Media Release

Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. Hosts 2015 Annual General Meeting Showcasing 2014 Highlights and Successes

April 23, 2015: Winnipeg, MB – Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. (EDW) will host its annual general meeting today, showcasing highlights of activities undertaken in 2014 across all EDW operations, including its YES! Winnipeg initiative and its Tourism Winnipeg division. Guests will hear greetings from Minister of Jobs and the Economy Kevin Chief; His Worship Mayor Brian Bowman; and Mary Jane Loustel and Michael Scatliff, co-chairs of EDW’s board of directors. Marina James, EDW’s president and CEO, will deliver the keynote address.

EDW serves as Winnipeg’s primary economic development agency responsible for promoting and fostering business and economic growth, as well as tourism development, in and around the city. As advocates working on behalf of disparate entities both locally and internationally, EDW coordinates management strategies, synchronizes communications and marketing efforts, and forges consequential coalitions with corporate bodies, related organizations, and government and community stakeholders.

“By any measure, recent initiatives with EDW’s strategic partners and clients have achieved impressive results,” said Marina R. James, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. “From successful collaborations on a healthy city strategy and indigenous economic growth to consequential capacity building as a member of alliances within the advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and energy and environment sectors, among others, EDW is increasingly in the vanguard of ambitious efforts to position Winnipeg for the future. This is a role we’re proud to play, and we’re pleased that external experts have acknowledged our city’s forward-thinking approach as well. For the first time, Winnipeg earned a ‘Top7’ ranking on the Intelligent Community Forum’s list of the world’s most intelligent communities.”

From a broader marketing perspective, EDW completed two key activities in 2014 directed toward attracting foreign direct investment. First, EDW created a new website, which won the corporation a gold Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council. Year-end analytics indicate that EDW’s reimagined website demonstrably outpaced its predecessor in multiple areas, including a nine per cent increase in total visitation over the previous year, a six per cent bump in unique visits, a 21.1 per cent rise in page views and a 5.8 per cent increase in new visits. Selected areas of the new website experienced exceptional growth, especially with respect to information searches and resources. For example, the ‘Resources’ section of the website—which replaced the Data Centre on the previous site—experienced a surge of new visits, growing more than 2,000 per cent. And the ‘Why Winnipeg?’ section experienced visitor growth of 174 per cent compared to the analogous ‘Live in Winnipeg’ section on the previous site. 

A second significant marketing-related deliverable involved an extensive update to all 10 of EDW’s sector-specific profiles, which provide a foundational understanding of Winnipeg’s economy as evidenced within its key industries. Routinely praised by their intended audiences, these extensive narratives (and the various shorter documents derived from them) are now more effectively aligned with EDW’s existing marketing and branding efforts.  

Throughout 2014, EDW maintained its active involvement with the Consider Canada City Alliance, comprised of 11 major Canadian cities united in promoting Canada’s multifaceted trade and investment opportunities to international audiences. EDW participated in two investment missions last year (to Asia and Western Europe). These trips yielded concrete leads now being pursued. EDW also hosted/cohosted visiting delegates representing China, India and Malaysia, all of whom have expressed interest in strengthening investment in Winnipeg.

In its fourth full year as an initiative within EDW, YES! Winnipeg assisted 13 companies in 2014. These businesses predict to invest over $77 million and employ 820 full-time positions at maturity. From Price Industries, SkipTheDishes and Santorini Dairy to Samuel Coil Processors Winnipeg, Melet Plastics and Scootaround, businesses operating in multiple industries are betting on Winnipeg in ways that will create jobs and promote prosperity for years to come. Since its launch in January 2011, YES! Winnipeg has assisted 59 businesses with plans to open or expand operations here, with projected cumulative investment of $320 million and employment of 2,651 full-time positions when operations mature. These results, current as of December 31, 2014, put YES! Winnipeg at 63 per cent of its five-year goal of creating/retaining 4,200 jobs.

Through its Tourism Winnipeg division, EDW’s efforts to elevate the city’s profile in 2014 were advanced in important ways, with the meetings and conventions segment seeing particularly strong returns. A total of 227 events were held in Winnipeg in 2014 (a 15 per cent increase over 2013), which collectively total approximately 58,737 delegates (a 17 per cent increase over 2013) and $60.1 million in estimated direct expenditures compared to $51.4 million in 2013. Tourism Winnipeg and partners also booked a total of 154 future national and international conferences (a 22 per cent increase over 2013). Dates span until 2019 and collectively total approximately 35,694 delegates (a 55 per cent increase over 2013) and $36.5 million in estimated direct expenditures compared to $23 million in 2013.

Tourism Winnipeg also cohosted the eleventh annual Canadian Tourism Commission’s GoMedia Canada Marketplace in August 2014. Canada’s marquis travel media showcase, participants included over 140 Canadian tourism industry members and more than 100 Canadian and international travel journalists. Additionally, Tourism Winnipeg and EDW teamed up to promote Winnipeg as a ‘City of Architecture and Design.’ Via various initiatives advanced throughout the year, proposed actions were identified that will heighten Winnipeg’s singular appeal in this regard.

Tourism Winnipeg recorded further successes throughout 2014 as well, joining with the City of Winnipeg and Manitoba Film and Music, for example, in welcoming the forty-third annual JUNO Awards. Tourism Winnipeg also successfully generated awareness of the importance of tourism during National Tourism Week (June 16 to 20, 2014), and it scored a major victory in the sports and special events segment after securing the Canadian Football League’s 2015 Grey Cup, which is expected to draw 41,000 participants—the majority of whom are out-of-towners. And finally, Tourism Winnipeg’s digital marketing efforts saw impressive growth over the previous year, with results across multiple platforms showing marked improvements at rates ranging from 41 to 200 per cent.

An electronic copy of EDW’s 2014 annual report will be available following the AGM via its website at www.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com. Media is invited to attend EDW’s annual general meeting today at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg in the Presentation Theatre (second floor), located in downtown Winnipeg at 375 York Avenue. The event starts at 11 a.m. Interviews will be welcomed immediately following formal proceedings.

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About Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.
Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. (EDW) is the lead economic development agency for Winnipeg. EDW facilitates investment promotion and attraction, capacity building, tourism development, marketing and communications, and the management of market data. By applying competitive intelligence and by fostering relationships with industry leaders, government officials and community stakeholders, EDW evaluates potential opportunities and innovation drivers to develop key industries and define future economic growth. EDW also supports targeted sector, community and social development, and promotes Winnipeg’s diverse economy and high quality of life.

EDW leads global investment attraction, and local business retention and expansion, with its YES! Winnipeg initiative. YES! Winnipeg’s business development team assists in the creation and retention of jobs, identifies opportunities that attract new investment, focuses on expansion and helps local entrepreneurs launch new commercial ventures.

Tourism Winnipeg is the city’s official destination marketing organization tasked with increasing visitation and delivering the best possible visitor experience. A division of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., Tourism Winnipeg’s mission is to facilitate a healthy, prosperous, responsible and fully integrated tourism industry that enhances Winnipeg’s economic growth through the acquisition of meetings, conventions, sports and events, group travel and leisure tourism.

www.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com    

For further information, please contact:

Croft Petersmeyer
Director, Marketing & Communications
Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.
Phone: 204.954.1961 Cell: 204.898.4866
Email: croft@economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com

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