The Yellowhead Investment Corridor (A collaborative approach to FDI )

Yellowhead Highway

There were a multitude of Economic Developers in the room that day, as we all attended a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) training course in the small town of Beausejour, Manitoba. Three of us, in particular, Vern May, Marilyn Crewe and Douglas Barill walked out with a big plan.

Problem: Foreigner Direct Investment strategies abound in mid-sized and larger cities in Canada. Manitoba ranked dead last in Canada, and it did have some activity in Winnipeg… but what about the rural areas?
The interior of Manitoba had a strategic advantage, especially in the ability to process agricultural commodities but the three economic developers that walked out of the room that day knew, there was NO ability to fund the implementation of an investment strategy.

Why? –The region(s) we represented had populations under 20, 000 people.
How do we get big city plans, big city FDI, and international awareness into Rural Manitoba?

Solution: Collaboration between municipalities. Pool resources, funding , and get clever with a software application.

1) Collaboration-The three of us gather two other partner communities along the Yellowhead Highway (16)  and my office applied on behalf of 5 communities, to the Federal Government for a $100,000 project.

2) Research- We contracted one of eth best international site locators firms in eth country to build capacity fo us domestically and abroad- as well as give a great big report card on what can be done within the region to raise our profile

Implementation is happening now,  and again LightShip mapping intelligence will be utilized.

tip: the biggest challenge to a project like this, is not the collaboration among economic developers,  it is elected officials asking the question  “why are we working with our competition down the road”. This is a narrow view that focuses on the “assessed revenue” that comes with a development to the municipality that it physically locates in and must be managed. It fails to see that job creation is a regional matter- not to mention the resulting dispensing of disposable income-

What is that saying? A rising tide floats all boats… This is true, especially when it comes to Foreign Direct investment and community collaboration.   

More to follow,

Strategic Approach to Development

Douglas Barill

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