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! 

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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.