Every month, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED) shares its latest news and information of interest for the local business community. This week’s edition features the work of Economic Development Officer for Tourism Joe Rees, the opening of a new intake for the Starter Company Plus program, Starter Company Plus success story Emerald Beauty, the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Visitor Centre, and an update on potential investors interested in land in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.
What’s Joe up to?
There is a saying around the PKED office: ‘Joe knows’.
Joe Rees, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development Officer for Tourism, is always in the middle of the action.
Alyssa Rowe, who recently opened Comfort Keepers, a health services business in Peterborough, summed it up best.
“Once you have the Joe experience, it’s hard to say no,” she said of him welcoming her to Peterborough & the Kawarthas. That experience made them chose the region over Newmarket and Kitchener/Waterloo for their business.
Sports tourism is soaring
The sports tourism industry has been identified as an opportunity to increase economic impact in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. With our rich sporting culture and heritage, it’s a natural fit for potential sporting events. Canadian sports tourism is a $6.8 billion-a-year industry and we’re looking to grow our share of that.
What many people may not know is that Joe is the helpful resource behind many of the sporting events that choose Peterborough & the Kawarthas as their host destination.
For example, in August, Trent University and Fleming College hosted 28 lacrosse teams from around the world at the U19 Women’s Lacrosse World Championship. On the field and in the stands, volunteers, players, fans and family worked hard to make the event incredibly successful.
Behind the scenes, Joe worked with the event organizer to connect with local accommodators and the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance to secure an Economic Impact study of the event. The results of that study will be released to the public in late October.
Joe also supported the bid for the 2020 Ontario 55+ Summer Games in Peterborough. There are over 19 different events offered through the Ontario 55+ Summer Games including team sports, racquet sports and card games. The games begin on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.
Finally, Joe’s also working to include Peterborough & the Kawarthas in a national racquet sport tournament as a stop on their Canadian tour.
Starter Company Plus is open
Do you have a business idea that you’ve been itching to bring to life? Do you want to start or grow your new venture with support and training from accomplished experts?
Well, you’re in luck.
The latest intake for Starter Company Plus opened on Monday, September 9th.
The program is designed to provide business training for entrepreneurs (from aspiring to experienced), aged 18 and over in the City and County of Peterborough who are launching a business or expanding an existing business (that’s been operating for five years or less).
Starter Company Plus is a program offered through the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Business Advisory Centre, with funding from the Government of Ontario. If you’re a resident of the City and County of Peterborough, you will free receive support services through Peterborough & the Kawarthas Business Advisory Centre.
If you live outside of Peterborough & the Kawarthas, please see the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs for information on an office that can support you. The Starter Company Plus program is offered throughout the Province of Ontario.
For full eligibility criteria, please see the eligibility requirements for Starter Company Plus.
Mandatory Workshop Dates 2019
All workshops take place at VentureNorth in the downstairs boardroom located at 270 George Street North, Peterborough.
- Tuesday, October 15th – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Monday, October 21st – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Monday, October 28th – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Monday, November 4th – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, November 12th – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The business plan is due Monday, November 18th no later than 4 p.m., with the in-person business plan presentation to community judges on Monday, November 25th (times TBD).
Emerald Beauty grows
One of the biggest challenges for Peterborough & the Kawarthas economy is spousal employment.
Quite frequently, one partner finds work in our region, while their partner or spouse has a difficult time finding opportunities in their field of work. This challenge often makes it hard to keep the couple and their family in our region long term, which has a ripple effect on the local economy.
Entrepreneurialism is a great solution to the spousal employment conundrum — and Niamh Bradley is the perfect poster girl for this timely issue.
Niamh and her fiancée Eamonn moved to Peterborough & the Kawarthas from Northern Ireland four and a half years ago, after he landed a job at McCloskey International Ltd.
Niamh wanted to open a nail and esthetics business but needed to put together a business plan and learn the ins-and-outs of doing business in Canada. So she enrolled and was accepted into the 2017 Starter Company Plus program offered by the Business Advisory Centre (a division of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development).
Shortly after, Emerald Beauty was born and quickly built a loyal clientele.
The business was booming at their Charlotte Mews location, so much so that Emerald Beauty moved to a larger storefront at 139 George Street North in August and hired four new employees.
Visitor Services update
The Peterborough & the Kawarthas Visitor Centre in downtown Peterborough is a popular resource not just for visitors but seasonal residents and locals alike.
The Visitor Centre has been in its downtown location for three summers now, and after adding more directional signage and visitor parking, there has been a significant increase in walk-in traffic. There was 20 per cent growth of in-person inquiries at the Visitor Centre during our summer season, which ran from May 13 to August 31, 2019.
“We’re starting to see an increase in walk-in traffic to our downtown Visitor Centre,” says Jaimie Eastabrook, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism’s Visitor Experience Officer. “It has proven to be a great location as it’s accessible by foot, bicycle, motorized vehicle and boat with the proximity to the Peterborough Marina.”
There was also a year-over-year increase of 33 per cent in Mobile Visitor Services throughout Peterborough & the Kawarthas this summer. Mobile Visitor Services were offered at over 25 locations, including Indian River Reptile Zoo (Asphodel-Norwood), Lock 31 – Buckhorn (Trent Lakes), Burleigh Falls Inn (North Kawartha), and Downtown Millbrook (Cavan Monaghan).
“Mobile Visitor Services allows our travel counsellors to get out and about in the County of Peterborough, visit the townships, and talk to visitors as they are out exploring the region — giving us an opportunity to encourage travellers to stay longer, spend more, and come back soon,” Jaimie explains.
Open year round, the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Visitor Centre is centrally located at 270 George Street North (Suite 101) in downtown Peterborough at the corner of King and George Streets.
The Visitor Centre provides a wide selection of information. This includes an online ‘live chat’ function at the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism website at thekawarthas.ca, and the opportunity to connect with trained travel counsellors to assist in building your personalized itineraries.
Opportunities knock for investment in Peterborough & the Kawarthas
Companies and investors are knocking on Peterborough & the Kawarthas’ doors.
“In the last quarter, there was sizeable interest from investors looking for land in the industrial, manufacturing, food processing, retail, and investment sectors,” says PKED CEO and President Rhonda Keenan.
These investors are from across Canada, but primarily come from the Greater Toronto Area and are very interested in what Peterborough & the Kawarthas has to offer.
For example, requests ranged from as large as a 175,000 to 250,000-square-foot buildings, to two smaller 10,000-square-foot buildings.
Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development also received inquiries regarding two separate, two-acre commercial properties.
PKED is working closely with the County and City of Peterborough on their official plans to ensure clear strategies are implemented, and that potential investors considering Peterborough & the Kawarthas are receiving the assistance they need.
It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes, even if the inventory is there and all services are in place, there are other factors outside of our control that may result in an investor pulling out or choosing another region.
“Just because they’re knocking on our door doesn’t always mean they’re going to choose us in the end,” Rhonda says. “But we need to be as equipped as possible in our region to handle these investors’ requests to have the best opportunity to bring businesses here to our region.”
And follow Rhonda Keenan on Twitter to see what business leaders she’s meeting with next.
This story was created in partnership with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development.