There has been a lot of news coverage over the past year regarding autonomous vehicles. It is an area of interest for the Province with an $80 million Innovation Network announced in the April 2017 Provincial budget. Stratford has been designated as a test bed in Ontario. This builds on its work as an Intelligent Community with fibre penetration, applications development and its long automotive history.
Work experiences are a critical component of preparing youth for transition to adulthood and the workforce. Benefits to youth who participate in work experiences include; gaining career readiness skills, and establishing a work history and connections that can aid in future employment. Soft skills including; gaining self-confidence, self-discipline, getting along with others, and the responsibility of making and managing one’s own money.
Within the past several months, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership staff have met with more than 30 companies expressing interest in Ontario. In addition, staff have completed a direct mail campaign to over 2000 automotive firms and communicated with other entrepreneurs and businesses through various social media channels. These firms can be broken into four categories. Most of the firms we have met with want greater market penetration into the North American, Canadian and/or Ontario markets.
Donald Trump has been elected the new president of the United States. His first 100-day plan includes securing approval for Keystone XL Pipeline, dismantling the Obama Clean Power Plan and renegotiating or cancelling the North American Free Trade Agreement.
I am going to take this opportunity to provide an update on some of the initiatives of SLEP. We currently have a strong pipeline of investment prospects, particularly in the bio-chemical/energy sectors. We expect some of them to materialize over the next six months into new community investments. We are also working with prospects in other industry sectors. Sarnia-Lambton has struggled compared with other Southern Ontario municipalities in coming out the 2007/08 recession. However, we feel there is strong potential for new growth as we get closer to 2017.
There have been countless articles written in recent years regarding revitalizing manufacturing in southern Ontario. Nearly all of them reference innovation as the catalyst and most equate this with increasing knowledge intensity, research and product development and the use of integrated computer systems and automation. Industrial automation/ robotics can potentially provide significant competitive enhancements.
Every summer, students start the sometimes daunting task of looking for summer employment, wanting to make some money and to have something to put on their resumes. For some students though, they are more interested in becoming self-employed in the summer. This allows them to create their own job that they enjoy, while being in control of their own business. This is why Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP) runs the Provincial program, Summer Company.
One of the challenges of writing a regular column is asking yourself what to write about. This article will have no specific focus other than providing a spattering of current activities involving SLEP.
Addressing climate change was a major theme and promise of the now elected Liberal parties during the recent federal and provincial elections, which has a major focus on protecting the environment and investing in clean technologies.
The creative industries has emerged as a major and growing source of GDP for Ontario. The sector contributes in the order of $12.2 billion in GDP for Ontario’s economy annually. Ontario’s creative industries include: design, Internet (wired and mobile) fashion, film and television production, music, book publishing, advertising and magazine publishing, interactive digital media, and commercial theatre. In neighbouring Michigan the creative sector is projected to grow by 11% per year to 2018 and is now Detroit’s third largest sector.