CASE STUDY 19: Connect Guelph-Wellington - BR&E Study
The Grow Guelph Business Retention and Expansion (Grow Guelph BR+E) program was a community-wide effort to investigate issues and concerns of, as well as opportunities for, local businesses. These findings will help Guelph set priorities for projects that address these needs and ultimately improve the profitability of local businesses here in Guelph. The program ran during 2014 and 2015.
The Grow Guelph BR&E Advisory and Taskforce Committee members included:
- Lori Arsenault – Career Education Council
- Mary Balfour – Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure
- Sue Bennett – University of Guelph
- Peter Cartwright – City of Guelph – Economic Development Services
- Jamie Doran – Innovation Guelph
- Alex Goss – City of Guelph – Local Immigration Partnership
- Gerry Horst – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Lloyd Longfield – Guelph Chamber of Commerce
- Barbara Maly – City of Guelph – Economic Development Services
- Stephen Morris – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Karol Murillo – City of Guelph – Downtown Renewal
- Doug Reddick - Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure
- Carol Simpson – Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo, Wellington and Dufferin
- Stephen Speers – Conestoga College
- Marty Williams – Downtown Guelph Business Association
- Scott Williams – Guelph Wellington Business Enterprise Centre
Committee members interviewed dozens of companies of all sizes across the City of Guelph. The standardized data allowed Grow Guelph to better understand the make-up of businesses in the region as well as their top challenges. The companies were roughly grouped by sector, cleantech, manufacturing, and agri-food; another set of companies represented businesses in the downtown core (e.g. retail, restaurants, etc.).
The data was also used by Innovation Guelph to inform strategic planning and to update the company’s business plan. It also supported the development of concepts related to establishing a larger innovation zone in Guelph (see Case Study 3: The Abundance Institute).