[Update] Ontario’s Investment Ready: Certified Site Program

November 2015

The Investment Ready: Certified Site Program has just celebrated some important milestones: its 2-year Anniversary and the close of its application intake round on October 30, 2015.

Since the initial launch of this Province-wide program for industrial sites in December, 2013, the first in all of Canada, Ontario has already certified 10 sites, has 40 sites currently undergoing the process and one site sold!  One of these 10 sites is right here in Windsor-Essex, located in Lakeshore on Patillo Road!

The importance of being investment ready.

The reality is that the site selection game is changing. There are over 30 certification programs already in existence in the U.S.  We need to be at the front of the investment line with a strategic advantage and this program delivers exactly that. You can stay competitive with other jurisdictions by extending your marketing reach on a global scale.

Demonstrating investment readiness is key to FDI. You may only have one chance to woo (or wow) an investor, get on the short list, and ultimately land a deal. Site selectors may only take next steps to investing with a greater degree of certainty when looking for development, if they know that they have detailed information about the availability of lands. So, help make their site selection process effortless.  Demonstrate that you are open for business!

Certification Benefits and Rewards – Stand out from the crowd – join the inventory!

Site selectors and investors are working under short timelines amongst fierce competition.  The Investment Ready Program allows Ontario site owners to stand out from the crowd when competing for FDI and demonstrates investment readiness by building confidence through a high level of due diligence completed on a site.  Ontario’s international marketing reach and investment attraction strategy increases your chances of success with this competitive advantage.  Some note-worthy benefits of participating in this Program are:

  1. Applicants have access to funding assistance from the government to undertake the certification process;
  2. Certified sites benefit by being integrated into the Province’s investment attraction strategy that includes dedicated marketing materials and support for your property, site information distributed to and utilized by international investment colleagues at multiple levels of government, and by being top of mind for high quality FDI leads being managed by the Province.

They make it easy for you – they will create the necessary marketing materials for your property and distribute them internationally through a series of dedicated and strategic channels, such as:

  • Detailed sales materials (sell sheets) customized for each site illustrated the most attractive features of your property and community;
  • Properties are featured on the Ministry’s international website (InvestinOntario.com) that targets global investors.
  •  Ontario’s international social media channels have an abounding capacity to promote the growing inventory of certified sites to a vast global audience.
  • The program takes advantage of its ongoing advertising and editorial support in key industry publications (i.e. Site Selection Magazine) and through continuous participation in key trade shows and conferences.

For complete program guidelines and application forms, visit Ontario.ca/CertifiedSite.  Start your journey to site certification, today! This mark of distinction has its privileges!

Watch for a new and improved Investment Ready: Certified Site Program coming in 2016.

If you have any questions about the program, contact:

Marion Fantetti
Business Ombudsman
WindsorEssex Economic Development Corp.
519-255-9200, Ext. 2222 or at mfantetti@investwindsoressex.com

To stay current with other programs and initiatives, be sure to visit our News Section at www.choosewindsoressex.com


Marion Fantetti, Business Ombudsman

Marion Fantetti is the Business Ombudsman for the
WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

The Business Ombudsman Initiative

By Marion Fantetti

Some exciting news!  Today, Sandra Pupatello, CEO of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corp. announced a new initiative of direct outreach to businesses – the Business Ombudsman.

I’m Marion Fantetti and I’m excited to take on this role as the Business Ombudsman and for what it means for our business community – a direct point of contact to help them get through hurdles that may be impacting their business , and where they need answers quickly.  For example, when there are issues relative to government that our business people can’t resolve – we step in.  It’s also part of a differentiator in being able to promote our business-friendly environment to local businesses as well as to investors.

I have a great team of CAOs from the City of Windsor and the County of Essex – essentially the most senior official of every town in our region, along with representatives from our local Federal and Provincial MP and MPP offices. They are the conduits into their administration where some resolution may be required to assist our local businesses.

What does this mean?

Everyone recognizes the importance of assisting our existing businesses, any new ones, and of course, any perspective investors. This ‘team’ approach will demonstrate that we are business-friendly and outreaching to business to help them grow and be satisfied.

I’ll be reaching out to the business community with more information on this new initiative as we move forward.

For businesses, I think they will find that there is whole body of resources out there for them and my job is to make sure they get to those resources, and that they get answers quickly.  Why?  Because we want them to be in a position to grow and do well.  We want businesses in our region to do well and we are taking specific measures to help them and help them find answers.  Those answers may not always be “yes” or “no” but businesses need to know that we are going through all the proper channels and work through how public policy, government regulations and legislation affect Windsor-Essex County businesses; “stick handling” through the processes.

This role is really important to economic development – think of it as a canary in the coal mine – you get to see the issues before they are really big and unmanageable – you get to see the trends that are happening in the industries so that we get ahead of them before they get too bad.

If there are issues or policies impacting the growth of our businesses, we will know about it and we’ll let the key decision makers know about it, proactively, ahead of time.

Watch for my blog where I will be sharing key information on rising issues, trends and good news stories about business in our region. In this blog, I’ll have the opportunity to share information on common business issues and celebrating successes. I also look forward to sharing some great things happening in our business-friendly environment…so please stay tuned – I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you too!

To get in touch with me either give me a call at 519-255-9200 x2222 or send me an email at mfantetti@investwindsoressex.com

This is all part of a plan to promote the Windsor-Essex region as the most business friendly environment, anywhere! 


Marion Fantetti, Business Ombudsman

Marion Fantetti is the Business Ombudsman for the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

Business Retention and Expansion: How is THAT economic development?

By Tracy Pringle

In my role as Director of Business Retention and Expansion for the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, I’m often asked to explain how business retention and expansion fits with the overall goals of economic development in our region. It’s a great question, and if you’ve worked in sales, or purchased something that required service after the sale, you’ll understand how it works.

“After Sales Support and Service” is a critical component of any major purchase decision we make as consumers, and in good businesses, it’s an important part of the offering to their customers. When we purchase a new gadget, maybe a cellphone or a laptop, we might purchase a maintenance contract that will provide technical support and upgrades as part of our contract. A new car typically comes with some kind of warranty that guarantees support from the dealership or the manufacturer should we experience mechanical problems down the road. When we have maintenance work done on our homes we’ll usually look for a contractor who provides a warranty on workmanship.

Business Retention and Expansion is kind of like that. Our job is to assist local companies, whether they’ve been here forever or are new to the area, keep their businesses in the community. We offer training programs, facilitated sector seminars, access to current economic data and regional intelligence that helps them grow their businesses.

Why the focus on existing businesses? Because 80% of job growth in any region comes from the businesses that are already there. Businesses that are financially committed to their communities. Here in Windsor-Essex, there are approximately 12,000 businesses operating. Some are large, some small, and others somewhere in between; all of them contributing to our regional success.

Imagine the impact on our local economy and jobless rate if each of those businesses added 1, 2, 5 or 10 employees over the course of a year… I’ll share more about how we’re doing this in my next post.

Discover more about the resources we offer at www.choosewindsoressex.com.

Tracy Pringle, Director, Business Retention & Expansion for the WindsorEssex Economic Development CorporationTracy Pringle is the Director, Business Rentention & Expansion for the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation.

Business Development: A Cornerstone of Economic Growth

By Rakesh Naidu

The team at WEEDC, along with our partners are working collaboratively to strengthen the regional economy by executing a well defined strategy to deliver measurable results. Our efforts are focused on the five pillars necessary to strengthen the economy of our local community – Business Attraction, Business Retention & Expansion, Small Business, Marketing and Community Development.

I oversee the activities of the Business Development team, which includes retention and expansion as well as attraction. More specifically, we are charged with bringing new investment into the region, supporting existing companies, and assisting diversification efforts by leveraging the capabilities and historical strengths of the region.

Our team leverages the capabilities and unique advantages of our region to bring new businesses here. When we are successful, new jobs are created, our assessment base is increased and our economy becomes further diversified. Because of our inherent strength in the manufacturing sector, we are seeing investments in growing industries such as medical devices, nutraceuticals, aerospace, nuclear energy, water and related technologies, aerospace, and renewable energy. These diversification efforts must continue if we intend to evolve into a mature and robust economy.

Our regionally focused efforts have been successful in retaining and attracting several thousand jobs, but there is a lot more to do. Critics will be quick to point out some recent losses recently reported. However, the full picture must also include the positive steps forward. While we are saddened by those announcements we also have the knowledge of those organizations where our team’s intervention has helped them remain in our region. While these stories don’t make the news, on a whole the business community is experiencing positive momentum.

As an example our local companies in the manufacturing sector are very busy again. One of our jobs is to work with companies and help them find opportunities to diversify as we know that the auto industry is cyclical in nature. Hence, we continue to focus on diversifying and developing a more sustained business model that does not rely heavily on any one industry. Our BRE team supports existing companies by helping them explore opportunities to expand into new markets and diversify their product lines. We identify funding programs and watch for supply chain opportunities. In Q4 of 2011, StatsCanada reported that 21.3% of our region’s total employment was in manufacturing, including auto-related manufacturing, and this figure alone merits our continued, strong support for this important sector of our economy.

In today’s challenging business and political environment, expansion and creation of new jobs is becoming increasingly difficult. Despite the challenges, our team remains optimistic and committed to aggressively pursuing diversification and supply chain opportunities for local projects both large and small to ensure that we are creating jobs here. We are confident that the region will meet the challenge and continue to prosper. Together, we will succeed. To learn more, visit http://www.choosewindsoressex.com.

Rakesh Naidu, Vice President of Business Development, WindsorEssex Economic Development CorporationRakesh Naidu is the Vice President of Business Development for the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation.