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Seeking Input: Lower Grand River Visitor Experience

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON –Haldimand County is currently developing a Lower Grand River Visitor Experience Strategy. As part of the consultation process, Haldimand County is inviting community members to participate in an online survey to gather insights that will shape the strategic direction of tourism development in the region.

The Grand River is woven into the fabric of Haldimand County, having served as a vital artery for commerce, and recreation. It holds a deep connection to the area’s cultural heritage.  Celebrating its 30th year, in 2024, as a recognized Canadian Heritage River, the Grand River stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of Canadian history. The Lower Grand River Visitor Experience Strategy aims to unlock the river’s potential while ensuring that we are mindful of our local ecology, and sustainability and are in alignment with the needs and interests of the public.

The online survey is currently open for all members of the community including business owners, operators and community organizations. The survey closes June 7th 2024 and can be accessed at businesshaldimand.ca.

“We are committed to ensuring that the tourism developments in Haldimand County are inclusive, innovative, and environmentally sustainable,” stated Lidy Romanuk, Manager Economic Development & Tourism Division. “The community’s contributions will play a vital role in shaping a tourism framework that shapes Haldimand’s vision for tourism and the Grand River moving forward.”

The development of this strategy was made possible with financial support from; Ontario’s Tourism Development Fund (2023), as well as the Haldimand County Business Development and Advisory Committee, Grand Erie Business Centre and Regional Tourism Organization 1 – Ontario’s  Southwest.

As the Lower Grand River Visitor Experience Strategy begins to take shape, it’s clear that a collaborative effort lies at its core. “The Grand River represents significant potential for Haldimand County’s tourism sector, drawing responsible visitors and creating unforgettable experiences. It’s through our collective efforts that we can maximize its allure and ensure sustainable growth for the region” said Joanne Wolnik, Executive Director, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation.

Tauri Caputo, General Manager of the Grand Erie Business Centre, stressed the significance of community engagement in this endeavour.”We recognize that the voice of the community is paramount in shaping the future of tourism in Haldimand County,” Caputo affirmed. “That is why we are calling on residents, businesses, and organizations to share their perspectives and ideas as we begin to shape the strategy.”

Provide your feedback in our online survey.

For more information on the survey and to contribute to the Lower Grand River Visitor Experience Strategy, please visit businesshaldimand.ca or contact tourism@haldimandcounty.on.ca

Haldimand entrepreneurs awarded grants and mentorships to help spark new tourism ideas

Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism Division is pleased to announce that three Haldimand tourism businesses were awarded a seed grant and mentorship to help spark new tourism ideas in Haldimand County.

The county’s “Spark” Mentorships & Grants Program is a partnership initiative between the Tourism Innovation Lab, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation, Haldimand County Tourism, Libro Credit Union, and the Grand Erie Business Centre. The program’s goal is to find, foster, and support new tourism ideas, experiences, and partnerships that will enhance current offerings, address gaps or challenges, motivate travel and longer stays, and increase year-round visits in the region.

Eleven Haldimand applications were received, with the top five selected to present their new tourism ideas at a virtual pitch session held on December 12th. A panel of partner representatives and a tourism innovator from outside the region selected the three winning applicants.

Each winner will be awarded a $3,000 seed grant and 3-month mentorship to help them get started with their new tourism ideas.

The 2023 Haldimand County “Spark” Program 2.0 winners are:

  • Jessica Lymburner & Blain Albin, Caledonia Chamber of Commerce (Enhancing Waterfront Experiences in Caledonia)
  • Natalie Strouth & Jan Vilaca, Door 25 (Taste like a Local, Door 25 Road Trip Getaway)
  • Justin Awde, Awdshire Village Resort (Awdshire Village Resort)

Haldimand Economic Development & Tourism along with Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation will be actively reaching out to work with all eleven program applicants to assist each of them in developing their business concepts further and bringing their ideas to reality.

Quotes

“The ‘Spark’ Program reflects our commitment to nurturing innovation and fostering growth within our tourism sector. These innovative ideas showcase the creativity and potential that exist within Haldimand County, enriching visitor experiences and supporting our local economy.” – Lidy Romanuk, Manager of Haldimand County Economic Development and Tourism.

“We’re delighted to witness the innovative concepts brought forth by Haldimand’s entrepreneurs through the ‘Spark’ Program. These initiatives exemplify the spirit of creativity and collaboration, aligning with our mission to drive forward-thinking tourism experiences in the region.” – Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Tourism Innovation Lab.

“Supporting initiatives like those recognized by the ‘Spark’ Program is pivotal in showcasing the diverse and enticing offerings of Ontario’s Southwest. These projects underscore the region’s commitment to fostering unique, immersive visitor experiences that contribute to the vibrancy and allure of Haldimand County as a tourism destination.” – Joanne Wolnik, Executive Director for Ontario’s Southwest.

Flood Watch

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – The Grand River Conservation Authority has issued a Flood Watch message.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) storm surge model forecast for the eastern end of Lake Erie is indicating a rise in lake levels just above the threshold of Lake Erie Flood Zone 1. The passage of a strong low pressure system is expected to bring high winds to Lake Erie on Saturday.

The lower Great Lakes are expected to see sustained winds of 45 to 60 km/hr from the south and southwest with gusts up to 90 km/hr on Saturday. The peak elevation of the surge is forecast to occur Saturday evening but lake levels are expected to be high through most of the day.

The public is asked to stay away from the Lake Erie shoreline due to strong wave action and elevated water levels, and to follow the direction of local flood coordinators and emergency officials. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from these areas.

Haldimand County Emergency Services will be actively monitoring conditions throughout the weekend. Residents should pay close attention to changing weather conditions and watch for updates flood messages. A flood guide for lakeshore property owners and other emergency preparedness resources can be found at HaldimandCounty.ca/floods.

This message will be in effect until 12:00 pm Sunday, January 14, 2024.

Program offers mentorships and grants to “Spark” new tourism ideas for Haldimand County

A second round of the “Spark” Mentorship & Grants Program has been launched to encourage Haldimand County entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profit organizations to create new tourism ideas for the region.

The program provides selected applicants with mentorship, $3,000 in seed funds and additional partner support to help get them started. Previous Haldimand County recipients were selected to develop unique getaway packages, organic flower farm experiences and workshops, and a new festival.

Organizers are looking for new tourism ideas that will enhance Haldimand County’s current tourism offerings, create high-quality tourism experiences, address gaps in tourism products and services, motivate longer stays and repeat visits, and increase year-round visits and tourism spending. They are especially interested in ideas that connect with agritourism, culinary, cycling, Grand River and waterfront activation, and the winter season.

Applications will be accepted from October 5th to November 9th, 2023. Following a juried review process, finalists will be invited to a Pitch Session where three winners will be selected.

The Haldimand County “Spark” Program is a partnership between Haldimand County, Ontario’s Southwest Regional Tourism Organization, Libro Credit Union, Grand Erie Business Centre and the Tourism Innovation Lab.

Ontario’s Southwest Regional Tourism Organization
“Ontario’s Southwest Regional Tourism Organization is excited to be partnering on the Haldimand County ‘Spark’ program once again. We’ve been inspired by the innovative ideas and results from the “Spark” program across the region to date, and we are eager to see what new ideas emerge through this year’s program in Haldimand County,” said Joanne Wolnik, Executive Director of Ontario’s Southwest Regional Tourism Organization.

Haldimand County
“We believe that every corner of Haldimand County holds untapped potential waiting to be discovered. With the return of the “Spark” program, we are ready to uncover and transform these ideas into unforgettable experiences,” said Lidy Romanuk, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism at Haldimand County. “We encourage anyone with an idea to apply to reimagine tourism, spark creativity, and craft an even brighter future for our community and its visitors.”

Libro Credit Union
“At Libro Credit Union, we believe that collaboration empowers individuals and enriches communities. We recognize that small businesses play a vital role in fostering such collaboration and driving our local economies. Discovering partnerships like the one with the Haldimand County Spark program is truly gratifying, as it highlights the importance of supporting small businesses and startups in our community. Embracing innovative ideas like this is truly what excites us at Libro!” said Stacie Blakey, Community Manager at the Libro Credit Union – Caledonia Branch.

Grand Erie Business Centre
“The ‘Spark’ program has a history of success in helping to develop and foster new tourism businesses and entrepreneurs. We are happy to support this program and partner with everyone involved to encourage new tourism experiences to be developed and offered in our communities.” said Tauri Caputo, General Manager of the Grand Erie Business Centre.

Tourism Innovation Lab
“We are very excited to be launching a second round of the “Spark” program in Haldimand County,” said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead of the Tourism Innovation Lab. “We have been inspired by the creativity, passion and innovative spirit of our previous Haldimand County program winners and look forward to the new ideas that will come forward.”

For more information on the Haldimand County “Spark” program and to register for an upcoming Info Session visit www.tourisminnovation.ca/Haldimand.

Haldimand County welcomes local businesses to apply to be featured in 2023 Holiday Wish Book

Haldimand County is inviting local businesses to apply to be included in the 2023 Haldimand Holiday Wish Book campaign. The Wish Book features local, handmade, artisan, & craftsman-made products, service-oriented gift certificates, as well as holiday events and experiences.

The Wish Book promotions include a paid social media campaign, a website listing, and a printed version of the guide which will be mailed to every household in Haldimand County. There is no cost for businesses to participate. All qualified businesses will be included in the social media campaign and website listing.

As the printed guide is limited in space, only selected businesses will be highlighted based on mix of products, quality of photos, and description provided. The deadline for printed guide submissions is Monday, October 2. Applications after this date will only be considered for the social media campaign and website listing.

“This is an excellent opportunity for local businesses to get their holiday offerings on shopping lists, and events and experiences in calendars for the upcoming holiday season,” exclaimed Lidy Romanuk, Manager, Economic Development & Tourism.

Businesses must have an online presence, as listings will link directly to their website, Facebook page, or another site like Etsy. If your business doesn’t have an online presence and you would like assistance in setting one up, contact Haldimand County’s Economic Development and Tourism team whose Digital Service Squad can assist you.

Learn more and complete the form at BusinessHaldimand.ca or email Tourism@HaldimandCounty.on.ca.

Digital Main Street program milestone

Haldimand County Economic Development and Tourism, in cooperation with Grand Erie Business Centre, has reached a milestone with the Digital Main Street program.

Haldimand County is pleased to announce more than $500,000 has been granted to local businesses through the Digital Main Street (DMS) Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) program. With an investment from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and administered by the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA), in partnership with the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA), the DTG program has empowered Haldimand County businesses to embrace digital tools and technologies. This milestone achievement highlights the collective effort to support local businesses in enhancing their online presence and adapting to the demands of the digital economy.

“We applaud all Haldimand County businesses receiving the Digital Transformation Grant for their dedication towards innovation,” added Lidy  Romanuk, Manager, Economic Development and Tourism. “Their commitment to embracing digital technologies demonstrates their resilience and vision for the future. We encourage other businesses in the County to explore the benefits of digital transformation and the support offered through the DMS Digital Service Squad.”

The Digital Transformation Grant provides financial support to eligible businesses, enabling them to invest in initiatives such as website development, e-commerce integration, digital marketing campaigns, and much more. By alleviating the financial burden associated with digital transformation, the grant has empowered local businesses to stay competitive and reach a broader customer base.

“The Digital Main Street Digital Transformation Grant program is a vitally important and immensely valuable resource for small businesses,” says Kay Matthews, Executive Director, OBIAA. “We join Haldimand County in celebrating the success of the program that continues to provide their local businesses with the knowledge, resources, and training to revitalize their operations with an expanded digital presence.”

Businesses interested in learning more can visit: www.HaldimandCounty.ca/business/digital-main-street/  or call 905-318-5932.

Business Basics Workshop provides tools for new entrepreneurs in Haldimand County

Business Basics Workshop provides tools for new entrepreneurs in Haldimand County

HALDIMAND COUNTY, ON – On Monday, May 29, 2023 Haldimand County Economic Development and Tourism is partnering with the Brantford Business Resource Centre and the Grand Erie Business Centre to bring the Business Basics Workshop to Haldimand County.

This interactive workshop will walk you through the basic start-up requirements including: registering a business and choosing a business name (the process and cost), legal entity structures (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) and their advantages and disadvantages, sources of financing, essential government & industry regulations (licensing, permits, zoning, taxation, WSIB, payroll), business planning and legal and insurance considerations.

“We are seeing an increasing interest in starting small and home-based businesses in Haldimand County. This workshop is a great opportunity for new entrepreneurs and those thinking about starting a business to learn the basics,” explained Lidy Romanuk, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism.

This free workshop will be offered in a hybrid format on Monday, May 29, 2023 at 9:00 a.m. – in person at the Haldimand County Administration Building – Haldimand Room, 53 Thorburn Street South, Cayuga or Virtual via Zoom.

To learn more or register, please visit businesshaldimand.ca.

Haldimand County launches new Business Retention and Expansion Program

Haldimand County is proud to announce the launch of a new Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) program designed to support and grow local businesses.

Officially titled Real Haldimand Business Support, the BR+E program will focus on identifying and addressing the needs of existing businesses in the County, with the goal of retaining and expanding current businesses, as well as implementing actions that will support the attraction of new businesses to the area. The program will provide a range of services to local businesses, including one-on-one interviews with economic development staff, follow-up supports connecting business owners to applicable resources, expansion information and available industry-specific marketing opportunities.   

The program also includes a targeted BR+E survey that’s used during confidential one-on-one interviews to gather information from local businesses about their current operations, challenges, and future plans. The intent of the survey is to support businesses looking to expand, identify areas where businesses may be struggling, and to provide information that can be used to develop policies and programs that will help key sectors to grow and thrive.

“Haldimand County is home to a diverse and vibrant business community, and we are committed to supporting the growth and success of our local businesses,” said Lidy Romanuk, Manager, Haldimand County Economic Development & Tourism Division. “Real Haldimand Business Support will provide the resources and support those businesses need to thrive, maintain their operations in Haldimand and create jobs. Now is the right time to check in with our businesses to better understand the lasting impacts of the past three years and any resulting opportunities or change in priorities. In addition to helping our businesses succeed, information gathered from this program will allow us to assess any changes we might need to make with our existing strategic plans.”

The BR+E program is looking to engage businesses of all types, and will place additional emphasis on connecting with businesses in some of Haldimand’s key industries: Agriculture, Manufacturing, Tourism, Downtown Retail, Professional Services and Healthcare. These sectors are vital to the local economy, and the program will work to identify and address the unique needs of these businesses.

Businesses interested in learning more about the program or getting involved can contact Jaymie Nelson, Project Manager Business Retention & Expansion at Opportunity@HaldimandCounty.on.ca to schedule an interview, or visit the website to fill out a contact form. All businesses large and small are encouraged to connect.

For more information visit: www.BusinessHaldimand.ca.

Haldimand County Business Excellence Breakfast rescheduled to Wednesday, Apr. 26, 2023

In light of the potential weather event and warning, Haldimand County has made the difficult decision to postpone the Business Excellence Breakfast event to Wednesday, April 26, 2023. The safety of all attendees is our top concern. We look forward to now welcoming businesses on the rescheduled date of  Wednesday, April 26, 2023.

This is a free networking event at the Riverside Exhibition Centre in Caledonia. The Business Excellence Breakfast is presented by Haldimand County in partnership with the My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program, Grand Erie Business Centre and Caledonia Agricultural Society.

This year’s breakfast will feature Eric Termuende speaking about One-Degree Shifts: Building Tomorrow’s Greatest Places to Work. In this engaging and takeaway-loaded presentation, workplace expert Eric Termuende will share what years of research, stories and insights uncover about the one-degree shifts leaders use to adapt to an ever-changing world around them and build incredible teams.

“The Business Excellence Breakfast is an opportunity for Haldimand County to thank our local businesses for all they do to make Haldimand County a great place to live and work,”  said Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley. “This year in particular, we would like to celebrate and acknowledge businesses for their achievements and challenges that they have overcome through the pandemic.”

“This event is also a great opportunity to connect with other local business owners, partners and members of Council,” added Lidy Romanuk, Manager, Economic Development and Tourism.

The My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator program is delivered by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario with an overall Government of Canada investment of $23.25 million through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), to support the recovery and strength of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario.

“Main streets play a vital role in growing local communities and economies for everyone, said the Honorable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario. “The Government of Canada will continue to invest in My Main Street and the small businesses the program serves, resulting in local economic growth and more vibrant neighbourhoods for Canadians and their families to call home.”

Haldimand County invites local business owners, representatives from Chambers of Commerce, Business Improvement Areas and business organizations across the county to attend. There is no cost to attend but registration is required, visit the www.haldimandcounty.ca/business and follow the links for the Business Excellence Breakfast or reach out to opportunity@haldimandcounty.on.ca (905) 318-5932 ext. 6331 to RSVP.

Haldimand County announces recipients of support through the Government of Canada-funded My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator program

Main streets play a vital role in growing the Canadian economy and supporting local communities. Haldimand County, in partnership with Grand Erie Business Centre and with funding received through the My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program, would like to acknowledge 20 local small business owners who have received a non-repayable contribution of $10,000.

The My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program is a data-driven community economic development initiative focused on revitalizing main streets with a healthy retail mix, while providing new and existing businesses on main streets with new economic opportunities.

With the funding received from My Main Street, participating Haldimand County businesses have been able to expand their businesses through the purchase of new products and equipment, diversify their service offerings and product lines, make leasehold improvements, and in some cases, start new businesses.

Haldimand County congratulates the following businesses that demonstrated ideas that will contribute to the downtown retail environment and increase foot traffic to their own business as well as neighbouring main street businesses.

Jarvis

Dunnville

Selkirk

  • Selkirk Social Purchase of an industrial espresso machine for new business.

Hagersville

  • Main 88 Purchase of new kitchen equipment to increase production.
  • Active Relief Centre Purchase of a new retail line.
  • Baejj Purchase of a new oven and freezer to increase productivity.
  • Plank Road Purchase of a point-of-sale system (POS) and kitchen equipment to increase efficiency.

Cayuga

  • Carolinian Café Purchase of a new espresso machine to increase productivity.
  • Caruso’s Purchase of equipment to open a new ice cream parlour attached to the main restaurant.

Caledonia

The My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator program is delivered by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario with an overall Government of Canada investment of $23.25 million, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to support the recovery and strength of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario.

Quotes

“Main streets play a vital role in growing local communities and economies for everyone. The Government of Canada will continue to invest in My Main Street and the small businesses the program serves, resulting in local economic growth and more vibrant neighbourhoods for Canadians and their families to call home.”

  • The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The program has changed the scale of how we think about our business, we have always been focused on local and now we are building a creative destination and with the My Main Street non-repayable contribution we have been able to expand our ability to offer those programs.”

  • Lacie Williamson, Owner, LVW Creative Barracks

“Haldimand County would like to thank the Government of Canada, FedDev Ontario and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario for their support of local business. Emerging from the pandemic, many businesses were seeking ways to encourage people to come back and shop in our downtowns. These funds assisted the start-up of three new businesses and helped the remaining businesses make purchases of equipment and tools to diversify and attract new customers to our downtowns.”

  • Lidy Romanuk, Manager, Economic Development and Tourism

“The Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) is delighted to be delivering the My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program to support local business and main streets across southern Ontario. Thanks to the support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, local businesses will have access to resources to help create economic opportunities for these main street communities, which is an essential component to a successful local economy.”

  • Doug Lindeblom, Managing Director, My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator

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