2010 CAO Report 10-2007 Review of the Economic Development and Tourism Function in Niagara

Once the Niagara Growth Management Strategy is in place, NEDC will seek to further align this document with emerging Regional priorities. Beyond that, the Plan will be reviewed and updated on an annual basis, and will continue to reflect the economic development objectives stated in the documents referenced above.
The primary purpose of the Business Plan is to set forth a plan that supports and implements the major thrusts of the Niagara Economic Growth Strategy.

With respect to CAO Report CAO 10-2007, supported by Regional Council
“NEDC will lead and be the significant funder on external marketing (business attraction,
investment marketing) and branding for Niagara.”

In terms of the Regional Council Business Plan, NEDC programs strongly support:

Niagara region will become a prime destination for investment and encourage the
growth of a diversified and sustainable economic base.Economic Prosperity

Niagara Region will have a consistent and compelling message of our interests and needs for the community to be a great place in which to live, study, work, visit, and invest.
Proactive Marketing and Communications The Business Plan both builds on previous work undertaken by NEDC and its partners and introduces new activities to expand the external marketing of Niagara.
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More specifically the plan leverages the existing strengths of Niagara in manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism and includes both the investment marketing of Niagara and Business Retention and Expansion (BR & E) in communities without economic development offices.

The plan also focuses on the “new economy” of Niagara which is undergoing a major transition. After much work and particularly collaboration with Brock University and Niagara College, new economic clusters are a major focus of investment marketing.

The four clusters are Bio-Manufacturing, Digital/Interactive Media, Health and Wellness (e.g., Life Sciences), and Green Economy (e.g., Green Energy and Technologies), all of which have been incorporated into the revised Niagara Economic Growth Strategy.

The plan identifies 2009 initiatives in support of these four sectors while concurrently there is more research being undertaken that will refine the plans in early 2009.

The tourism industry is also undergoing change and competition for visitors, especially longer-stay, will continue to be fierce. NEDC will continue to be a partner of Destination Niagara and support the implementation of Niagara’s Tourism Strategy.

In 2009 the Greg Sorbara report on “Ontario Tourism Competitiveness” will be forthcoming. The industry in Niagara and NEDC will need to take the report into account and make changes as necessary to increase our competitiveness.

To further advance Niagara’s economy through this transition period, NEDC will
continue to market and provide support to brownfield and other redevelopment projects
across Niagara. Since 2003, NEDC has played a pivotal role in positioning the  Niagara
region at the forefront of this multibillion-dollar industry, spurring community renewal, and serving as a catalyst for further investment.

Additionally, NEDC, through its research and intelligence gathering initiatives, has demonstrated that deficiencies in Niagara’s transportation infrastructure represent a serious threat to economic growth throughout the region.

Accordingly, NEDC continues to strongly advocate for strategic transportation infrastructure improvements and
investments throughout Niagara. In particular, NEDC will focus on efforts related to the Federal-Provincial Gateways and Corridors initiatives now under way, as well as related initiatives such as the Niagara to GTA Corridor and the Gateway Economic Zone and Centre, with the clear objective of raising the profile of Niagara as a primary economic gateway to Ontario and Canada.

In terms of marketing, the “NIAGARA ORIGINAL” brand platform, which was developed in 2008, will form the basis of the marketing and messaging of Niagara. This will build consistency and focus in the marketplace, which did not exist previously.

In addition to marketing, NEDC will continue to support BR & E work done by
the larger municipalities as well as work with the seven smaller municipalities, which will include regular “key account executive” meetings with the municipalities, company calls, and individual initiatives dependent on specific needs.

In summary, the 2009 Business Plan positions Niagara and NEDC to be successful within an increasingly competitive marketplace. No longer is it an option for communities to rely on reactive or static economic development strategies. Communities that choose to do so, do so at their own peril. This business plan increases the Corporation’s sophistication and flexibility in responding to the complexities and shifting of the new economy. It accelerates the transition from working as a traditional economic development organization to becoming a more focused investment marketing corporation. Noticeable shifts in direction include:
An increased investment marketing focus on new growth sectors where Niagara has competitive advantages. This reflects the shift which is taking place in Niagara’s industrial structure from traditional to advanced manufacturing in growth sectors and from large- to small/medium-sized employers.

The branding of the Region of Niagara.

Ensuring Niagara’s competitive advantage by addressing major limitations, in
particular those related to transportation infrastructure.

Clear accountability through corporate performance measures.
In short, NEDC is re-tooling itself to more aggressively and proactively market
Niagara as an international gateway and prime location for investment.
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PART I
1.0 BACKGROUND
1.1 Structure of the Business Plan
This business plan is the most comprehensive one ever put together by NEDC.
As a result, it is much longer than most business plans. It provides in-depth background based upon the work carried out over the past number of years and the “building blocks” that have been put in place.

These building blocks include thorough analyses of the economy and its various sectors, early experience in marketing Niagara internationally, a multi-year Economic Growth Strategy, identification of potential future economic clusters, and finally a brand platform to carry the message.

The plan is structured into the following:
Background information - Economic characteristics of the Niagara economy
Industry sector overviews of both the existing economic sectors and emerging
sectors that have been identified and incorporated into the Niagara Economic
Growth Strategy

NEDC 2009 Business Plan - Specific actions to be undertaken by NEDC to
contribute to the successful implementation of the NEDC Business Plan and the
Niagara Economic Growth Strategy

1.2 NEDC Vision and Mission
Vision:
Niagara Canada is a prosperous, diversified, and sustainable regional economy.
Mission:
To promote, advocate, and facilitate Niagara’s business and tourism growth and
competitiveness.
We Value:
The betterment of our communities brought about by innovative economic
growth.

The dreams, aspirations, and entrepreneurial spirit of individuals and corporations
that make investments in Niagara.
A balance of economic, environmental, and social considerations in the
formulation of public policy that guides economic development.
Innovative partnerships and extensive collaboration required to make great things happen.
Great leadership.
Our Operating Principles:
NEDC is a strategy-driven organization. Niagara’s Economic Growth Strategy and Council’s Business Plan lay out the major priority areas that are to be addressed over the next five years. The NEDC Business Plan operationalizes the Economic Growth Strategy on a year-to-year basis. Both documents have been
developed in consultation with a diverse group of stakeholders.
Quality data is vital for developing effective strategies but even more important to those making large-scale investment decisions. NEDC is committed to acquiring, synthesizing, and sharing all information necessary to support good decision making.

NEDC values all individuals and companies that are contemplating major investments in the Niagara region and recognizes the complexity of the investment decision making process. As such, NEDC is committed to delivering
its services in a professional, comprehensive, and customized client-focused manner.

Partnerships are part of everything that we do.
NEDC is committed to financial responsibility and accountability.
NEDC shall be bold and highly visible in the advancement of Niagara’s economy.
1.3 Niagara Economic Growth Strategy
In August 2004, Regional Council endorsed a proposal to bring together representatives of the private and public sectors to develop an Economic Growth Strategy for Niagara. Council identified the Niagara Economic Development Corporation
(NEDC) as the lead agency to co-ordinate overall strategy development. To oversee the
development of the Strategy, Council established the Niagara Economic Growth Strategy
Steering Committee (EGS), co-chaired by a leading industrialist and a council-appointed
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designate. The Steering Committee included leaders from business, government, and
community organizations.

To place Niagara in a provincial growth context, NEDC undertook a comprehensive review of the region’s economic performance compared with other jurisdictions using key economic indicators. Performance measures included regional Gross Domestic Product, population and employment trends, income and education
levels, and industry concentration measures of all major economic sectors. This objective information became the basis of consultation with over 200 public- and private-sector stakeholders. Facilitated SWOT analysis and intensive discussions concluded with the Steering Committee identifying major themes and directions for the regional economy.

The Strategy was presented to and approved by Regional Council in April 2005.
The original pillars continue to provide direction to the development of an
integrated growth strategy for Niagara’s economy and communities:
Build a Stronger Collective Voice
Create a Competitive Business Environment
Target Strategic Employers
Improve Transportation and Related Infrastructure
Re-Brand Niagara
Develop Niagara’s Talent Pool
Action steps were identified for each priority direction. The Strategy was synthesized and released to the wider regional community as, Navigating Our Future:
Niagara’s Economic Growth Strategy 2005-2010.

The Economic Growth Strategy has become one of the primary instruments that aligns development plans and policies of Regional Niagara with the business investment, retention, and expansion initiatives needed to ensure continued economic growth. It provides a framework to guide the economic planning policies and the development thrust of the Niagara Region’s Business Plan 2007-2011 and the Niagara Growth
Management Strategy 2031.

Since its inception, the Economic Growth Strategy has been one of the benchmarks for evaluating the performance of the Niagara economy. It has been the underlying focal point of many diverse events and activities including the regional Niagara Economic Forum in 2006 and 2008, Niagara Palooza in 2008, and recent Smart
Growth symposia.

The development of the Strategy has occurred against a background of provincial policy directions outlined in Ontario’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which includes the Niagara region. The Strategy’s economic priorities for Niagara’s future, and its alignment with provincial strategies for growth, continues to provide assurance to both the provincial and federal governments that Niagara has a vision for its future and an implementation plan that is grounded in an in-depth analysis of its assets, strengths, and growth plans for the future.

The Strategy has become the primary blueprint for assessing the priorities, scope, and financial requirements needed by the Niagara Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with local municipalities, to brand and promote the region’s assets as well as launch domestic and international investment marketing programs for Niagara.
At the Niagara Economic Forum in April 2008, attended by some 200 stakeholders, the directions of the Strategy were re-affirmed. The pillars guiding the action strategy were examined and are currently being refined to reflect suggested changes and to capture new information on the regional economy since the release of the Strategy in 2005. An updated growth strategy will be presented to stakeholders and to Regional Council early in 2009.

PART II
2.0 ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF NIAGARA
2.1
The Regional Municipality of Niagara is located in the Golden Horseshoe Region of Ontario and is bounded by Lakes Erie and Ontario, Western New York State to the east, and the City of Hamilton to the west. Its 12 municipalities - five cities, five towns, and two townships - have a combined population of approximately 430,000.
The region is strategically located through highway, rail, marine, telecommunication connections and trade corridors that link Niagara continentally and to the global marketplace. The Niagara border is the second-busiest border crossing between Canada and the U.S. More than 19 percent of all bi-national trade in goods between Canada and the United States passes through four vehicle and two rail border crossings into Western New York State and then on to established trade corridors.

Niagara Region
2.2
Economically, the Niagara economy is growing and transitioning from a traditional industrial to a knowledge-based economy. It is moving away from an historical dependency on large multinational corporations primarily in the automotive and transportation equipment sector. In recent years the region has seen a diversification of
its economic base with strong growth in small to medium manufacturing as well as other sectors, e.g., in construction, wholesale, health, and education services.

These trends are transforming the Niagara economy and net growth continues to take place. However, Niagara’s overall economic performance, from a benchmarking perspective, continues to lag faster-growing regional or municipal economies. Most of these faster-growing communities are found along major highway systems such as the “401 Corridor,” demonstrating the importance of transportation infrastructure as a key component of economic growth.

Strengthening Niagara’s comparative performance and therefore the competitive attractiveness of the region over other regions requires a sustained long-term effort. This is the challenge and ultimate goal of the economic growth strategy.

The Niagara Economy
Between 1997 and 2006 the Niagara economy’s Gross Domestic Product grew 26.3 percent while the province’s overall GDP growth was 35.6 percent.1
1 Niagara Economic Briefing. Community Benchmarks. April 2008
For example,
growth in the London area’s GDP showed a 31.8 percent increase while the hi-tech, enriched economy of Kitchener-Waterloo outpaced Niagara’s overall GDP growth at 40.8 percent over that same period. The Niagara region generated $16.2 billion of output in 2006, approximately 3.3 percent of the Ontario economy.

The relatively slower growth in GDP is consistent with employment growth. In the 1997-2007 period, Niagara’s employment grew by 12.9 percent. Ontario’s overall growth in employment was double that of Niagara. Again the regional economies in London and Kitchener-Waterloo grew more rapidly at 21.9 percent and 26.2 percent
respectively. Between 1997 and 2007, the absolute number of people employed in Niagara-St.Catharines CMA grew from 171,400 to 191,900.

The wage rates of Niagara’s workforce tend to be below both the provincial level and that of other regional economies. This clearly reflects the occupational composition of the region, but it also provides a competitive advantage for the region in certain occupations.

The growth of small- to medium-sized enterprises (SME) is leading the area’s economic transition, and these companies are contributing to the diversification of the regional economy. An SME is defined as a company of fewer than 500 employees. The very small firm is the predominant form of enterprise with the largest concentration in enterprises having fewer than 20 employees.

Employee Size
Range
Enterprises by Employee Size Range 1999-2007
Number of
Enterprises 1999
Number of
Enterprises 2007
Absolute
Change
Percent
Change
0 7,596 13,767 6,171 81.2
1-4 6,607 6,660 53 0.8
5-9 1,908 2,096 188 9.9
10-19 1,331 1,472 141 10.6
20-49 982 1,049 67 6.8
50-99 286 412 126 44.1
100-199 153 189 36 23.5
200-499 57 95 38 66.7
500+ 32 31 -1 -3.1
Total 18,952 25,771 6,819 36.0
*Source: Community Benchmarks, Niagara Economic Forum, April 2008
Significant shifts are occurring in Niagara’s population; growth is relatively flat and varies across its municipalities. With a total population of around 430,000, the region grew 4.15 percent over the 2001-2006 period. Overall, the region’s towns grew faster than its larger cities, and significant growth has occurred in the western region of
the peninsula.

2 Niagara Economic Briefing April 2008
3 Statistics Canada. 2006 Census of Canada. Population
The Town of Grimsby experienced the largest rate of growth at 14.4 percent during this period.

It has been said that “The Niagara region is at the forefront of the transition to the “45 and over” society.

Population figures from the 2006 Census of Canada confirm this observation as the accompanying chart illustrates.

Total population growth is growing gradually while the age structure of the region is skewed towards an older population compared with the rest of Ontario. Niagara had the fourth-largest concentration of residents over 65 years of age in Ontario with 17.4 percent of the population. This figure is expected to grow to 27.2 percent by 2031.

Growth is occurring in Ontario largely as a result of the inflows of immigrants into the provinces regional communities. Information derived from the 2006 Canadian Census indicates that while Ontario saw an increase of 12.2% of new Canadians since Older retirees, those over 85 years of age, are residing in the lakeside
communities of Port Colborne and Niagara on the Lake. Younger families tend to be concentrated in the growing communities of Grimsby and West Lincoln.

Younger people are leaving Niagara; an older retirement population, attracted by the region’s lifestyle amenities, are offsetting this outflow and changing the demographic character of the communities within the region.
Net migration into Niagara is occurring and leads the communities of Windsor,
Kingston, Greater Sudbury, and Thunder Bay. In 2001-2006, Niagara gained 8,199 imigrants. By way of contrast, London and Kitchener had a net gain of 15,339 and 22,582 respectively.

4 A Competitive Analysis of Niagara’s Business Opportunities Associated with Adult Lifestyle: A Demographic
Perspective. Niagara Economic and Tourism Corporation. November 1999
5 TOP Report. Niagara Training and Adjustment Board. January 2008
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2001, Niagara’s immigrant growth rate was 6.5%. It appears that most of the immigrants are settling in the larger metropolitan centres and this may be attributably to the number of available jobs in all occupational categories.6
Population Distribution of Level of Educational Attainment Education levels in Niagara vary when compared to provincial averages. Niagara holds a significant competitive advantage with respect to trade certificates and collegelevel certificate and diploma holders. This is a strong competitive advantage for the region especially as it seeks to attract a variety of manufacturing operations.
The number of people with university certificate diplomas or degrees in Niagara is 16% compared to 24.6% in Ontario.
Niagara and Ontario, 2006
Niagara
%
Ontario
%
Less than high school 23.9 22.2
High school certificate or equivalent 29.9 26.8
Apprenticeship or trades certificate or
diploma 9.9 8.0
College, CEGEP certificate or diploma 20.3 18.4
University certificate diploma or degree 16.0 24.6
University certificate, diploma below the
bachelor level 2.8 4.1
University degree 13.1 20.5
*Source: Statistics Canada 2006 Community Profiles
2.3
The Ontario Government has created Places to Grow: A Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) that provides clearly identifiable provincial investment targets for land use, urban intensification, transportation, and infrastructure projects that directly impact the scope and direction of provincial growth. Its long-term
implementation horizon to 2031 provides a planning context that will enable both publicand private-sector partners to address the escalating challenges of rapid growth and regional development in the GGH region, one of North America’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas.

The provincial policy and infrastructure development directions with respect to the GGH have clearly been targeted. Communities surrounding the GGH growth centres will become the economic generators of Ontario’s future as they will inevitably attract more people, more investment, and new, higher-valued economic activities.
Public Policy Context-- Provincial and Federal

6 Niagara Training and Adjustment Board. Top Report 2008 P.11
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The GGH policy framework attempts to reduce the inherent disparities that currently exist and will inevitably grow between Niagara and other regions within the GGH if change is not implemented. The Growth Plan has specifically identified downtown St. Catharines for intensive redevelopment (“Urban Growth Centre”) and
recent investments by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade through NEDC to help that city create a plan and strategy to revitalize its inner core is a manifestation of the province’s efforts to create more level playing fields across the GGH.

Niagara is determined to maximize the benefits arising from the Growth Plan especially those that bear directly on the economic future of the region. A number of examples illustrate how business and civic leaders are working with the province to help grow Niagara and Ontario economy. First, one of the most pressing issues for Niagara is the establishment of a Niagara to Greater Toronto Area (NGTA) transportation corridor as part of an integrated
provincial transportation network. Integrated, efficient multi-modal transportation systems are vital to Niagara’s and Ontario’s success and prosperity. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association states that,
“Canada’s transportation infrastructure must develop the capacity to meet the growing volume of goods traded within North America as well as with Asia and Europe. We must put in place the infrastructure and logistics
systems that will enable Canada to become the logistics hub of North America.”

According to the Conference Board of Canada,
“Private industry and all levels of government need to be relentless in
pursuing the modernization and coordination of trade, transportation, and
border infrastructure, including security, as a national priority.”
The NGTA infrastructure project is one of the highest priorities of the Regional Council of Niagara and is a cornerstone of the Economic Growth Strategy. It has widespread support from the business community, municipal governments, and community leaders as its completion will help unlock the economic potential of central
and southern areas of the peninsula.

A major study was commissioned to analyze three elements: economic consequences of developing the corridor; the economic dislocations associated with delaying or not developing it; as well as how such a key transportation infrastructure project might be financed. Estimates of the corridor’s economic impact now provide a compelling business case for accelerating provincial investment in this project.

Second, the Growth Plan has specifically identified Niagara as the future location of a “Gateway Economic Zone,” adjacent to the Canada-United States border, and a “Gateway Economic Centre,” located as part of the southern tier growth areas.

These designations are unique to the GGH and are conceived as economic entities that “will support economic diversity and promote increased opportunities for cross-border trade, movement of goods and tourism.” (Growth Plan p.18) The development of these new assets will drive regional economic activity by expanding employment lands, attracting both domestic and international investment, and bolstering employment within Niagara’s
workforce. Both entities could ultimately become components of the federal government’s Ontario-Quebec Continental and Trade Corridor initiative.

Third, the new growth policy will enable Niagara to address the rehabilitation of vacant, abandoned, or underutilized properties, one of the legacies of old economy manufacturing. The Region is committed to advancing the smart growth and brownfields redevelopment agenda. It has created a policy environment and incentives that are attracting the attention of innovative business and community development leaders.

Major compact, mixed-use residential and commercial restoration projects with densities that support investment in public transit are beginning to dot the Niagara landscape especially in our older urban communities. With the scarcity of development lands in Niagara, compounded by Greenbelt growth restrictions, these urban intensification projects are being built to last.

Niagara’s agricultural lands are unique compared to other jurisdictions in Ontario and Canada. The land base is so valued for its diversity and productive capacity that it has become the focus of special provincial statutes and regulations, land use regulatory commissions/task forces, prescriptive regional planning guidelines, and advocacy groups that are mandated to protect agriculture’s special status.

With the release of the Provincial Policy Statement (2005) and Greenbelt Plan (2006), Ontario has provided provincial policy directions that will impact future land use development, place restrictions on various forms of economic activity, as well as ensure the preservation and conservation of greenbelt lands within the GGH.

Much of Niagara’s productive and “unique tender fruit and grape” agricultural lands are impacted directly by the Greenbelt Plan. Their special status provides a growth context that creates both opportunities and obstacles for economic growth. By placing economic activity restrictions on these provincially significant agricultural lands, farmers, growers and municipalities have limited development potential and will lose the revenues
associated with more growth.

The development restrictions on Greenbelt designated lands provide limits on the economic development potential of Niagara’s established rural communities such as Grimsby, Lincoln, Pelham, Niagara-on-the Lake, and parts of the City of St. Catharines. The reality of this situation has major consequences for Niagara. It means that future population and business growth will inevitably have to be directed to the central and southern regions of Niagara. Niagara Region Council’s approved “Grow South” strategy is a tacit acceptance and manifestation of the new growth directions for the future. Its central thrust is embodied in both Council’s Business Plan 2007-2011 and the Niagara Growth Management Strategy 2031.
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From a regional perspective, the constraints of provincial growth policy have created a situation where Niagara has very little choice but to focus its major development plans on the “grow south” strategy. This new growth scenario will impact Niagara’s future land-use planning and will require building the necessary infrastructure
of roads, sewers, water, utilities, and telecommunications to support residential as well as commercial and industrial development.

In order to grow all of Niagara’s economy, proactive policies and extra investment will be required by Ontario to create a level playing field to offset the growth restrictions that flow directly from the restrictive land use and development policies in greenbelt designated areas.
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3.0 INDUSTRY SECTOR OVERVIEWS
3.1
Manufacturing has been the Niagara region’s most important economic sector from the earliest days of settlement in this historic part of Ontario. A number of strategic assets - the Welland Canal, proximity to major hydroelectric sources radiating from Niagara Falls, and the region’s ability to attract a skilled workforce from European
countries - gave the region early advantages in developing a diverse manufacturing base.

These assets played a major role in expanding Niagara’s manufacturing base. Niagara’s situation was enhanced by its geographic location and its proximity to border crossings that connected Niagara with the industrial heartland of the USA.

An expanding adjacent industrial economy in the northern United States enabled local manufacturers to access buyers and suppliers within a day’s drive. As Niagara’s economy grew, many large multinational manufacturers, e.g., General Motors, the Dana Corporation, John Deere, Cyanamid, Horton Steel, the Ontario Paper Company, assessed these advantages and established branch plant operations in the region. A “branch plant” ethic began to characterize Niagara’s industrial base. Investment in research and new product development as well as sales and marketing functions of these companies remained headquartered in other parts of the world.

Manufacturing in Transition

Automotive parts manufacturers became one of the major drivers of a branch plant industrial base supplying engines, frames, axles, and other heavy components to the “big three” U.S. automotive assembly plants in Canada and the United States. This cluster, located primarily in St. Catharines and Thorold, ultimately became the largest sub-sector of manufacturing in Niagara. For example, in 1989 over 14,200 people worked in the transportation equipment sector, and its largest employer, General Motors of Canada, employed over 9,300 employees.7 The fortunes of this company have dramatically changed both in Niagara and elsewhere. Once the economic cornerstone of manufacturing in the region, the company’s employment level at the St. Catharines plants now stands at 2,700 employees.8

7 St.Catharines Standard. February 18, 2002
8 2008-2009 Niagara Canada Business Directory. Niagara Economic Development Corporation. 2008.
Its growth potential is uncertain given the state of the traditional auto manufacturers across North America.
Heavy primary metals industries became the economic drivers in communities like Welland and Port Colborne. Ten paper manufacturing mills in Thorold and St. Catharines shipped consumer packaging and newsprint products across North America.

For example, large rolls of newsprint for the print media were shipped through the Great Lakes and by rail to such vertically integrated parent industry giants as the Chicago Tribune. A cluster network of tool and die, forging and molding companies became secondary parts suppliers to the automotive industry, and to other sectors, such as
aerospace, helped grow sizeable industries in communities like Welland, St. Catharines, Port Colborne, Thorold, and Fort Erie.
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Heavy structural steel fabricators of bridge components, large oil and commodity storage tanks, energy generating turbines, and heavy construction members were manufactured and exported from plants located in Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, and Thorold.

Specialty steel companies fed the heavy industrial industries of central Canada and the Great Lakes Basin. Local pipe manufacturers shipped large dimension product to emerging energy centres in Western Canada and became essential to the growth of oil and gas transmission networks across Canada. Power- intensive chemical, fertilizer, and non-metallic mineral manufacturers located their operations close to hydro sources in Niagara Falls and Thorold.

The largest concentration of shipbuilding and repair operations and supportive heavy secondary maritime industries in Central Canada settled along the Welland Canal with concentrations at Port Weller and Port Colborne. Aerospace parts manufacturers established a presence in Fort Erie. A small cluster of large and small electrical power manufacturers served the needs of utility and consumer markets from a base in St. Catharines.
For a number of decades these manufacturing companies grew rapidly, stabilized the economy, and provided workers with secure, high-paying jobs. Manufacturing employment in Niagara peaked in the 1980s, and the economic benefits were spread across the entire regional economy.

The cumulative impact of structural changes in the manufacturing sector has resulted in a precipitous decline in employment in manufacturing across North America, with the resulting effect in Canada, Ontario, and specifically Niagara.

Employment in Manufacturing Industries
St.Catharines-Niagara CMA (000’s)
1987-2007
Source: St. Catharines-Niagara CMA
Labour Force Survey. Annual Averages. Statistics Canada.
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
1987
1989
1991
1993
1995
1997
1999
2001
2003
2005
2007

Employment in Manufacturing Industries
St.Catharines-Niagara CMA (000’s)
2003-2007
Source: St. Catharines-Niagara CMA
Labour Force Survey. Annual Averages. Statistics Canada.
Manufacturing Percent of Total Employment
St.Catharines-Niagara CMA
1987-2007
29.19%
24.24% 23.19%
21.60%
19.60% 19.21% 19.16%
17.12%
15.72%
13.76% 13.13%
21.09% 20.09%
18.02%
16.62% 17.24% 17.68% 18.36% 18.02%
16.63%14.42%
17.60%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007

Niagara CMA Ontario
Source: St. Catharines-Niagara CMA
Labour Force Survey. Annual Averages. Statistics Canada.

In 20 years, employment in this vital sector has fallen from 47,700 or 29.2 percent of total regional employment in 1987 to 25,400 or 13.1 percent of a larger workforce in 2007.9 The Conference Board of Canada projects that this downward trend will continue with estimates of manufacturing employment declining to 22,800 or 11.4 percent of regional employment by 2012.10

Despite the overall loss of jobs in manufacturing, the sector still makes the largest contribution to Niagara’s Gross Domestic Product. Local goods producers continue to export their manufactured goods to over 95 countries and 47 American states.

The loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs has had a detrimental impact on the growth potential of secondary manufacturing and service industries. Employment within the large multinational manufacturing sector can be
expected to continue to decline as branch plants are rationalized globally.

A number of firms closed their operations; others simply relocated to lower-cost jurisdictions abroad; while others have reduced operations. There are many reasons for the loss of Niagara’s once-powerful manufacturing base: highly competitive global markets, widespread consolidation and downsizing, declining market share, outdated and inefficient technological infrastructures, a lack of basic and applied research and development, agile and lean manufacturing production methods that challenged the skills of the workforce, and a relatively strong Canadian currency.

However, as manufacturing is undergoing a fundamental transformation, many of the building blocks are already in place to redirect the Niagara manufacturing economy. Small- to medium-sized Niagara manufacturers with niche market products and services are poised for growth and expansion. Smaller, agile high-technology firms, such
as Handling Specialty Manufacturing in Grimsby, Insight Avionics in Fort Erie, CRS Electronics in Welland, and Niagara Precision in St. Catharines are enjoying export success developing niche market products that customers around the world demand.
They are at the forefront of a new Niagara.
Research undertaken by KPMG has conclusively documented Niagara’s competitive advantage as a cost-effective location to establish business operations.

The collective impact of small- to medium-sized manufacturing operations on the regional economy has been substantial and continues to offset declines in traditional, branch plant, manufacturing operations such as auto parts, heavy metal fabricating.

Growth in highly specialized, goods-producing sectors has attracted skilled workers and this enabled indigenous manufacturing firms to achieve market success. Without growth The region has a deep reservoir of  entrepreneurial managers and skilled workers that are creating innovative, enterprising companies that are moving forward creating new products and markets.

9 The St. Catharines-Niagara CMA is the standard geographic reference used by Statistics Canada to report labour force activity in the Niagara region. It does not include data for the Town of Grimsby and the Township of West Lincoln.
10 Metropolitan Outlook 2. Economic Insights into 27 Canadian Metropolitan Communities. Conference Board of
Canada. Summer 2008.
11 Niagara’s Economic Profile. Community Benchmarks. 2002.
12 Competitive Alternatives. KPMG 2006 p.62 in these smaller niche manufacturers, the reduction of jobs in this industry would have been more severe.
This diversification by company size, products, and export markets augers well for Niagara’s future and provides a solid platform to help brand the region’s good producing sector.

3.2 Tourism
Niagara’s tourism sector has developed into an international destination over the years. In the 1980s and 1990s, against a background of burgeoning growth in the global tourism industry, the region faced a number of challenges to retain or grow its legacy as one of the world’s great tourist destinations. The powerful Niagara brand, one of the world’s great tourist icons, was being eroded by outdated, poor quality attractions,
accommodations, and food establishments. Investments in tourism infrastructure, products, and services had not diversified in response to the changing consumer expectations of visitors. Quality standards across the industry had been neglected and the packaging of diverse experiences for different consumer markets had not taken hold.

As a result, average traveler expenditures and length of stay in the region had not shown the dramatic increases that were occurring in other tourist destinations. A new vision for Niagara’s tourism industry was needed.
The local tourism industry and the Ontario government began to address Niagara’s tourism challenges as a major provincial priority. The results came rather quickly. New entrepreneurial directions for tourism, coupled with a strong focus on quality infrastructure, innovative product development, and consumer-focused hospitality services, have made the region a much more competitive destination once again.

Early investments by Ontario in two casinos in Niagara Falls introduced a gaming environment for visitors. The construction of the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort, valued at over $1 billion, had an immediate economic impact on the Niagara economy.

This attraction helped trigger further investments on a scale that had not been seen before. In anticipation of growing demand for overnight accommodation, local investors and property owners, such as HOCO Entertainment and Resorts, began a massive capital investment program that has changed the tourism landscape of Niagara Falls. Soon major hotel chains, such as Sheraton, Hilton, and Marriot, began to be profiled in many of these properties. Quality attractions, golf courses, and theme parks have been enhanced to provide a diverse experience for families and travelers. Investments in high-end restaurants, hotels, boutique wineries, and over 250 upscale Bed and Breakfast operations in Niagara-on-the Lake have changed the character and attractiveness of this historic town.
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The growth of tourism hubs across the Niagara area has increased the allure of smaller regional communities such as the wineries and boutique shops along the Twenty Valley in Lincoln and the golf courses that dot rural Niagara. Increased investments in wineries and culinary tourism properties are directing discriminating travelers to the distinctive “Tastes of Niagara.” Investors can now target locations for new enterprise development identified in Energizing Niagara’s Wine Country Communities, a study commissioned by Niagara Economic Development Corporation, of business development opportunities in the area’s distinctive wine regions. The growth of regional signature festivals and events, the roadside markets and agri-tourism sites, and the niche market products that come from rural boutique kitchens are attracting more visitors to the region’s lush countryside.

Collectively, the investments in tourism and accommodation infrastructure, new restaurants and attractions in recent years have positioned tourism as a critical driver of economic activity in Niagara.

However, markets are changing and the industry must begin to respond to the expectations of more affluent, discriminating travelers. A perception still lingers that Niagara, especially Niagara Falls, is a day trip or short-term stopover that appeals primarily to families with children. Findings from 2008 destination market research13
Niagara’s Overall Image in the U.S. vs. The Competition
6
“Great place for a short/weekend getaway” are identifying trends that will clearly impact how Niagara markets itself as a regional tourism sector. One of the key findings was that the varied experiences in Niagara of touring travelers significantly exceeded their expectations, which is extremely positive.
The challenge is that not enough visitors are coming and not coming for a longer length of stay because of their limited awareness and knowledge of the breadth and variety of Niagara experiences across the entire region.
Source: Niagara Visitor and Image Research, Longwoods International, July 2008
13 Longwoods International, Niagara Visitor and Image Research, July 2008.
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Niagara’s Overall Image in the U.S. vs. The Competition
5
“Great place for a longer vacation”
Source: Niagara Visitor and Image Research, Longwoods International, July 2008
Source: Niagara Visitor and Image Research, Longwoods International, July 2008
Niagara’s Product Strengths vs. Image in the U.S.
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Source: Niagara Visitor and Image Research, Longwoods International, July 2008
A second theme underscores the need to broaden the appeal of Niagara and offer more varied and exciting destination experiences to discriminating adults. Travelers do not appear to be aware of the scope of the region’s tourism products or experiences, especially those that would appeal to adults. Packaging Niagara’s tourism offerings over a number of days that include discovery and exciting venues for adults would appear to
be a required direction for the future that could build upon the positive perceptions that actual visitors already have of Niagara.
Niagara’s post-secondary institutions, led by Niagara College, have realigned their educational priorities with significant investments in tourism and hospitality training and infrastructure. With support from industry partners, the college has restructured its facilities, programs, and established specialized “centres of excellence,” such as the Niagara Culinary Institute and the Tourism Industry Development Centre in Niagara Falls.

Since 2000, the high point of tourism in Niagara and Canada, the industry sector has experienced a decline in market share of international travel and expenditures. This situation is largely attributable to recent geo-political upheavals, SARS and related health concerns for travelers, travel restrictions into and out of the United States, a slowdown in North American economic activity, increased travel costs, and a rise in the value of Canadian currency. These factors are currently having a dramatic impact on the Niagara and Ontario tourism sector.

However, industry leaders are optimistic that the tourism industry will rebound with enhanced, attractive products and services for travelers and will continue to be one of the major drivers of the regional economy.
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Given the scope and diversity of recent investments in the tourism sector, Niagara is poised to realize one of its strategic goals for the tourism sector - to become a highyield, year-round tourism destination for domestic and international visitors. A new Niagara Convention and Civic Centre, under development in Niagara Falls, will open up new markets and revenue streams for the region. Its completion will enable Niagara to compete for mass entertainment venues, conventions, as well as large consumer and trade shows.

While Niagara has experienced significant turnaround in developing tourism infrastructure, products, and services, there remain challenges that have to be faced. Repositioning the region as a sustainable, multi-day, attractive destination for travelers is needed. Foremost among these challenges, according to current traveler research, is the need to develop a consistent, focused, and intensive marketing effort for Niagara in terms
of what is being marketed. This indicates the need for a major shift in marketing emphasis and a re-branding of the entire Niagara area as a destination.
3.3
Niagara has a unique configuration of natural features, soil classifications, and climatic conditions. This combination of attributes has enabled the growth of a diverse range of agricultural commodities and economic enterprises and positioned Niagara as one of the leading agricultural areas in Ontario. Agriculture products and regional agribusinesses are industry sectors that have the potential to contribute to the restructuring of the local economy, attract new investment, and create new jobs.

Niagara’s commitment to developing a sustainable and profitable agricultural industry is unequivocal, focused, and grounded in a protective regulatory environment, as the following vision statement for agriculture attests:
"Agriculture in Niagara is a diverse, multi-faceted industry based on a very special, limited, non-renewable resource created by a unique combination of physiography, soil, location and climate. The strength, stability and diversity of industry are recognized and will be promoted and protected so it can continue to grow and evolve for the benefit of present and future generations.”

Niagara Regional Council May 2004
Agriculture and Agribusiness
Niagara continues to build on the momentum associated with the release of Regional Council’s Regional Agricultural Economic Impact Study14and Navigating Our Future: Niagara’s Economic Growth Strategy 2005-2010.15 These reports, along with others,16 14Regional Agriculture Economic Impact Study. Regional Municipality of Niagara. July 2003.
15Navigating Our Future: Niagara’s Economic Growth Strategy 2005-2010. Niagara Economic Development
Corporation. 2005. document the positive economic performance of Niagara’s agricultural
16 Building on the Momentum: A Competitive Analysis of Industries in the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

Niagara
Economic & Tourism Corporation. December 2001 and Securing a Legacy for Niagara‘s Agricultural Land: A Vision
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commodity sectors in recent years as well as the potential for further expansion, especially within the agribusiness industries across the region.
Niagara’s agricultural output has changed rather significantly over the past two decades. The overall growth in agricultural farm-gate receipts has risen from a cumulative output of $256.55 million in 1986 to a base that exceeded $671 million in 2006.
17
The Niagara greenhouse industry has grown steadily to become the most important single sector of the regional agricultural economy. With over 22.1 million sq. ft. of growing space under glass or plastic and with 250 Niagara operators producing floral and vegetable products, Niagara’s growers make a major contribution to the $3.9
billion economic impact that the greenhouse industry has on the Ontario economy. The high quality of agricultural output is reflected in the value of the gross farm receipts which, comparatively, exceeds the output of most other jurisdictions in Ontario.

Although not a major contributor to Niagara’s Gross Domestic Product, estimated to be only 2.0 percent of its total, nevertheless the region’s 6,400 workers are a highly productive sector of the regional economy.

Two sectors of the agricultural economy are especially significant in terms of their contribution to the regional economy.
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The Ontario wine industry has seen significant growth over the 1997-2007 period.
A recently released report by KPMG In addition, Niagara boasts a substantial infrastructure of mature secondary
agribusinesses that supports the larger North American greenhouse industry. Greenhouse manufacturers, equipment and service suppliers, wholesalers, financial and marketing organizations, and training institutions offer a cluster of services to growers. The potential for expanding and developing new greenhouse products for new consumer markets within Canada, and especially in the United States, has yet to be fully realized.

Niagara is the heartland of the Canadian grape and wine industry. With over 80 percent of the nation’s cool climate viticulture acreage, Niagara is Canada’s premiere grape-growing area. Regional farmers are planting more acreage in grapes with more and different varieties coming on stream. Capital investments in lands, plant, and technology continue to re-enforce Niagara’s reputation as the leading wine-producing region in Canada. Home to one of the emerging great wine areas of the world, Niagara’s 100 wineries and smaller cottage operations are producing some of the world’s most soughtafter wines including a variety of internationally recognized “Ice Wines.”
19
from One Voice, The Regional Chair’s Agricultural Task Force Report. 2001; Agricultural Action Plan, The Regional Chair’s Agricultural Task Force Report. 2006.

17 2006 Census of Agriculture. Statistics Canada
18 Greenhouses Grow Ontario. An Economic Impact Study of the Greenhouse Industry in Ontario. The Ontario
Greenhouse Alliance. 2006
19 KPMG. Executive Summary-Study of the Ontario Economic Impact Content of Ontario Wines vs Foreign Wines and Ontario VQA Wines vs Ontario Cellared-in-Canada (CIC)Wines. September 2008 highlights the growth and economic impact of the industry that document increases in the number of wineries, the value and amount of Ontario grape purchases ($21.9 million to $64.4 million), winery volume sales (39.4 million litres to 62.4 million litres), average FOB prices and the amount of taxes paid to governments.

Total employment in the industry has grown from approximately 4,700 in 1997 to over 6,900 in 2007. The total value-added contribution to the Ontario economy from the wine industry is estimated to be in excess of $529 million, up from $202 million in 1997.
A distinctive Niagara Wine Route guides visitors through the many wineries nestled in the small towns and rural areas of Niagara. New initiatives to support the industry, such as a Wine Country Enhancement program, are targeted to new economic growth and invite investment in complementary businesses at designated hubs along the route.

The Niagara wine industry has assumed a pre-eminent role in developing new wine products, profitable enterprise opportunities, quality standards, export markets, and signature, year-round, wine-related festivals and events.
Other agricultural sectors continue to diversify and strengthen the rural regional economy - poultry, dairy products, grains, and tender fruit.

There are significant challenges on the horizon for Niagara’s agricultural sector that are directly linked to Ontario’s policy directions for future provincial growth and land use. Ontario has recognized that Niagara represents a unique convergence of a regional agriculture and agribusiness sector. It tacitly acknowledges that the economic
development landscape has become quite complex and interwoven with provincial growth priorities and the specific program directions of a number of ministries.

The export potential of crops destined for markets in the United States, such as greenhouse floral products and vegetables, and even manufactured products such as fabricated greenhouses, ventilation and irrigation systems continues to be adversely affected by a strong Canadian currency, energy and transportation costs, and border
requirements.

The recent closure of CanGro, a multinational fruit and vegetable processing plant, and Cadbury Schweppes, a foreign-owned processor of juice grapes, has reduced the number of large-scale processing operations except for smaller cottage industry producers.

There is a strong demand for food processors within the region that has yet to be met. The “buy local” movement is becoming increasingly supported by consumers and provides Niagara with substantial opportunities in the future.

These opportunities require action and creative solutions as the expansion and
diversification of Niagara’s agriculture and agribusiness sector is a cornerstone of the
region’s strategy for the future.
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3.4 Business Services
Niagara’s multi-faceted service economy has kept pace with growth trends at the provincial and national levels. Overall employment growth in regional services has helped offset declines in the historically important goods producing sector of the economy, notably in the manufacturing sector.

Total average annual employment in all sectors of the service economy in the Niagara-St.Catharines CMA has grown from 99,600 in 1987 to 147,400 in 2007, an increase of nearly 48,000 workers over the last 20-year period. By way of contrast, average annual employment in the goods-producing sector including manufacturing,
construction, utilities, agriculture, and the primary resource industries declined from 62,100 to 46,100 in the same period, as illustrated in the chart below.
Growth in Niagara’s service-producing sectors has been uneven over the past two decades. A number of sectors have remained relatively static during this period. The diverse trade sector, with regional employment averaging about 30,000 over the last five years has grown by 5 percent. Average employment in transportation and warehousing has remained just over 7,000, with some peaks and valleys over the 20-year span.

Expected future growth in the logistics sector, as a result of the construction of the Niagara to GTA corridor and the development of the Gateway Economic Zone, will likely increase the number of companies in warehousing, distribution, and freight forwarding in the Niagara Falls/Fort Erie border areas.

The finance, insurance, real estate and leasing sectors have decreased slightly from 1987, but it continues to employ about 8,000 in 2007.
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Some sectors in the service sector have shown more robust growth reflecting structural changes in the regional economy. Public administration employment has increased from 4,500 to 7,700, or 71 percent since 1987, reflecting the presence of four levels of government within the region, including concentrations of federal employment in security and customs agencies at the region’s major border crossings.

Select Service Producing Sectors
0
5
10
15
20
25
1987 1991 1995 1999 2003 2007
Niagara-St. Catharines CMA 1987-2007
Business, Building and
Other Support Services
Professional, Scientific
and Technical Services
Health Care and Social Assistance
Information, Culture and Recreation

Statistics Canada – Labour Force Survey, 1987-2007
As the above chart indicates, employment in the professional, scientific, and technical service sector has more than doubled to over 7,600 highly skilled workers from a base of 3,200 in 1987. This sector captures many of the new enterprises that are changing the region’s business landscape including independent entrepreneurs who
operate alone or employ fewer than five employees. It also includes professional engineering and software specialists, research and development experts, and specialized staff working for major consulting firms.

Large increases in average annual employment have characterized other service sectors. Employment in the information, culture, and recreation sectors has grown well beyond provincial concentrations over the past two decades, from 5,400 to over 13,800.

This dramatic increase reflects the significant growth occurring in call centre operations and the gaming establishment workforce. It also mirrors growth in telecommunications, publishing, as well as the artists, writers, and performers associated with the cultural arts.

Annual employment growth has risen from 16,000 in 1987 to over 22,200 in 2007 in health care and social assistance services, notably in home health care services, outpatient care centres, medical and diagnostic laboratories, health professions, and other health care practitioners. Growth in these sectors has been steady and will likely increase as demographic shifts in the regional population increases the concentration of early
retirees and seniors in our communities with attending need for more extensive health care services.

Business, building, and other support services currently employ over 11,200, a significant increase over a much smaller workforce of 3,200 in 1987. This sector includes a diverse range of business services including waste management and remediation services, investigation and security services, facilities support services,
employment services, travel and recreation services, and other business services.

The workforce in education services, including employment at Brock University, Niagara College, the two boards of education, and private trade schools has grown from 9,700 in 1987 to 12,400 in 2007. The net increase reflects workforce growth in the postsecondary institutions, relatively flat growth in elementary and secondary education, and the emergence of non-traditional, trade-related private training enterprises.
3.5
The culture, arts, and heritage sectors of the economy are significant contributors to the economic performance of Canada’s national and regional economies. As a focus of economic activity, the role of the cultural sector in creating employment, building social cohesion, and improving quality of life cannot be underestimated.
Research findings recently released by the Conference Board of Canada have highlighted the economic importance of the creative economy as of 2007.

Culture
“The Conference Board of Canada estimates that the real value-added output by culture sector industries totalled $46 billion in 2007, approximately 3.8 percent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The economic footprint of the cultural sector is much larger, when accounting for combined direct, indirect, and induced effects. The Conference Board calculates thus full contribution was valued at $84.6 billion, about 7.4 percent of total real GDP, in 2007.”20

This national base of economic activity accounted for 1.1 million jobs in 2007.
Richard Florida, the renowned futurist who was a major presenter at the 2008
Niagara Palooza is steadfast in his belief that a dynamic regional cultural arts sector provides the impetus for stimulating creativity generally, attracting innovative and creative people who want to live, work, and invest in an area, as well as helping brand a region with a vibrant sense of place. He believes that Niagara has all the assets and talent needed to form the nucleus of a strong arts and culture-based economic cluster.

Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy. Conference Board of Canada. August 2008. p.5

Culture, arts, and heritage sectors have been a significant part of the Niagara’s economy with deep roots in its bi-national history, its centres for the performing arts such as the Shaw Festival, and a host of community theatres, its museums, nationally designated historical sites and forts, its heritage and re-enactment societies, its musical
festivals, and its links to the high-profile wine industry.

We know through direct experience that the cumulative economic impact of data on the culture, arts, and heritage sectors is substantial although specific regional data on the economic impact is quite sparse. Previous research on this subject reveals, however, a higher concentration of employment in the cultural arts in Niagara.

A Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council has been established to assume a leadership role in promoting celebratory projects, activities, and events related to the War of 1812. Operating as an inclusive volunteer organization, the Council is providing overall guidance and direction to the many bi-national organizations that will launch commemorative events and activities that relate to 1812 and underscore the lasting friendship that has evolved between Canada and the U.S. Momentum is building among New initiatives are under way in Niagara to bolster the cultural, arts, and heritage sectors. These projects are underpinning new growth options for the future and reflect priorities identified in the regional economic strategy. Three examples will highlight new directions that will help change the creative landscape of the region.

Brock University has plans to build or renovate facilities in downtown St. Catharines to provide new amenities for its School for the Fine and Performing Arts. This alone is an estimated $30 million project. It is predicated upon the City of St. Catharines building a Niagara Centre for the Arts facility physically integrated with the new facility for Brock’s school. The programming of the Brock Centre for the Arts would move from the main campus to the new Niagara Centre for the Arts. The Niagara Centre for the Arts would also provide a venue for many regional and visiting arts and performance groups, including the Niagara Symphony Orchestra, the Niagara Chorus, and others. The feasibility study, soon to be completed, will establish the parameters and estimated cost of the Niagara Centre for the Arts. It is also the intent of the university that Brock’s School for the Fine and Performing Arts will in its new location develop extensive additional partnerships with a growing cluster of arts and entertainment industries, especially enterprises in the area of interactive media.

“Project Niagara,” a joint initiative to create a permanent site for an annual seasonal music festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake has captured the imagination of music lovers. A plan to offer summer music productions by combining the orchestras of the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has moved into
feasibility assessment. The proposed centre would bring top-calibre talent, visiting artists, and travelers into the region. It would showcase Niagara to the world and have an economic impact on the region’s tourism and entertainment facilities.

Building on the Momentum: A Competitive Analysis of Industries in the Regional Municipality of Niagara. Niagara
Economic and Tourism Corporation. December 2001 organizations in Ontario and Western New York including Aboriginal and Native American communities; museums, forts, and heritage societies; universities, colleges, and
other educational sectors; private business; and media to ensure that the anniversary will engage many regional volunteers, create a high level of community awareness, attract visitors over a two-year period, and create a tangible memorial legacy that will remain as a symbol of the Bicentennial celebration.

Collectively the culture, arts, and heritage sectors are alive with innovative projects, festivals, and events that celebrate creative pursuits, generate wealth-creating activities, and contribute to making Niagara an attractive destination for the discriminating traveler.
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4.0 EMERGING INDUSTRY CLUSTERS
4.1 Harnessing Niagara’s Higher Education System
Canada and essentially all industrialized nations are facing unprecedented
challenges resulting from economic growth, technological innovation, and accelerating workforce retirements. The competition for talented workers with the right combination of skills and work ethic is intense, global in its scope, and a primary focus of economic development in most growing regions of the country. The reasons are self-evident and indisputable - the link between a county’s higher education system, the excellence of its infrastructure and economic development is direct and fundamental.

With international competition forcing regional economies to dramatically increase productivity in all sectors, the pace of innovation and the creation and rapid diffusion of new ideas, products, and services has quickened. This advancement cannot occur without the focused engagement of post-secondary institutions as economic partners.

Niagara is at a critical juncture in the transformation of its economy where it must maximize the innovative capacity, intellectual assets, and talent pools of Brock University and Niagara College. More than ever, the region needs to maintain and strengthen the basic and applied research and economic development capacity of this
higher education system to help local industries, occupations, and communities prepare for a different future.

“The winning societies in the 21st century will be those that, like Ontario, invest in aggressive innovation agendas that build on the talent and creativity of their people.” (Seizing Global Opportunities: Ontario’s Innovation Agenda)

Both Brock University and Niagara College are responding with focused support to play a vital role in developing the economic foundations for Niagara’s future. They are determined to develop the skills and talent pools that create entrepreneurial activity as well as build the collaborative partnerships with industry that can convert opportunities into new forms of economic activity. Leaders of both institutions have declared their support and continue to invest in and develop the right mix of educational resources that will enable Niagara to compete
for investment, industries, and jobs. Each institution has a unique contribution to make to the diversification of Niagara’s economy.

4.2 Economic Cluster Development
Developing and maximizing the potential of industry clusters has become a priority in shaping the economic future of many Ontario communities. Clusters are more than a group of leading industries in an industry sector. Similar industries must be able to leverage an integrated supplier base that provides essential materials, information,
technologies. Clusters must also be able to access shared local human resources, appropriate physical infrastructure, unique research and development, and financing.

These inter-relationships are depicted in the figure below.
Niagara has multiple distinctive economic clusters that are recognized for their capacity to support growth and a sustainable, mixed economy. These include tourism and hospitality services, the greenhouse floriculture and vegetable industry; Niagara’s wineries; customs and brokerage services; and automotive parts industries.
Stimulating the growth of innovative, diversified economic clusters is directly imbedded in Niagara’s economic strategy and implementation plans for the future.22
4.2.1
This vision and development agenda is also aligned with the policy directions and priorities of Ontario, area municipalities, institutional and industry partners.

The revised economic strategy specifically seeks to direct investment and development to expand the base of companies around the following emerging strategic industry clusters. For the implementation of the strategy to be successful, the building of ongoing international relationships will be required through missions and trade shows
that are fully supported by regional and municipal leaders.

Bio-products Manufacturing
Assessments of Niagara’s assets and competitive strengths related to bio-product manufacturing development have confirmed the underlying potential of this sector locally. Directions identified for Niagara in the Golden Horseshoe Biosciences Network’s

22 Navigation Our Future: Niagara’s Economic Growth Strategy. 2005-2010. Niagara Economic Development
Corporation April 2005. proposed development agenda suggest significant potential for value-added enterprise
development in the sector.

With established cluster specialization already developing in the “Carbohydrate Valley” in Port Colborne, a new Vineland Research and Innovation Centre for the agriculture industry, and a growing number of Niagara-based bio-product manufacturers such as Norgen Biotek Corporation, Biolyze Pharma, and Casco Inc., the region is
positioned to exploit the benefits of bio-product advancement.

Ongoing research at Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, its proposed Centre of Innovation for Bio-manufacturing, and its strong sciencebased programs will provide a vibrant centre of research excellence to stimulate growth in this emerging cluster. Niagara College’s applied research skills in agriculture, its new wine products and development initiatives at its Niagara College Teaching Winery, and its established reputation as a centre for advanced manufacturing education and training will help foster the growth of bio-product manufacturing throughout Niagara.
4.2.2
The success of a number of local interactive media companies, such as Silicon Knights and Digital Media, attest to the potential for business expansion and growth in one of Ontario’s priority industry sectors. Advancing cluster development in this emerging field opens up unparalleled opportunities for micro-enterprise development in
such fields as interactive design, 3D modeling for animation and games, digital film and video, computer gaming, Web casting, and other specializations.

The creation of a dedicated Niagara Interactive Media Generator (nGEN) training facility and business incubator in downtown St. Catharines will create a pool of expertise and entrepreneurial talent drawn from post-secondary education and industry leaders that will enable graduates to develop satisfying careers and new business locally.

Learnings
from nGen can serve as a foundation for expanded international or other incubators that position Niagara as a unique location for entrepreneurs and SMEs Other partnerships will be leveraged, such as with the Centre for Advanced Visualization at the College’s Glendale Campus, that will strengthen and help grow other creative alliances in advanced, interactive visualization technologies.

Digital/Interactive Media
4.2.3 Health and Wellness
A heightened consciousness concerning personal fitness and healthy lifestyle in all age groups have helped spur growth in selected industry sectors and occupations related to health care, residential care facilities, active recreation, and nutrition. These sectors have emerged as regional economic drivers in the last decade and are destined to experience growth in the future.

“The Niagara Health and Biosciences Research Complex along with the Centre of Innovation for Biomanufacturing will change the face of manufacturing in Ontario by creating a new economic cluster in biomanufacturing and health and wellness in Niagara.” Jack N. Lightstone, President, Brock University

Brock University’s new signature Health and Biosciences Research Complex, which will house the Centre of Innovation for Biomanufacturing, will actually serve the development of three proposed cluster areas:

Biomanufacturing, Green Industry processes, and Health and Wellness. This $90 million project, a multi-purpose facility funded by Ontario, Canada, and private donors, will be the centrepiece of the university’s commitment to stimulate the region’s emerging knowledge-based economies.

A Health and Wellness Services Growth Plan specifically identifying opportunities for establishing a multifaceted “Life Sciences Campus on the Canal” to consolidate emerging health-related services and industries as part of a revitalization plan for the King Street area in Welland is gaining widespread public support. It will engage
the leadership, expertise, and business development of both the university and the college and the new Niagara Regional Health Care facility. This consortium of local institutions will become creative hubs for advancing health and social services for the region’s older population, innovative medical care, and healthy lifestyles.

Business expansion and innovative products and services that reflect and support demographic and adult lifestyle trends represent untapped opportunities within Niagara’s health and wellness fields. Niagara has become a nascent incubator for stimulating the growth of “green” industries as well as a variety of new technologies related to alternative and sustainable energy sources. Surrounded by water on its three sides and protected by unique lands dividing the peninsula into distinctive ecological and environmental zones, Niagara offers unique opportunities for investment and innovative business partnerships for green enterprise development.

Green Economy
New local developments are spurring the growth of new varieties of energyefficient heat recovery and water purification technologies. The region has a number of leading-edge cogeneration projects that are maximizing energy efficiencies from production processes, and consulting firms, such as Hatch Energy, continue to provide
23Building on the Momentum: A Competitive Analysis of Industries in the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

Niagara Economic and Tourism Corporation.

engineering and project management support for the construction of hydro-electric power dams worldwide.
Rankin Construction has entered into formal partnership with Regional Niagara to establish a $23 million wind farm project in Wainfleet on the shores of Lake Erie and a six-megawatt hydro electric power generating operation at one of the overflow spills on the Welland Canal. This innovative contractor is developing alternative, renewable energy resources to exploit the economic potential of new green power projects within the region.

CRS Electronics, a Welland-based manufacturer of high intensity lighting utilizing Light Emitting Diode (LED) technologies continues to expand its research and development capacities as a leader in the field. CRS now boasts automated production processes using custom-made robotic equipment capable of producing LED products for police, ambulance, fire, school transportation, and a range of emergency vehicle lighting
manufacturers. It has also expanded its operations into providing LED lighting solutions for major renovation and brownfield redevelopment projects.

To recycle waste and reclaim bio-product materials for new uses, a new company, Universal Resource Recovery, has been established in Welland on the site of an abandoned manufacturing firm. In Thorold, Associated Brownfields Inc. will be rehabilitating lands on a former industrial site by applying new technologies to clean the
soil and recover metal deposits prior to the site’s redevelopment as a residential and commercial area.
Earth Tech, a St. Catharines-based environmental services company, has evolved into one of Ontario’s leaders in offering engineering, remediation, construction, contract operations, and management, air quality management, water and wastewater engineering, solid waste management, and transportation and infrastructure engineering services.

An innovative Canadian developer of household sanitizing systems, Tersano Inc. in St. Catharines is changing the way we think about cleaning chemicals. Its state-of-theart technology provides consumers with products and application assistance to reduce or eliminate the need for toxic chemicals in homes.

Public institutions and community agencies are also leading the way in the development of projects to support green technologies.

The City of Welland has become part of an international consortium of cities committed to using LED (light-emitting diode) lighting technologies within their electrification grids to reduce energy usage, provide better light quality for improved visibility and safety, and to protect the environment. In recognition of its energy conservation efforts, Welland has been designated as a LED City.

The Niagara Region Strategy for Development and Conservation, known as the Policy Plan, has identified major directions for balancing urban growth, economic development, and the conservation of natural resources. The plan has established clear
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policies for the protection of agricultural lands and the management of natural resources areas through environmentally-sound resource use. The Region is demonstrating the utility of a conservation ethic and has imbedded many energy-saving features, such as LED lighting, as an integral part of its own green operations and recent physical expansion.

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), working with governments and local communities, continues to expand its preservation and environmental protection programs and projects, develop new natural heritage sites, as well as implement watershed planning and restoration programs. For example, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Environment Canada, the Authority has developed a strategic implementation work plan to restore and protect the environmental integrity of the Niagara River. Government agencies and community organizations on both sides of the river are working to develop clean-up plans to help
restore and the protect water quality of this bi-national resource.

Niagara College offers a full range of applied research skills in agriculture, experiments with new floral products in its greenhouses, manages over 25 acres of production and experimental vineyards, and tests new wine products at its Niagara College Teaching Winery, the only facility of its kind in Canada. The college’s 25 Year Master Plan to make the Glendale Campus a “living laboratory” through its applied research programs in environmental and horticultural studies, and its vineyards, wetlands, and ecological centres is already in the early stages of development.

These private- and public-sector initiatives are responding to a growing level of public awareness and concern over environmental protection, energy conservation, and sustainable growth. This heightened attention is fostering a strong conservation ethic and is providing the impetus for expanding a wide range of “green” industries and services in local economies. With its abundant base of natural and manufacturing resources, Niagara
is ideally positioned to unlock the economic potential of regional green industry development and provide new occupational pursuits for its skilled work force.

4.2.5 Expanding Other Potential Clusters
Brock University and Niagara College will continue to build upon and expand its resource base to expand and enhance other sectors of the regional economy with growth potential. Both institutions are committed to aligning their programs and developments with targeted initiatives to grow the economy of the future.

Brock University will continue to resource its Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute to support and expand basic research that will help Niagara’s and Ontario’s grape growers and wineries. This sector already enjoys national dominance in products and markets.
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The university’s longer-term development plans will see the relocation of many of its humanities and performing arts programs onto a dedicated campus in St. Catharines.
This creative hub will support the growth of the region’s entertainment, theatre, music, and cultural industries, and the priority sectors of the Ontario and Niagara economy whose full potential has yet to be realized.
Investments by Niagara College in trades and technology training are helping the region’s goods-producing sectors renew existing companies, generate opportunities for new companies and new industries, and create high-paying jobs. Recent funding of $15.4 million from Ontario’s Skills to Jobs Action Plan will create 730 new training spaces in Welland for apprenticeships and technical skills training to help the local construction
and renovation industry.

In summary, economic development has become tougher, more complex, and highly competitive. To prosper and grow all segments of the economy, Niagara must help build economic clusters, promote diversification, and create an entrepreneurial climate that will meet the challenges and become the catalysts for economic growth.
Our two post-secondary institutions must increasingly assume a major role as a catalyst for growth and a reliable source of innovation in emerging industries that are poised for growth. Applied research and the commercialization of innovative ideas need to be advanced, sustained, and developed to new levels of excellence and extended to the region’s major industry sectors. Physical plant, specialized laboratories, research and
training infrastructure will require focused investment. Concerted effort will be required to leverage the potential of institutional expertise, their specialized centres of excellence, their workforce training systems and, above all, the graduates many of whom wish to develop satisfying careers here in Niagara.

To be successful in attracting new investments to both institutions from provincial
and federal governments, there needs to be “one voice” support amongst Niagara leaders.
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PART III
5.0 NEDC 2009 BUSINESS PLAN
5.1 Introduction
The Business Plan for NEDC is grounded in the research and analysis of the Niagara economy. As indicated earlier, NEDC’s specific plans are directly tied to the nature and opportunities presented by the existing structure of the economy.
Secondly, it is critical to have clear strategies. These strategies provide a longterm guideline for annual activities and also establish the priorities for the allocation of limited financial and human resources. The strategies that form the foundation of the 2009 plan are:

Niagara Economic Growth Strategy 2005-2010 (currently being updated to 2009-2012}

Council Business Plan 2007-2011
Finally, the NEDC business plan reflects the various studies and consultation with economic development agencies in Niagara and, most specifically, the CAO Report to Council, September 2007, which delineated the complementary roles of NEDC and municipal EDOs.

The primary role of NEDC is to market Niagara as the best place to invest, live, visit, and work. All the research, analysis, and policy engagement by NEDC is targeted towards more effectively marketing the region to external audiences.

NEDC consults and partners with other organizations in almost all of its programs and initiatives. Partners encompass municipalities, economic development agencies, and local destination marketing organizations as well as the private, not-for-profit, and institutional sectors. In some cases, these engagements involve consultation and input, while others involve financial partnering.

The following plan is structured according to the Economic Growth Strategy into six categories:
Building a Stronger Collective Voice
Improve Transportation and Related Infrastructure
Create a Competitive Business Environment
Target Strategic Employers
Marketing the Niagara Brand
Develop Niagara’s Talent Pool
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5.2 Building a Stronger Collective Voice
Experience has proven that Niagara achieves its greatest outcomes when the Niagara community presents itself with “one voice.” That is why this effort is the first priority of Niagara’s Economic Growth Strategy and is considered to be fundamental to all other activities.
Action: Government Relations Programs
Description: Facilitate and support the Region’s government relations priorities especially with respect to policy development and federal/provincial relationship development.

Activities: Development of analyses, background papers, and positions with respect to economic development and Economic Growth Strategy priorities; individual and collective meetings as led by Regional chair or designate.

Timing: Ongoing with pre-budget and spring/fall initiatives
Action: Economic Development Policies and Programs
Description: Identify, influence, and leverage government programs federally and provincially that will bring additional funds/investments to Niagara and/or improve the business attractiveness of the region.
Activities: Strategy and regular meetings, particularly with Ministries of Economic Development, Trade, and Tourism. Provide coordination and support to area municipalities in achieving mutual objectives.
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Host Annual Economic Forum in Niagara
Description: Bring together cross-section of economic sectors, public- and private-sector leaders to update the economic profile of Niagara and update the performance/elements of the Niagara Economic Growth Strategy.
Activities: One-day conference
Timing: Q2 or Q3
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5.3 Improve Transportation and Related Infrastructure
Action: Raise Stakeholder Awareness With Respect to Key Infrastructure Projects
Description: Create opportunities for private- and public-sector engagement and provide
policy/program guidance related to Niagara’s strategic transportation and infrastructure
projects.
Activities:
Participate in the Niagara Region’s Transportation Steering Committee.
Reconvene the Stakeholder Steering Committee of the Niagara to GTA Economic Impact Study and develop a follow-up strategy to keep the issue at the forefront of industry concern.
Provide information, advice, and guidance to the Niagara to GTA Environmental
Assessment activity undertaken by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Participate in Bi-national transportation strategy task forces, working groups, e.g., the Can/Am Border Trade Alliance.
Convene regional multi-stakeholder meetings to discuss development options for multi-modal transportation systems in Niagara.
Organize site visits to multi-modal economic gateway locations for economic development officers and civic leaders, e.g., Alliance Texas; one or two free trade zones in the United States.
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Influence Government and Industry Policy and Program Development
Description: Provide policy/program guidance and development options related to
Niagara’s strategic transportation and infrastructure projects.
Activities:
Develop a government liaison action plan and regularly meet with officials in Ottawa and Toronto to keep Niagara’s infrastructure issues at the forefront of public discussion.
Participate in the work of the Southern Ontario Gateway Council and the secretariat responsible for the Federal-Provincial Gateways and Corridors Initiative.
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Work with our U.S. State and city counterparts to support Niagara’s transportation case.
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Advance Niagara’s Transportation and Economic Gateways Objectives
Description: Organize a multi-stakeholder team related to Niagara’s strategic transportation and infrastructure projects.
Activities:
Convene a team of leading transportation and gateway development experts.
Presentation updates on the Niagara Gateway Economic Zone and Centre; the federal-provincial gateway initiative; employment lands development; and the Niagara to GTA Corridor project.
Lobby stakeholders for investment.
Policy and program recommendations.
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Position Niagara as an Infrastructure Development Location.
Description: Participate and/or make presentations at major transportation and infrastructure conferences, symposia.
Activities:
Build a profile and reputation of Niagara at Strategy Institute’s Infrastructure Conference, September 2009; Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference; and International Conference on Gateways and Corridors.
Two presentations at major conferences on Niagara’s infrastructure opportunities.
Continue to leverage the bi-national advantage of Niagara with business and government leaders in both countries.
Commission and manage economic impact studies related to gateway infrastructure development if required.
Timing: Ongoing
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5.4 Create a Competitive Business Environment
The Niagara Economic Growth Strategy identifies the creation of a competitive business environment in Niagara as a key Strategic Action. In order to retain and attract new investment, Niagara must make it appealing for investors to “do business” here.
Currently, both real and perceived investment barriers are limiting Niagara’s growth potential.
The following short-term and long-term activities are part of NEDC’s 2009
Business Plan focus on creating a more competitive business environment in Niagara.
Action: Foster Competitiveness, Efficiency and Innovation in Niagara’s Government
and Business Sectors
Activities:
Support independent initiatives that benchmark and assess the cost competitiveness of the Niagara region in terms of the “cost of doing business” in Niagara, such as the annual BMA Cost Competitiveness Study that directly compares various costs among the majority of Ontario municipalities.
Hold an annual Niagara Economic Summit (Q1-Q2) in order to provide information to stakeholders in terms of the cost competitiveness of Niagara and related Niagara Economic Growth Strategy initiatives.

Work with public- and private-sector economic development stakeholders to collectively identify ways of making Niagara an attractive investment location.
Provide direct input into Niagara’s Growth Management Plan to ensure that business interests are represented.
Continue to upgrade corporate Websites and add additional site selection tools and information (e.g., GIS, BizPal, development incentives, detailed zoning/surrounding infrastructure) in order to provide exceptional service to business clients.
Actively encourage and foster the further development and effective coordination of an integrated suite of services that nurture start-ups and new SMEs in the knowledgeintensive economy, from developing and commercializing locally created IP to providing a magnet for the commercialization of IP created elsewhere.
Timing: Ongoing
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Action: Encourage that Niagara’s Overall Business Costs Stay Competitive
Activities:
Continue to advocate for competitive business charges and tax rates for both new and existing businesses within Niagara’s industrial community to encourage growth and expansion and job creation in Niagara.
Participate directly and encourage participation by the private sector in Regional committees and task forces focused on industrial development charges, industrial tax rate reform, Niagara to GTA Corridor, and other related business costs.
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Develop an Efficient and Seamless Process for Businesses Seeking Development Permits and Related Approvals
Activities:
Continue to advocate for Niagara’s business community and provide an “economic development” perspective as an integral part of the overall evaluation of business proposal being considered by the Niagara Region on an ongoing basis.
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Promote Continuous Two-way Communication Between Niagara Business and Government
Activities:
Position the Niagara Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors as facilitators to develop stronger relationships between the Niagara Region and the local business community.
Support Niagara’s official representatives in their advocacy activities aimed at raising awareness of Niagara’s infrastructure needs in order to assist Niagara’s overall competitive position as an investment location. (Places to Grow, Niagara to GTA
Corridor)
Feature local Niagara business success stories in both traditional and emerging sectors at the NEDC’s Annual Meeting in 2009.
Timing: Ongoing
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5.5 Target Strategic Employers
In pursuing regional economic growth it is critical to both build on existing strengths and identify future growth sectors and opportunities including advanced manufacturing and knowledge-based industries.
The initial directions envisioned by the Economic Growth Strategy Steering Committee and the recommendations of community leaders from economic forums have identified a set of priority growth sectors, including manufacturing, that provide significant business development and investment opportunities over the medium and long term. Below are those that will be included in the 2009 Business Plan.
Action: Explore and pursue opportunities for growth in current strategic industry
clusters, building on existing strengths

Transportation, automotive, and related manufacturing
5.6.2 Advanced Manufacturing including Automotive
Tourism, hospitality, and recreational services
5.6.2 Tourism
Agri-Business
5.6.2
Redevelopment
5.6.2
Culture
5.6.2
Action: Explore and pursue opportunities for growth in emerging industry clusters
Niche bio-product manufacturing
5.6.2 Bio-manufacturing
Digital/Interactive media
5.6.2 Digital/Interactive Media
Environmental, energy and other “green” technologies
5.6.2 Green Economy, Manufacturing
Health and Wellness and Life Sciences
5.6.2 Health and Wellness
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Action: Work closely with local municipalities and economic development partners to advance the economic priorities of Niagara’s Growth Management
Strategy and Ontario’s Growth Plan
Ongoing involvement with these discussions at all levels of government with particular focus on the Gateway Economic Zone and Gateway Economic Centre in
2009 (see next point).
Action: Develop a plan to create the Niagara Gateway Economic Zone and the Niagara Gateway Economic Centre to stimulate investment, new industrial development, and employment growth within the region
A report on Gateways, by consultants GHK International, is due at the end of 2008.
Through ongoing work throughout 2009, the Steering Committee will develop a plan and influence provincial policy to ensure these zones create a competitive advantage for the region of Niagara.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers report on economic clusters, due early 2009, will additionally include an inventory of the region’s logistics industry and an analysis of opportunities which will also contribute to this plan.
Leverage this information and directions to the federal government policy formulation.
Timing: Ongoing Action: Build on Niagara’s historic business strengths to develop new strategic
growth areas
Continue to implement the recommendations of the Regional Chair’s Agricultural Task Force particularly branding and the local food initiative.
Encourage the development of new small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in all emerging sectors, working with our economic development partners in the municipalities.

Build on our brownfield and redevelopment opportunities.
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Capitalize on Niagara’s competitive advantages, in particular its natural
and historic features, which make it attractive to a wide range of lifestylerelated
investors
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During 2009 a plan will be developed by the Niagara Tourism Destination
Development group based on the work carried out by Cundari during 2008 and engaging stakeholders in the new Niagara brand and tourism sub-brands.
5.6 Market Niagara
Introduction
Marketing is a strategic function designed to communicate value to prospects and customers. It involves understanding the marketplace and competitors, positioning its “product” to differentiate itself and ultimately reach and persuade intended audiences.
The functions of marketing cover a vast range of activities including research, brand management, product development, packaging, distribution channels, advertising, and public/media relations.
Sales are downstream from marketing and are focused on completing/closing the transaction. While marketing and sales are complementary, they involve very different skill sets and expertise.
To understand the roles of marketing and sales, a fairly simple diagram can be used. The process below is similar regardless of whether the ultimate purchaser is an individual consumer or a business.

Decision Making Process
Awareness: When a consumer or business decides there is a need or opportunity to make a purchase/investment, there is an immediate narrowing down of the universe. It is impossible and too
expensive to examine and analyse every option in the marketplace.
They apply their immediate knowledge and perceptions: Who sells the product? What is their reputation? What do third-parties say about them? What is the “brand” perception?
Awareness
Consideration
Transaction
Marketing
Sales
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Consideration: Research and analysis takes place on a finite number of options in order to evaluate and narrow down the options. Research the Internet, talk to friends or colleagues, and meet with sales people.
Transaction: After considering the pros and cons of each option on the short-list, make a decision and finalize the transaction. Negotiate until value and price are reconciled.

5.6.1 Economic Development Marketing
In economic development, the process of marketing is not all that different except that the economic development agency can only facilitate and expedite the process, not close the final sale. In the case of NEDC, the product is Niagara, and the target audiences are varied, e.g., businesses for investment marketing, travelling consumers for tourism marketing.

There are two ways to reach the intended audiences: directly and through intermediaries. Intermediaries in investment marketing are site selectors, MEDT, Trade Commissioners, and trade shows for example, while in tourism it would include travel agents (e.g., CAA/AAA) and tour operators. Successful marketers usually employ both approaches, encompassing a “push-pull strategy.”
In Niagara, NEDC’s primary focus is on the marketing and the “awareness/consideration” process, while municipal economic development officers are much more focused on the end “transaction” to facilitate the closing of the sale. The NEDC Board has approved a series of protocols to facilitate ongoing information-sharing on leads and business opportunities. In Niagara’s smaller municipalities, NEDC carries out the complete process (using designated Account Executives) with each of those municipalities and their municipal point of contact.

The following diagram reflects the Decision Making Process and how it applies to
NEDC’s role and activities:
Awareness
Consideration
Transaction
Increase “top of mind” awareness of Niagara as diversified, successful business community
Tools: Marketing materials, advertising, trade
shows, missions, public/media relations
Best-in-class Websites, market analyses and
relevant information
Personal attention and responsiveness to potential
investors/clients
Tools: Websites, economic and sector analyses

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5.6.2 NEDC Brand and Product Marketing
(a) Brand Awareness
The research indicates that there needs to be more “top of mind” awareness by businesses about Niagara as a location for investment. The qualitative research carried out by Strategic Counsel in June 2008 clearly indicated that, even in Ontario, Niagara was not immediately thought of beyond “tourism.” Other communities were identified as being explicitly open for business including Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Ottawa, and even Brantford.
The role of brand awareness is to the affect that “top of mind” awareness and the product marketing by sector serves as a specific reinforcement particularly when there is a common brand platform.
It is not affordable to affect broader brand awareness outside of Canada except
through targeted direct relationships. Therefore the primary target audience is business leaders in the GTA, and produce a “halo” effect across Canada.

Niagara’s business Website(s) are a primary call to action and an outreach vehicle and therefore must be state-of-the-art and strongly differentiated in the marketplace.
BRAND AWARENESS
MANUFACTURING
TOURISM
AGRICULTURE
REDEVELOPMENT
DIGITAL/INTERACTIVE MEDIA
BIO-PRODUCTS
HEALTH/WELLNESS
GREEN ECONOMY
CULTURE
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Action: B2B Public/Media Relations
Description: Build relations with the business media to generate more stories that reference the positive business and investment climate in Niagara; position NEDC as the go-to economic information source.
Geographic Target: GTA and national business media Industry Target: All sectors
Objective: Build Niagara business brand and top-of-mind awareness.
Timing: Q2, Q3, Q4 2009
Action: Advertising in media that reach GTA and national businesses, especially SME market
Description: Implement a media buy that packages the Niagara business brand; examples include Canadian Business magazine, Profit, and business Websites.
Geographic Target: GTA and national business media
Industry Target: All sectors, SMEs
Objective: Build Niagara business brand and top-of-mind awareness.
Timing: 2009
Action: Implementation of BrandNiagara within Niagara
Description: Promote the use of “Niagara Original” co-branding among all economic
sectors, private and not-for-profit institutions, and governments.
Geographic Target: Directly Niagara, indirectly market outreach through other
organizations and channels
Industry Target: All sectors including business, tourism, agriculture, and culture
Objective: Build Niagara commitment to the brand platform and increase top-of-mind
awareness across Ontario, Canada, and internationally.
Timing: Ongoing
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Action: Toronto Business Reception
Industry Target: Business leaders, influencers, media, site selection/realtors
Objective: Raise profile and image of Niagara as a successful business community ripe
for investment.
Timing: Q2 or Q3
(b) Manufacturing (including Automotive)
Action: Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA) Annual Conference and Exhibition
Description: This is an excellent networking event. It attracts key players in the industry principally from Canada but also from the U.S. Team Niagara has had a booth at the exhibition for the past three years promoting automotive companies within Niagara as well as Niagara College’s Technology Skills Centre. In 2009 a new stand fabric will
promote Niagara as a destination for tier 1, 2, and 3 supplier investments using the new Niagara brand.
Geographical Target: Canada, U.S., and Japan
Industry Target: Automotive and advanced manufacturing
Objective: Relationship building, networking, building awareness of Niagara as an investment location for the automotive industry and a part of the industry within Ontario.
Timing: May 2009
Action: Team Niagara Mission to Japan
Description: This is the 5th annual mission to Japan and will continue to target advanced manufacturing companies in the automotive and aerospace industries. Meetings will reinforce previous visits to build relationships with targeted companies. The itinerary will be developed in collaboration with Embassy staff. Following the 2008 mission, contacts in the digital gaming sector will also be pursued as well as alternative energy, particularly solar panel manufacturers.
Geographical Target: Japan
Industry Target: Advanced manufacturing, digital media, and alternative energy
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Objective: Promote Niagara as a location for investment to targeted companies as a longterm strategy.
Timing: October 2009 (could coincide with the Tokyo Motor Show to take advantage of additional networking)
Action: Team Niagara Mission to Germany
Description: The exploratory mission to Germany in September 2008 will establish contacts within the Embassy, Consulates, and with provincial representatives. A second mission in 2009 would continue to explore investment opportunities resulting from the expanded production of BMW in Spartanburg, South Carolina; investment opportunities around companies supplying North America; and the high value of the Euro forcing production away from Europe. The mission could be planned to coincide with the IAA
Show in Frankfurt, which is the premier European automotive show and the Automotive Forum that would facilitate one-on-one meetings.
Geographical Target: Germany and the Southern U.S. States
Industry Target: Advanced manufacturing, particularly automotive
Objective: Build business case for Niagara with targeted companies considering investment in North America.
Timing: September 2009
Action: Carolinas Business Development Mission
Description: Three-day mission to visit tier 1 suppliers in the Carolinas plus follow-up activity with specific manufacturing companies and opportunities.
Geographical Target: North and South Carolina
Industry Target: Automotive and aerospace sectors
Objective: Continue to investigate supplier opportunities for Niagara companies in the automotive and aerospace sectors. Build on supplier days held in Niagara for tier 1 companies. From continuing relationships, identify potential investment opportunities.
Timing: Spring 2009
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Action: National Buyer/Seller Forum, Edmonton
Description: Exhibition and conference promoting additional Canadian manufacturing products for the Alberta Oil Sands. The Niagara Development Corridor has recruited local companies for the past two years to participate in this event as part of the Ontario delegation. As a member of the Niagara Development Corridor, NEDC has identified companies and directly participated.
Geographical Target: Canada
Industry Target: Machining and metal fabrication companies in Niagara.
Objective: Support Niagara companies pursuing contracts and raise awareness of Niagara as a source of these potential suppliers.
Timing: March 2009
Action: Identify and develop strategies with respect to longer-term emerging markets
Description: With the analyses being carried out on existing and emerging sectors, there will be markets that are not mature but will flourish in the next 5 to 10 years. Niagara needs to explore relationships and be an early entry, rather than a catch-up to other competing municipalities.
Industry Target: Multiple sectors based upon research
Objective: Early exploratory and relationship development networking
Timing: Q3/Q4
(c) Tourism
Action: Review the results of the Ontario Tourism Competitiveness Study (Sorbara report) and propose relevant actions to be taken in Niagara Description: In 2008 the Government of Ontario launched the Ontario Tourism
Competitiveness Study, chaired by Greg Sorbara. This study recognizes both the competitive challenges faced by Ontario as well as the global importance of the industry to Ontario’s economy. In 2009 the report will be completed and it will be important for the tourism industry in Niagara (and NEDC) to consider its implications and
opportunities.
Timing: TBD 2009
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Action: Tourism Investment Program
Description: Undertake tourism investment marketing program and respond to related development opportunities. Continue to work on the implementation of the Energizing the Wine Route project including marketing materials and Website.
Geographic Target: North America
Industry Target: Tourism sector
Objective: Promote Niagara’s tourism opportunities
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Destination Niagara Initiative
Description: Provide leadership and support to Destination Niagara and support tourism industry priorities, especially in marketing the Niagara brand.
Geographic Target: Ontario, Quebec, U.S.
Industry Target: Touring segment and several niche markets Objective: Through industry and government partnerships, maximize the use of financial resources to increase the number of visitors and their length of stay.
Timing: Ongoing
Action: Working with Travel Media to develop stories of Niagara
Description: Coordinate and develop fam tours and provide media images and information to travel writers to increase national and international media coverage that positions Niagara as a multi-day, overnight destination.
Geographical Target: Primary – FIT (fully independent travellers) in Canada and U.S.
Secondary – FIT consumers in Europe and Asia, tour operators, travel agents in Canada,
U.S., Europe, and Asia
Objective: Attend 3 media marketplaces; develop 2 niche media fams (green visit,
Franco visit); host 20 media in Niagara; and provide 2 print and monthly e-mail updates
on Niagara product.
Timing: Ongoing throughout 2009
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Action: Promoting Niagara as a multi-day destination directly to consumers
Description: Attend 3 consumer travel shows.
Geographical Target: Ottawa (spring and fall), Toronto (spring)
Industry Target: Primary – general consumers from Ontario and consumers with niche
interests of wine and cycling. Secondary – tour operators and travel agents
Timing: March, April, November
Action: www.tourismniagara.com Consumer Website
Description: Provide an informative, up-to-date Website for visitors and private-sector
partners. Use the Website to position Niagara as a multi-day destination by increasing
consumer knowledge of Niagara.
Geographical target: Primary – consumers from U.S. and Canada. Secondary –
consumers from Europe, Asia
Industry Target: Primary – general consumers (FIT). Secondary – tour operators, travel
agents, and media
Objective: Grow the number of unique visits and continue to improve search engine
positioning through additional SEO content and optimization programs.
Timing: Ongoing throughout 2009
Action: Gateway Niagara - Full-service information centre
Description: Gateway Niagara is a full-service, year-round information centre in
Grimsby. The centre is staffed with professional travel counsellors who offer travel
assistance, distribute brochures, maps, and other printed information, book hotel rooms,
and sell a variety of attraction tickets.
Geographical Target: Primary – Ontario consumers. Secondary – other Canadian and
U.S. consumers, European, Asian consumers
Industry Target: Motorcoach
Objective: Provide the consumer with a positive first impression of Niagara by offering
friendly, accurate information and assistance, attraction ticket sales, and room
reservations.
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Timing: Ongoing throughout 2009
Action: Production of various maps, brochures, information pieces about Niagara
Description: Provide consumers with brochures that position Niagara as a multi-day
destination and increase their knowledge of Niagara in order to stimulate overnight
bookings.
Geographical Target: Primary – Ontario, Canada, and U.S. Secondary – Europe and
Asia
Industry Target: Primary – general consumers (FIT). Secondary – tour operators, travel
agents, and media
Objective: Print 400,000 Niagara Seasons by May 1, 2009 and 50,000 revised bilingual
Regional Maps with changes to include itineraries by May 1, 2009. Reprint 50,000
Welland Canal brochures by May 1, 2009 and 25,000 GNCR brochures by May 1, 2009.
Timing: First 6 months of 2009
Action: Niche market development - Quebec / Francophone Market
Description: Promote Niagara as a multi-day destination to the Quebec/Francophone
market.
Geographical Target: Primary – province of Quebec (Montreal, Quebec). Secondary –
France, Franco Ontarians, other French- speaking Canadian/U.S. European consumers
Industry Target: Primary – general consumers (FIT). Secondary – tour operators, travel
agents,
Objective: Print 35,000 visitors' guides – Les Saisons and distribute 15-20 K throughout
Quebec, and Ontario. Attend 2 consumer travel shows in Quebec – lifestyle and cycling
and develop a bilingual cycling/circuits map.
Timing: Ongoing throughout 2009
Action: Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Market (GBLT)
Description: Promote Niagara as a multi-day destination to GLBT market.
Geographical Target: Primary – Canada and U.S. Secondary – Europe
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Industry Target: Primary – general consumers (FIT). Secondary – tour operators, travel
agents, and media
Objective: Coordinate a committee of private-sector partners; develop and execute a
print advertising program in various GLBT publications; expand GLBT content on
Website; coordinate a Niagara pre-fam for the 2009 IGLTA Conference in Toronto in
May; and be the liaison with the Ministry of Tourism for Niagara.
Timing: Ongoing throughout the year
Action: Great Lakes Cruising Market
Description: Position Niagara as a destination with a variety of day trips/on-shore
excursion options.
Geographical Target: Primary – cruise line passengers from U.S., Canada and Europe
Industry Target: U.S. and European smaller cruise lines interested in developing
itineraries and routes through the Great Lakes
Objective: Develop a Niagara coalition of partner municipalities interested in the Great
Lakes Cruise market and join the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition. Have a Niagara
presence in the 2009 directory. Develop a series of on-shore excursions with municipal
partners; produce a comprehensive handbook of these day-trip opportunities; and host
one cruise line or cruise receptive fam tour.
Timing: Ongoing throughout 2009
Action: Cycling Market
Description: Establish Niagara as a multi-day destination for cycling.
Geographical Target: Primary – Ontario, Canada and U.S. Secondary – Europe
Industry Target: Primary – general consumers (FIT). Secondary – media, tour operators
Objective: Work with the Regional Cycling Committee to develop 2009/10 Cycling Map
and develop and print 20,000 bilingual cycling maps highlighting circuits/routes
throughout Niagara. Work with the organizers of the Bike Train to promote the
development and expansion of departures from Toronto and conduct one media fam tour
highlighting Greater Niagara Circle Route and other cycling routes in Niagara.
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(d) Agriculture
Action: Local Food Initiative
Description: With funding from MEDT for local food initiative and branding, provide
support to an integrated plan being developed by the Regional Chair’s Agricultural Task
Force.
Objective: Increase the awareness of and ultimately sale of Niagara local food
production.
Timing: Dependent on the timing of an integrated plan being developed by the
Agricultural Task Force.
Action: Increase awareness of Niagara’s horticultural industry
Description: Agriculture represents both a traditional and emerging sector in the Niagara
region with potential for new investment/growth. Niagara’s horticultural sector has
steadily grown to become the most important sector financially of the regional
agricultural economy.
Industry Target: New horticultural sales and investment
Objective: Increase awareness of Niagara’s horticultural industry and new investment
opportunities where a strong specific business case can be made. Identify and cultivate
key prospects; develop and sustain relationships; service and follow-through on leads.
Investment Marketing Shows & Missions: Development of high-quality promotional
materials that highlight the quality and diversity of floral/vegetable products and services
(print materials, trade show signage).
Superfloral Show, June 9-12, Atlanta, Georgia
Canadian Growers Conference, October 2009, Toronto
Ontario Floral Exhibition, Sept/October 2009, TBD
Other Activities: Production of the 2009 Ontario Greenhouse Grower’s Directory and
Buyers Guide (6000 copies produced and distributed). Research for Statistics Canada
and Census Data trend analysis in partnership with Flowers Canada.
Partners: Ontario/Niagara Horticulture Growers/Industry, Flowers Canada
(e) Redevelopment
Action: Marketing of Niagara’s Top Redevelopment Opportunities
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Geographical Target: Greater Golden Horseshoe and Western New York
Industry Target: Developers and investors
Objective: Promote Niagara as a leader in smart growth and brownfield redevelopment
and drive-related investment into Niagara.
Timing: 2009
Action: Manage and build-on relationships with all levels of government
Geographical Target: Niagara, Ontario, and Canada
Industry Target: Local, provincial, and federal government representatives
Objectives: Inform and educate all levels of government about Niagara’s commitment to
smart growth and brownfield redevelopment as a foundational growth strategy and lobby
for targeted funding and legislation that will advance this agenda.
Timing: 2009
Action: Expand business and community partnerships that support smart growth
and brownfield redevelopment initiatives
Geographical Target: Niagara Region, Ontario, and Western New York
Industry Target: Developers, municipalities, arts and culture, education, Smarter Niagara
Steering Committee, architects, conservation authority, media, realtors
Objectives: Explain benefits of smart growth with respect to community and economic
development, identify champions, and give recognition to leaders in this field.
Timing: 2009
Action: Attend major smart growth, brownfield, and real estate conferences and
trade shows (8th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, 2009
Canadian Brownfield Conference, Brownfields 2009, The Real Estate Forum,
2009 Creative Cities Summit)
Geographical Target: North America
Industry Target: Developers, investors, environmental engineers, realtors, architects,
planners, government officials, economic development officials, academics
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Objective: Share and learn best practices, enhance Niagara’s reputation as a smart
growth and brownfield redevelopment leader, and promote related investment
opportunities in Niagara.
Timing: 2009
(f) Digital/Interactive Media
Action: San Francisco GDC 2009
Description: This show is the largest game developers show in the world. The province
will hold a reception and have a booth there.
Geographic Target: North America
Industry Target: Digital gaming
Objective: During 2008, Team Niagara has been present at three Game Developers
Conferences in Paris, Tokyo, and Austin as a member of the Digital Innovation
Partnership. Niagara’s attendance at this show in 2009, either as a partner or
independently, will build on the experience gained last year. The principal objective is to
understand this growing industry and identify target companies for investment.
Timing: March 23 – 27, 2009
Action: Game Developers Conference, Leipzig 2009
Description: The Game Developers Conference in Leipzig is the leading European
Forum for this industry.
Geographic Target: Europe
Industry Target: Digital gaming companies. Building on knowledge gained during
activities in 2008 and the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Report on Digital Interactive Media,
due January 2009, a targeted approach would be applied to this sector.
Objective: Identify companies who are considering a North American investment.
Timing: August 2009
(g) Bio-Manufacturing
Action: Bio-products investment marketing program
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Description: Bio-Products have been identified as an emerging sector within the Niagara
region with potential for new investment/growth.
Industry Target: Bio-products sector includes industrial bio-products (JBL, Casco, and
Abitibi); functional foods (grape seed oil, Vinifera for Life); bio-energy (Walker
Industries methane, greenhouse heating); biopharmaceuticals (Norgen Biotek, Biolyse
Pharma; environmental products (Walker Industry compost). Further targeting will be
based on the results of the 2008 Bio-Products Industry Development Opportunities for
Niagara study currently being completed.
Objective: Increase awareness of Niagara’s emerging bio-products sector within Niagara
and identify new investment opportunities where a strong specific business case can be
made. Identify and cultivate key prospects; develop and sustain relationships; service
and follow-through on leads.
Events: Bio International Convention, May 18-21, 2009, Atlanta; World Conference on
Industrial Bio-Technology and Bio-Processing April 19-22, Montreal; one Niagara-based
industry/business recommended partnered initiative (TBD); National Bio Week,
September 2009; partner with others to raise awareness of bio-product activities and
potential in Niagara
Partners: Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT); MaRSLanding, Guelph; Golden
Horseshoe Bio-Science Network; Agriculture Canada, Vineland; Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs; BioEnterprises; Advanced Food & Materials Network
(AFMNet); local area municipal EDOs
Timing: 2009
(h) Health and Wellness
Action: Investigate economic development opportunities around the new Niagara
hospital in St. Catharines
Description: Commercial units are planned as part of the new hospital complex.
Understand and explore any business-related opportunities arising from the construction
of the new hospital.
Geographical Target: Canada, U.S., Japan, and Germany
Industry Target: Medical devices manufacturers and pharmaceuticals, supply and service
opportunities
Objective: Develop a marketing strategy to promote Niagara as a location for investment
in this sector.
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Timing: Throughout 2009
(i) Green Economy
Action: Company visits in Germany in conjunction with Team Niagara Mission
Description: Germany is the world leader in wind energy and solar panel technology.
The leading trade show for wind energy is held next in Husum, Germany in 2010.
Develop a plan to target companies who are considering a North American investment.
This can by done either by working with the Embassy in Berlin where the Investment
officer has a good knowledge of the industry or through a contracted agency, e.g.,
Evalueserve, to set up meetings.
Geographical Target: Germany
Industry Target: Green/alternative energy sector
Objective: Ensure targeted group of companies considers Niagara as a location for
investment and understands the region’s competitive advantages.
Timing: April 2009 to coincide with the Hannover Messe, Wind 2009
Action: Hannover Messe, Wind 2009
Description: Over the past several years, Hannover Messe has substantiated its claim to
being the central showcase and knowledge-sharing platform on the subject of energy
efficiency and future sustainability. No other trade fair features such comprehensive and
in-depth coverage of this topic. More than 1,000 exhibitors presented their energyrelated
technologies on a total display area of approx. 40,000 square meters, breaking all
previous records. More than 100,000 visitors were drawn to the various energy displays.
The Hannover Messe is also the world’s showcase for industrial technology,
incorporating a number of shows including machine tools.
Geographical Target: Germany
Industry Target: Green technology particularly Wind Energy. Secondary focus would be
machine tools.
Objective: Raise awareness of Niagara as a location for investment by this sector as well
as building relationships with target companies.
Timing: April 20 – 29, 2009
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5.7 Niagara’s Talent Pool
Regions and companies have come to realize the importance of having access to a
pool of educated and skilled employees to remain competitive and to advance their
economic goals. Developing Niagara’s talent pool is one of the major planks of the
regional economic growth strategy. The strategy outlines a comprehensive framework
that will guide the development of action plans to strengthen the region’s workforce and
help focus the integrated efforts of its educational partners.
Building and diversifying the educational base of the region’s workforce and
attracting creative entrepreneurial people to the area has become essential to Niagara’s
future growth. Moreover, employers want to be assured that their needs and concerns are
being heard by the institutional community, the professional bodies that represent their
interests, or by governments that invest in strategic human resource development.
The strategy has provided a blue print for regional action to address major human
resource challenges. Its realization has taken on a heightened level of importance
especially as new emerging industry sectors have been targeted for expanding and
diversifying our regional economy.
NEDC has determined that one of its challenges over the short term is to facilitate
engagement, dialogue, and help advance the strategic agendas of its educational partners
to ensure that the action plan will generate regional solutions that address labour force
supply-demand issues in Niagara’s industries, occupations, and communities.
The following actions will be implemented during 2009:
Action: Strategic Governance Integration
NEDC will focus on ensuring that the strategic directions of Niagara’s post-secondary
educational institutions are aligned with economic development priorities. This will
be facilitated by the establishment of a joint meeting among the NEDC Board, Brock
University Board of Trustees, and Niagara College Board of Governors to identify
and discuss these priorities as part of their strategic planning process.
Action: Participation in Regional Labour Market Development Initiatives
NEDC’s senior staff will be directly involved in consultations, task forces, councils,
study teams, or workshops that address regional labour force development issues and
provide an economic perspective on directions, decisions, and local solutions, e.g.,
Labour Market Partnership Council; Niagara Training and Adjustment Board;
Niagara Immigrant Employment Council. They will provide an economic
development perspective and input to regional labour market initiatives through this
involvement.
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NEDC will explore the development of a strategic, targeted recruitment plan aimed at
promoting resettlement in Niagara of families and young entrepreneurs from outside
the region, the province, and the country.
Action: Strategic Regional Labour Market Intelligence
NEDC will generate, maintain, and disseminate Niagara-based labour market
information derived from public or independent sources. This will include updating
existing regional fact sheets, investment marketing materials, and Website content,
thereby ensuring that the most up- to-date and competitive labour market information
is available to potential investors as part of NEDC’s marketing proposals.
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6.0 CORPORATE PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT
Overview
As the Business Plan indicates, NEDC is involved in the delivery of a wide
variety of economic development and tourism programs on behalf of the Niagara Region.
In their role as “intermediaries,” working with both the community and the
business/investment sector, economic development programs focus on both “external”
programs (e.g., Investment Marketing) and “internal” programs for business (e.g.,
Business Retention and Expansion). RMN-CAO10-2007 provides a formal framework
regarding economic development roles and responsibilities between NEDC and local area
municipal economic development officers.
An economic development organization does not directly create jobs or actually
make new investments itself. Its main function is to undertake programs and activities
that raise awareness of a particular location as a compelling and attractive
business/investment location and then work with clients to facilitate new investment in
that location.
NEDC, as the Region’s economic development and tourism agency, is primarily
responsible for program activities that raise the awareness of Niagara (e.g., external
marketing and promotional activities) with targeted client groups. This function is very
similar to what trade commissioners do for Canada and Ontario investment officers do
for Ontario.
The business development investment marketing process involves the following
basic activities:
Research and identification of business opportunities for Niagara within specific
economic sectors.
Development of business plans and investment marketing programs that promotes
Niagara as a competitive business location for the economic sectors being
targeted.
Implementation of specific marketing programs.
Identifying and meeting with potential business clients to provide additional
information based on client’s specific requests.
Working with clients until a business investment decision is made.
This process often requires significant amounts of time and resources. Some
business inquiries are brief and to the point and can be addressed very quickly, while
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others are much more complex and require several months and significant resources,
regardless of the final outcome.
Given the above, performance measures that are developed for economic
development programs need to be able to accurately reflect the variations in the activities
and outcomes of the programs being measured.
Performance Measures
As discussed, economic development performance measures vary significantly
among organizations depending on their jurisdiction, size, structure, and the programs
that they are mandated to provide.
Economic development organizations primarily use activity measures and
outcome measures to report on and evaluate their programs and achievements.
Activities are the specific actions taken within a program to achieve a particular
result, while outcomes are measurable results that indicate progress toward achieving the
program’s mission and objectives. Outcomes can be short-term, intermediate, or longterm
in nature.
In the case of NEDC, a set of performance indicators have been identified in
conjunction with the 2009 Business Plan that include both important activity and
outcome measures as described above. These performance measures will assist the
Corporation to evaluate and report on its ongoing mix of business development and
tourism marketing programs to various stakeholders.
As indicated in the Executive Summary, the primary purpose of the Business Plan
is to set forth a plan that supports and implements the major thrusts of the Niagara
Economic Growth Strategy. NEDC will continue to provide leadership in the
implementation of the overall economic growth strategy as well as work closely with
specific partners to achieve its 2009 Business Plan.
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NEDC Corporate Performance Measures
Economic Development
Total Number of Prospects (Opportunity Alerts, client inquiries)
Number of Opportunity Files established (qualified business leads including
estimated investment, estimated employment, and employment income impacts)
Number of Opportunity Files successfully completed (estimated investment,
employment and employment income impacts)
Investment missions (targeting of strategic sectors, markets, and companies)
Number of investment marketing contacts established (third-party intermediaries)
Company investment calls outside Niagara
Number of company meetings/calls within Niagara (non-EDO municipalities and
partnered EDO calls)
Unique visits to Websites: www.niagaracanada.com and www.niagaracp.com
Unique visits to Website: www.smarterniagara.com
Total number of properties/sites and partners on www.niagaracp.com
Number of properties/sites and partners on www.smarterniagara.com
Successful completion and implementation of identified projects on time and on
budget (research reports, investment strategies, smart growth projects, economic
forum, branding initiatives, sector studies, infrastructure projects, and business
directories)
Advocacy and Policy Initiatives (Provincial and Federal Ministry and elected
officials calling programs and briefings, economic strategy initiatives,
infrastructure advocacy)
Project and Partner Meetings (quarterly EDO meetings, key account meetings,
participation with partner organizations)
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Tourism
Unique visits to www.tourismniagara.com
o Partners and partner revenues
Niagara Gateway Centre – Full-Service Information Centre
o # of visitors
o # of email and 1-800 phone inquiries
o # partners and program revenues
o net cost of operation
Consumer Shows/Marketing Programs
o Specific shows and attendee statistics
o Industry partners and partner revenues
Consumer Information Products
o Specific products and number of product produced
o # of partners and program revenues
Number of Travel Writer FAM tours
Value of travel media coverage
Tourism niche markets development projects
o Specific shows and attendee statistics
o Industry partners and partner revenues
Strategic Projects/Partner Initiatives (Destination Marketing organizations)
Advocacy/Policy Development (federal and provincial calling programs,
Destination Niagara Plan implementation)
Organizational
Budget and Financial Reports
Reporting of Corporate Performance Measures on semi-annual basis
Summary
The corporate performance measures identified above will be aligned with the
various programs of the Corporation’s annual Business Plan. Each year, specific
performance measure numbers will be identified and incorporated into the annual
Business Plan on a program-by-program basis and reported back on a semi-annual basis.
The Niagara Economic Developement Corporporation's
'Economic Growth Strategic Plan'
Long Version
by The Niagara Winners Circle
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