2017 was a very exciting year for our team and a rewarding one for the local economy. Each division celebrated major accomplishments, including significant investments from both new and existing international companies, increased economic impacts generated by emerging tourism markets and record breaking participation in entrepreneurial programs offered through the Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre. This report is intended to inform our community, partners and stakeholders on the Department’s yearly accomplishments and demonstrate our transparency in servicing the community’s economic development and tourism portfolio through an integrated and strategic approach.
Guided by the City’s long term vision of supporting a vibrant and innovative local economy, we continued to focus on getting results for the community; results that included twenty-five new and/or expanding industrial businesses, 826,000 square feet of occupied space and 216 new jobs. While we welcomed two new foreign direct investments to the community (Pacorini Canada Ltd. and Bropak Inc.), another significant expansion commenced at Ferrero Canada Ltd. with the construction of their new state-of-the-art $70-million cocoa processing facility. From a commercial perspective, 220,189 square feet of space was constructed over the calendar year, highlighted by the new Holiday Inn Express and Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel developments. Overall, building permit values exceeded $202-million, representing the second highest annual total in history and reflective of the community’s competitive advantages across all development sectors.
Tourism Brantford continued to emphasize sport tourism, motor coach/group travel and corporate meetings and conventions as priority target markets throughout the year. These markets attracted over 46,000 visitors to the community and generated an estimated economic impact of approximately $5.3-million. As a testament to our community’s unwavering volunteer support network and world-class sporting facilities, we successfully co-hosted the 2017 Ontario ParaSport Winter Games in partnership with the County of Brant. The Games were the largest on record in recent years for ParaSport Ontario and in recognition of the exceptional job that our communities accomplished, the Games were nominated as a finalist for the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance’s 2018 PRESTIGE Award for “Sport Event of the Year” in the budget under $1-million category.
The Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre (BRC) continued to link entrepreneurs and small business owners with the tools they need for growth and development. BRC staff completed 933 one-on-one business consultations, resulting in 225 new business start-ups and the creation of 373 new jobs. In addition, BRC staff provided training, mentoring and provincial grants of $255,000 collectively to 61 area entrepreneurs through the Province’s Summer Company, Starter Company and Starter Company Plus programs.
Our Department’s successes in 2017 were the result of a team effort—engaged community partners, dedicated staff and a supportive City Council conducive to growth and prosperity. As we navigate through 2018, we look forward to strengthening the culture of collaboration for which Brantford is known and contributing to the long term economic well-being of this community and its citizens.