Economic Development
August 2020: News & Updates
Recovery
Business Development Recovery Team
The Business Development Recovery Team has been primarily focused on Tourism, Entrepreneur & Business Services, including the Ready to Reopen Program, and social media initiatives.

Huron County BizMap
Businesses continue to be added and updated in the Huron County BizMap. Businesses that have completed the “Ready to Re-Open” program are recognized with the Ready to Re-Open badge on their BizMap business listing. Businesses are starting to use the new feature on the BizMap that allows them to add and update their business listing themselves, thereby significantly lowering the amount of staff time required to keep the map up-to-date. All additions and updates are approved by County staff before appearing on the map. Huron County Economic Development and GIS continue to work on new updates and improvements to the BizMap. Add or update your business here
Community Development Recovery Team
Work on the Local Community Recovery Action Groups (LCRAG) continues. One additional LCRAG has started in Bayfield. The Hensall and Zurich LCRAG's have merged to better share resources. LCRAG's continuing include:

·     Ashfield Colborne Wawanosh
·     Central Huron
·     Exeter
·     Hensall-Zurich
·     Howick
·     Bayfield
Data and Research Recovery Team
The Data and Research Recovery Team provides the Recovery Team and County Council with reliable, current insights on the state of our economy and communities. During the month of July, the team ran the Bringing Employees Back to Work survey, which helped identify challenges businesses were having recalling furloughed staff. The team also conducted a round of micro-interviews with business owners to better understand discretionary spending patterns. The County-wide residents' survey on which the team is working on in conjunction with Dr. Leith Deacon, Assistant Professor in Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph continues to move forward, with roll-out targeted for mid-August.
Business Support Hotline
There has been a positive response to the Business Support Hotline that was implemented in March to provide Huron County businesses with a number to call for information, resources and one on one consultations to help them during this crisis. The number is 519-440-1267 or email.
Entrepreneurship & Business
Ready to Re-open Huron
Ready to Re-Open Huron is a new program launched by Huron County Economic Development in June to help businesses, organizations and the public prepare for commerce in “the new normal.” The program helps connect businesses and organizations to experts and up-to-date resources and aims to encourage consumer confidence in doing business in Huron County. 

To complete the program, businesses and organizations must attend a one-hour webinar (which continue through August), review a toolkit and sector-specific documents and sign a pledge that they plan to continue to implement best practices for the safety of customers and employees.

Since the program’s launch on June 22, 150+ businesses have registered for the workshops, 122 attended and 86 have taken the pledge. 


For more information about the program, please visit: huroncounty.ca/ready-to-reopen.
Business Workshops & Events
For the month of August, two webinars have been added, in addition to nine scheduled Ready to Re-Open Huron webinars. Crisis Marketing: Learn How to Rapidly Generate New Customers and Revenue Taken by Covid-19 is scheduled for August 13. WSIB Health and Safety Excellence Program – Information Session is scheduled for August 19. Fall workshops development is also underway.

Summer Company Program
In July, five students were busy operating their businesses, continuing to make sales and working closely with a Business Coach at Huron County Economic Development. The student-run businesses are listed below and can all be found on Facebook for a list of products and services. Each business will also receive an individual spotlight post on the Huron County Economic Development Facebook page.

  •  Josiah Peterson from Clifford and attends F.E Madill – The Whistling Woodworker
  • Brody Nesbitt from Byth and attends CHSS – Brody’s Builds
  • Sydney Pollock from Goderich and attends Kings College via GDCI – Blake Street Bakery
  • Callum Robinson from Goderich and attends Simon Frasier University via St. Anne’s – Menesetung Lawn Care
  • Vienna van Veen from Wroxeter and attends McMaster University via F.E. Madill - Swimming with Vienna

They also received their first installment of their grant.
Local PPE Suppliers
The Recovery Team has put together a list of the local suppliers selling PPE. If you are not on the list please email and we will get you added to the list.
Resource Development
The Recovery Team has created and compiled lots of helpful resources to help your business navigate through this challenging time.
Agriculture
AgPrize 2020
The first five rounds of AgPrize challenge questions have now expired, and Huron County Economic Development looks forward to announcing prize winners in the very near future. There was widespread interest, with a variety of backgrounds and age groups represented. As always, organizers continue to hunt for new challenge questions for upcoming rounds of AgPrize. If you have a problem on the farm that needs a fresh set of eyes, send a short cell-phone video about it to aripley@huroncounty.ca.
Ag Ec Dev Forum 
Huron County Economic Development and OMAFRA are looking forward to hosting the first-ever virtual Municipal Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Forum on November 18-19, 2020. The theme is ‘Growing a Better Future: Agri-food & Municipal Collaborations in the 2020s’, with a focus on how industry and local government can work together to foster innovation, food security, and resilience in uncertain times. Registration and speaker details will be available in August. Contact Alex Ripley for more details.
New Agricultural Products
Explorer Solutions are developing business cases around five promising agricultural opportunities. The consultants are currently preparing detailed cases, with full analysis of costs, benefits, and risks, for the cultivation of hemp, hazelnuts, grapes (both fresh and for sale to winemakers), and maple syrup (as a value add for landowners who are not currently tapping their trees). A fifth business case will look at a small abattoir, set up to do custom butchering, and operating on a co-op ownership model.
Workforce
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Land Development
During the month of July, Huron County Economic Development continued to field inquiries from developers interested in investing in Huron County. Staff continue to work closely with our partners in other county departments and at the municipal level to support development however possible. With construction now permitted across sectors, many projects are moving forward again.
Tourism
What's Happening In Huron County?
If you would like to receive our weekly newsletter on all things happening in Huron County, email Reanne Clark!

Here is a link to our latest newsletter here
Ontario’s West Coast ‘In Your Backyard’ Tourism Campaign
The ‘In Your Backyard’ tourism campaign is in full force and includes the following:
  • Five billboards went up on June 29 – three around Goderich, one in Clinton and one in Exeter.
  • Social media campaign running on Ontario's West Coast Facebook and Instagram for over a month.
  • Print & digital ads in local newspapers: Stops Along the Way, Huron-Perth Boomers, Bayfield Breeze.
  • Spotify ads will run throughout July and August.
  • Dianne Brandon & Rob Boyce are taking photos for the campaign. These photos will be available for use by tourism partners in the future.
  • Adam Sipione is creating 12 x 20 second videos to highlighting different tourism theme areas that will be part of the In Your Backyard campaign.
  • The campaign has been adapted for use by some different municipalities (ACW, Howick, South Huron/ Experience Exeter, and Blyth Community Betterment) in Huron County.
2020 “In Your Backyard” Guide
The re-imagined annual visitors’ guide (“In Your Backyard” 2020 Guide) was direct mailed to 28,000 households across Huron County and area at the beginning of July. A digital copy of the guide is also available on www.ontarioswestcoast.ca. A supply of printed guides was also distributed to local visitor centers and to tourism operators at this time.

Hiking, Fishing & Paddling and Cycling Guides
You can now access digital copies of all our guides on the Ontario's West Coast website. This includes our Hiking, Fishing & Paddling and Cycling guides.

If you are a business and are wanting physical copies of the Hiking or Fishing & Paddling guides, you can call Goderich Tourism (519) 524-6600 to arrange a time to pick some up.

At this time we do not have any physical cycling guides available. Click here for digital copies
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Huron Tourism Recovery Town Hall
Huron County Economic Development held two virtual Tourism Recovery Town Hall sessions on Monday July 6. Each session included updates on the Huron County Tourism Plan, the new Ontario’s West Coast website and the In Your Backyard local tourism campaign. The remainder of the Town Hall allowed for tourism providers to discuss issues, concerns, and successes they had been experiencing since reopening.
Social Media Engagement
During the course of the month, the channels placed a greater emphasis on showcasing businesses who successfully undertook the Ready to Re-Open Huron program and on the students in the Summer Company program. Content related to the Summer Company students were some of the most popular posts in recent months, having an extremely large reach and garnering much community interest. In the month of July, Huron County Economic Development’s social media accounts had a reach of approximately 80,000 people.

Over the course of July, Ontario’s West Coast continued its strategic approach to their promotions, centering every post around the In Your Backyard campaign (IYB). The online campaign now features both photo content and video content. Ontario’s West Coast was able to promote its first local same sex couple in an IYB campaign this month. In addition, a staff person attended the Blyth Outdoor Market to livestream its happenings on Facebook. In the month of July, Ontario’s West Coast’s social media accounts had a reach of 70,000 people.
New Ontario’s West Coast Website
Huron County Economic Development continues to update and add content to the newly-refreshed tourism website and has spent the month working with municipalities to provide content on the different communities throughout Huron County. Working alongside the Planning Department, Huron County Economic Development has uploaded interactive and downloadable cycling maps onto the website. Learn more!
Immigration Partnership
Updates
The fifth ‘Newcomer Youth Gab’ session was held in July. The Gab sessions have expanded to include Perth County service providers in the facilitation to ensure sustainability of the initiative and to ease transition of in-person sessions. Each session has had an increase of the number of youth participating. The topics are selected by the youth and the Huron County Immigration Partnership assists to find people to address their information needs. In July, the topics selected by youth were low-cost or no-cost activities for youth and how to keep safe during COVID while still having fun.
 
Huron County Immigration Partnership is working with other area immigration partnerships to create regional webinars for employers on hiring and retaining newcomers. The Partnership has collaborated with Immploy, an immigrant employment agency, to develop and host the webinars.
 
Additional resources have been added to the Huron County Newcomer Settlement page, including resources in many languages about safety at work and preventing the spread of COVID-19 that are specific to different industries. 
Meet the Team