“Bringing Investment Home” a partnership project between Community Futures Alberta Southwest, Alberta SouthWest Regional Alliance, and Community Futures Crowsnest Pass, received award-winning recognition at the Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI) conference held in Bridgewater Nova Scotia on June 24-26, 2015.
The Alberta SouthWest partnership received one of two awards presented at the conference that recognized project excellence and community impact. The city of Wellington Ontario won for a BREI project for a population of over 50,000 and the Alberta Southwest partnership won for a project with population under 50,000. Natalie Gibson, President of InnoVisions and Associates, who worked with the southwest Alberta communities, travelled to Nova Scotia to make a presentation about the Alberta project and to accept the award on behalf of the partnership.
“This was an interactive and participatory project, and the success is attributed to our businesses and municipal leaders who provided a lot of energy, support and ideas to make this a success,” says Bev Thornton, Executive Director of Alberta SouthWest Regional Economic Development Alliance.
The project developed innovative approaches to investment attraction and results greatly exceeded expectations.
- It is estimated that the year-long project generated and supported about $7M of new and expanded business investment in the region;
- 79 business consultation visits were conducted resulting in 105 referrals and action items for business and organizations;
- 20 businesses were identified as having potential for foreign direct investment;
- 39 consultation visits were held with municipalities to identify unique priorities of each community, define community assets, gaps, opportunities and roadblocks that affect investment attraction;
- 50 business success stories are identified for inclusion in future marketing of regional opportunities;
- Leading investment opportunity sectors are identified, as well as key challenges and assets
James Tessier, Project Manager for the initiative, acknowledges it was the strength of the collaborative partnership that led to the project’s success. “Each organization brought their skills and resources to the table leveraging their knowledge and their networks to make this project work”.
According to Tessier, “Tremendous stakeholder engagement throughout the region was realized with the participation of forty-six representatives from municipal government, business and economic organizations committing time to the project, learning new skills to assist their community, and providing valuable input to move the project forward. The business consultations were a success and matchmaking opportunities were identified, many of which are ongoing as the project now enters its second year”.