To ensure Winnipeg is competitive in the global investment arena, it must identify the resources available and perpetually improve on current capabilities. By acting as an industry advocate and liaison, EDW facilitates partnerships to build capacity and support innovation by promoting the skills, competencies and abilities of Winnipeg’s people and community at large.
World Winter Cities Association for Mayors (WWCAM)
Winnipeg is an accredited member-city of the World Winter Cities Association for Mayors (WWCAM), a network of over 20 northern cities worldwide dedicated to promoting winter technologies and experiences.
Concerted efforts over the years have been made to maximize and promote Winnipeg’s winter identity. From a recreational standpoint, attractions like The Forks (Winnipeg’s No. 1 tourist spot), Festival du Voyageur (Western Canada’s largest winter celebration), Assiniboine Park Zoo and FortWhyte Alive all highlight winter in one-of-a-kind ways.
The economic windfalls of our cold climate are realized in the GE Aviation Engine Testing, Research and Development Centre; the BellMTS data centre (cold weather reduces cooling costs); New Flyer Industries’ manufacturing plant (its locally built electric buses undergo cold-weather testing to ensure reliability); and Red River College’s MotiveLab (opening spring 2018), a highly specialized extreme-weather testing facility set to be the first of its kind in Western Canada.
Winnipeg Smart City Caucus
EDW organized a group of stakeholders to provide Winnipeg with a framework and a set of development tools to improve competitiveness, deepen social inclusion and enhance the city’s ability to adapt in today's fast-moving broadband economy. The group consists of Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS), Manitoba Hydro, the Manitoba Research Network (MRnet), Fibre.ca, Cisco Systems, the Cisco Innovation Centre, IBM, the University of Winnipeg, Red River College, Innovate Manitoba, Innovation Alley, Sisler High School, the Louis Riel School Division, the Information and Communication Technologies Association of Manitoba (ICTAM), the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, the City of Winnipeg and the Government of Manitoba’s Growth, Enterprise and Trade Department.
The role of the group is to:
- Develop a smart city platform that enables an efficient and effective means to deal with current and anticipated challenges and opportunities
- Develop action items and form task groups to execute identified actions
- Provide a forum to share resources, including ideas, information on new programs, initiatives, approaches, marketing materials, and financial and human resources
- Help refine the vision of smart city factors in ways that support Winnipeg’s economic future
- Leverage resources (financial and otherwise) necessary to carry out specified projects
Intelligent Community Forum (Canadian Chapter)
The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), based in New York City, has now launched ICF Canada. EDW was in Toronto to participate as a board member at the inaugural ICF Canada board meeting, where EDW was asked to serve as one of the regional vice-chairpersons. EDW will help formulate the ICF Canada governance model and key smart/intelligent community projects. Locally, EDW’s Smart City Caucus will also promote ICF Canada initiatives moving forward.
ICF Canada will work with communities to support efforts to build upon the key principles of successful intelligent communities, including:
- A focus on broadband infrastructure
- An emphasis on building a knowledgeable workforce by attracting and retaining talent
- Digital equality
EDW expects to leverage its position on the board to broaden partnership opportunities with other Canadian cities currently developing initiatives intended to advance multiple intelligent community principles.
In 2014 and 2016, Winnipeg was awarded Top7 Intelligent Community designations (the city’s highest-ever finishes) in the annual awards program presented by the ICF.
Strategic Inventory of Foreign-Owned Companies
Partially supported by Invest Canada-Community Initiatives funds, a major recent initiative involved identifying and providing an assessment of strategic foreign-owned companies within Winnipeg’s marketplace. In addition to providing a sizable employment and investment base, these companies positively impact overall productivity, encourage/stimulate technology transfers and increase overall investment in the domestic economy.
The report’s findings facilitated a deeper appreciation for the scale, scope and disposition of foreign-owned companies in Winnipeg. This work supports the formulation of new support strategies and mechanisms directed at building and strengthening relationships among stakeholders within the city’s economic ecosystem.
Advanced Manufacturing Stakeholder Alliance
EDW organized a group of stakeholders consisting of the Industrial Technology Centre, the Orthopaedic Innovation Centre, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the Composites Innovation Centre, the Manitoba Aerospace Association, and the Government of Manitoba’s Growth, Enterprise and Trade Department to promote opportunities and concerns pertaining to Winnipeg’s advanced manufacturing sector. The group's goal involves identifying the specific actions required to strengthen long-term strategic support by leveraging past investments, addressing challenges and seizing opportunities to grow and diversify the sector—particularly via small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The role of the group is to:
- Serve as a forum to communicate and update members on each other’s initiatives
- Be responsible for identifying high-level issues and possible responses/actions
- Develop action items and form task groups to execute identified actions
- Help leverage resources (financial and other) necessary to carry out specified projects
Additive Manufacturing Hub
Along with the Orthopaedic Innovation Centre (OIC), the Government of Manitoba and Magellan Aerospace, EDW has been part of a working group tasked with investigating the development of an advanced digital manufacturing hub in Winnipeg. EDW supported the development of a Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) proposal promoting this initiative, which resulted in the OIC securing $5 million from WD.
This funding stimulated additional private investment by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, a world-renowned additive manufacturing company that has agreed to establish its first Canadian manufacturing facility in Winnipeg. The opportunity to increase additive manufacturing capabilities in Winnipeg and Manitoba was highlighted in a report commissioned by EDW that provided critical baseline information to support this new investment.
Creative Campus Leadership Caucus
EDW continues to work with the Creative Campus Leadership Caucus in collaboration with the Arts and Cultural Industry Association of Manitoba, On Screen Manitoba, the Winnipeg Arts Council, Artspace, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, CentreVenture Development Corporation, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and qualified consultants to develop a structured approach to build on the Exchange District’s assets to help stimulate investment and growth. The strategy is designed to leverage existing strengths while concurrently addressing the real barriers that inhibit the Exchange District from reaching its maximum potential.
FCM/GAC Trade Working Group
EDW is part of a national working group formed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Global Affairs Canada (GAC) seeking input from municipalities on trade and investment. Ongoing feedback will provide the group with a clearer understanding of the existing efforts and capabilities of municipalities to support trade and investment initiatives.
Current efforts nearing completion are focused on the impact of trade and investment associated with the Canadian/EU Trade Agreement and the potential ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As well, EDW continues to work closely with its municipal partners to identify opportunities to attract new foreign direct investment through strategic research and targeted business outreach.
Factory of the Future: NRC Research Facility
EDW continues to work with the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA), the City of Winnipeg, the Government of Manitoba and the National Research Council Canada (NRC) to evaluate the most appropriate site for NRC’s Factory of the Future. The existing WAA property west of the terminal creates an opportunity to leverage the NRC facility for future development. Ongoing negotiations involve finalizing site requirements for the NRC facility.
Partnerships Enable Success
Partnerships are critical to the success of Winnipeg's economic development efforts. These partnerships result in business attraction and sector development.
Consider Canada City Alliance
EDW continues its involvement and commitment to the national foreign direct investment (FDI) initiative, the Consider Canada City Alliance (CCCCA), a collective of 11 large cities promoting global trade and investment opportunities within Canada.
EDW and its CCCA partners participated in a foreign direct investment (FDI) mission to China in late March 2015. Cities visited were Guangzhou, Shanghai and Nanjing. This was the CCCA’s third China mission, with the following sectors being targeted: advanced manufacturing, life sciences, ICT and agribusiness. EDW connected with 30 individual investor companies and several R&D institutes focused on food development and advanced materials.
EDW also took part in a CCCA foreign direct investment mission to Europe in November 2015, which targeted the cities of Rotterdam, Zurich and Stockholm. Once again, sectors of focus included advanced manufacturing, life sciences, ICT and agribusiness (e.g., agri-food processing). The mission resulted in 35 business-to-business meetings and multiple networking opportunities. EDW is presently following up with several firms interested in expanding their operations into Winnipeg.
Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region
EDW is actively pursuing a regional approach to economic development in collaboration with the Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region (PMCR). Working with regional municipalities and applicable stakeholders, the partnership’s efforts are focused on:
- Competitiveness: For the region to grow economically, it must be able to establish a level playing field with other economic regions and must be well-positioned to capably compete thereafter.
- Communication: Effective communication and stakeholder engagement can lead to significant opportunities that would otherwise be unachievable.
- Partnerships: Alliances with government, arms-length governmental agencies, private-sector firms and not-for-profit entities can build on collective strengths, leading to a situation where the total is greater than the sum of its parts
- Shared Prosperity: Thinking and acting as a region requires a noncompetitive environment in which the benefits of regional successes are enjoyed by all (i.e., a rising tide lifts all boats).
Industry Advisory Group – City of Winnipeg
EDW contributes to the Industry Advisory Group (IAG) established by the City of Winnipeg’s Department of Planning, Property and Development, which focuses on all facets of construction permits, policies and regulations. The IAG provides input to ensure that the city is aware of concerns, challenges or opportunities related to industrial, commercial and residential design, construction and facility management.
TeKConvergence Functional Food Project
EDW and its partners in Kansas City, Missouri, and Monterrey, Mexico, continue to advance a series of functional food projects through the newly created not-for-profit entity TeKConvergence, housed within the Kansas City and Area Life Sciences Institute. EDW has continued to provide support for this initiative by helping formulate the business development model and marketing strategy for the project. EDW has also engaged the executive director of the Manitoba Agriculture Health Research Network (MAHRN) as the project progresses to the commercialization phase.
Data Centre Strategy
EDW and its YES! Winnipeg sales force are working with the Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro and the private sector to advance a data centre strategy for the province. The focus is on midsized data centre operations that would serve regional needs as well as broader North American clients. Manitoba’s competitive hydroelectric rates and its extensive fibre-optic network offer competitive cost advantages for both in-house and third-party midsized data centre operations.
Capital Region Transportation Plan Working Group
EDW participates in the Capital Region Transportation Plan Working Group (CRTMP). This broad group of stakeholders includes representatives from the Winnipeg Airports Authority, CentrePort Canada, the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba and the Manitoba Heavy Construction Association. The CRTMP is reviewing transportation plans within the region, including Winnipeg, to formulate recommendations ensuring that strategic road infrastructure investments are made. EDW is providing input from the perspective of regional economic development and how regional transportation networks impact future growth.