looking back on the year
According to the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), 331 local businesses have started between June 2021 and June 2022.
Jamie Taylor, who has been CEO of CEDC for three months, said: “Through our program, we have provided advisory services to 250[of these companies].”
The organization’s Entrepreneur Center provides financial and entrepreneurial assistance through state and federally funded programs for local business owners.
Taylor called the organization the city’s economic development department, which is run by its own board.
“We are at arm’s length,” she said. “Our service is available to everyone in the community. You don’t need to be a member, our service is free.”
CEDC is the place to go for anyone looking to start or grow a business, hire staff, train, attract investment, immigration and newcomers.
Taylor says one of his big accomplishments for 2022 was participating in a strategic planning exercise. She said it was a huge undertaking and worked well, engaging community stakeholders and citizens to hear how they prioritized future CEDC efforts.
A regional and northern immigration pilot program is also underway, with approximately 281 candidates receiving nominations.
“We are still the main community of all pilot communities,” she said. “That number may fluctuate a bit, but it is huge. Since the program started in 2019, we have sent over 500 skilled workers to Thunder Bay, resulting in over 700 new jobs. People have come to the area, and if you incorporate the families that have come with them, it’s new taxpayers to Thunder Bay and people who fill jobs that support all kinds of different sectors.”
This year, the program has also been expanded to allow CEDC to serve the region.
CEDC also provided support to install a new charging station for electric vehicles at Thunder Bay.
Similarly, Taylor said the cruise ship’s arrival has boosted morale in the community.
Helping Thunder Bay navigate their business wouldn’t be without hurdles. Taylor continues to steer “what the world will look like after this pandemic,” and has had to take a closer look at how things have changed during the pandemic to meet the needs of his clients.
“While looking at different ways to market Thunder Bay, we had to be flexible in how we delivered the program and be creative with how we reached our clients,” she said. “The hurdle is figuring out what works now.”
When Taylor assumed his role at CEDC this year, it meant a big shift for staff to adapt to new leadership.
“It was definitely a task of its own for the board, but I think we got through it just fine,” she said.
Looking to the future, Taylor is excited about the new “Pillars” to launch in the new year.
“Natural resources are areas where we need to spend a little more time,” she said. increase.
“Talent development continues to be a very hot topic. It’s a concern, so we’re going to focus on that area as well.”
She said there are exciting things happening, especially in the cruise ship industry, so tourism will definitely remain a priority for them.
“We need to continue to focus on developing our business and continue to work with small businesses as they are the foundation of our community,” she said. “We have a number of projects we would like to work on. We are hopeful that there will be some development on the Pool 6 line and that will be a priority over the next few years.”