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In This Issue ...                                       February 19 , 2016

Economic Development

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Apply now for a 2016 Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence!
The Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program supports and recognizes the dedication, hard work and innovation of local agri-food businesses and individuals who are adding value to existing products, helping create jobs and contributing to economic growth.

Submit your application by 5:00 p.m. on April 15, 2016 to be eligible for a chance to win one of the following awards:
  • Premier's Award - one $75,000 award available
  • Minister's Award - one $50,000 award available
  • Leaders in Innovation Award - three $25,000 awards available
  • Provincial award - 45 $5,000 awards available 
Economic Development
HowHow Infographics Support Business Retention + Expansion Projects
One of the challenges with Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) projects is effectively communicating the vast amount of information that is collected. As part of the BR+E program, it is important to develop a final report and action plan. This plan will act as a full and complete record of the project. It is also recommended that Coordinators consider writing a short summary that can be shared with businesses and the broader community. One of the ways to achieve this is by using i nfographics.

Infographics are a great communication tool; they give the reader an overview of the who, what, when, where and most importantly, why, all in about a page or so. They use visuals to convey complex information in a more easily-digestible format.

Research shows that 40% of people respond better to visuals.  Infographics make it easier for people to consume and retain large amounts of information because they harness the human ability to see trends and patterns.

Would you like to see examples? Follow this link:   How Infographics Support Business Retention + Expansion Projects.
Example of an infographic - accurate details displayed

When properly constructed, infographics help to make long, data-dense information more understandable and enjoyable to read. Creating an infographic for a summary of a project allows the readers to get the main information from the report in just a short amount of time, and retain more of the material that is presented. Infographics are a great feature of any BR+E report, and help to share data to the reports targeted audience.

Want to create your own infographics?  Piktochart and Canva are two user-friendly and low-cost options.

WinHow to Win Markets and Influence Grocery Buyers
Bigger isn't always better in the eyes of one businessman.
"Why did we decide to focus on local? Because it's difficult for the big players to do." That's the business strategy used by Jim Beveridge of B&H Your Community Grocer, an independent retailer in Kemptville.  His grocery store uses its small size to its advantage in the David and Goliath struggle for market share and sales.
Grocery retailers, chefs, and other food buyers are looking for local product and they want to buy local  says Jessica Kelly, a direct farm marketing specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). "Yet, when it comes to buying from farmers and small food processors, they say there's often a gap between what they need, when they need it, and how they do business" she adds.
OMAFRA is partnering to deliver several one-day "Selling Food to Ontario" workshops in March and April, bringing together farmers and small food processors to learn how to address those gaps.
Ministry specialists in business management, business development, food regulation and food safety can help business owners and managers learn more about different sales channels and how they work so participants can ultimately decide if there is an untapped sales channel that is right for their business. Each workshop is customized to local interests with subjects ranging from market channel opportunities, food regulations, food safety, pricing for profit, packaging and labelling. Participants will also learn where to get more information and support.
Your business might benefit from selling to a local grocery store or other retailer, a restaurant or public sector organization like a university or school nutrition program. The key is to invest few hours to learn about different market opportunities and what customers expect.
The Selling Food to Ontario workshops are available: March 2nd in Smiths Falls, March 3rd in Renfrew, March 8th in Picton, March 9th in Vineland and April 5th in Bancroft. Space is limited for these workshops so register today. 

DevelopingDeveloping Policies and Procedures for Volunteer Organizations
As demands for accountability and transparency in volunteer organizations increase, it is more important than ever that not-for-profit organizations develop policies and procedures that demonstrate they are acting with due diligence, as required.

The process of developing policies and procedures is an important duty for a Board of Directors and should not be delegated to a single person or staff. The task is not easy nor quickly done but once completed, policies and procedures are an effective tool for the future.

Agriculture Development
EncouragingOntario Encouraging Fire Safety for Barn Owners
Best Management Practices Can Reduce the Risk of Barn Fires
Barn fires can cause a devastating loss of livestock and assets for owners in addition to emotional and economic hardships for families, businesses and communities.
There are best practices to follow to reduce the risk of barn fires:
  • Have a qualified professional complete assessments of all farm buildings
  • Have all electrical equipment inspected yearly by a licensed electrical contractor, including wiring, mechanical and heating systems
  • When heat lamps are required, protect the immediate area with non-combustible sheathing, keep the area around the heat lamp clear of clutter or bedding materials that could catch fire and only use heat lamps with the CSA or ULC label
  • Establish good housekeeping practices - eliminate clutter inside and outside the buildings to reduce the risk of fire spreading
  • Be sure to check exposed electrical equipment for corroded parts and repair all damaged fixtures or equipment as soon as possible
  • Avoid storing dangerous fuels and chemicals such as gasoline, cleaning fluids or solvents inside barns
  • Ensure that all applicable regulations are followed when constructing or renovating farm buildings
  • Make sure all equipment and motors are in good working condition, and free from dust and debris
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand
  • Make sure a reliable source of water is available and easily accessible by fire departments.
Ontario encourages owners of farm buildings to follow these best management practices when working with livestock in farm buildings. Planning ahead to reduce risks and prevent accidents will help protect employees, family members and animals.

GrowingGrowing Forward 2 Webinar for Processors - Join Us
Planning to implement a project and apply for Growing Forward 2 cost-share funding assistance? Join one of the Growing Forward 2 webinars and gain valuable tips when completing your application.
Dates :
Monday, February 22, 2016, 10:00 am to 10:30 am
Monday, February 22, 2016 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm (French)
Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 10:00 am to 10:30 am 

CraftOntario Craft Brewery ramps up production with Growing Forward 2 funding
Time is always in short supply when you run a business. It's something Brent Davies always seems to run out of. He's vice president and co-owner of Wellington Brewery, so finding the time to look into funding opportunities just never seems to rise to the top of his priority pile.

 "When you are a small company, and trying to do everything, you just don't have the manpower to investigate funding options," says Brent. "But after successfully accessing three cost-sharing projects through Growing Forward 2, I would encourage other small business to find the time. It's a well-run program and worth the effort."

Wellington Brewery is Canada's oldest independently owned craft brewery. Based in Guelph for the past 30 years, the company employs 45 full-time and 17 part-time staff. "We have grown slowly over the years, on purpose. We want to grow within our means and stay true to supporting our local community with our core business in Guelph and the Kitchener-Waterloo area."

Davies first heard about Growing Forward 2 funding through other members of Ontario Craft Breweries who had accessed funds.

After learning a little more about the program, Wellington Brewery decided to work with a business advisor - who had successfully worked with other breweries to access funding - to help them through the Growing Forward 2 application process.

Taking the time to apply has helped the brewery grow their bu siness while maintaining their local craft feel. Wellington Brewery has had three projects approved through the fund.