October 20, 2002

One of the focuses of LOWBIC is to help the city and surrounding communities expand on the local economies by looking at new approaches to business development and providing access to business resources and financial assistance.

To accomplish this, a rich knowledge of the city and community has been cultivated through the following LOWBIC services:
- Women’s Network
- Trus-Joist Training
- Tourism in the Schools
- Community Service "Task Force" 
- Native Counseling Services

Adding to its traditional roles of providing investment funds and business counseling, LOWBIC has managed to capitalize on opportunities create synergy by agreeing to co-locate federal and provincial business information programs in it offices.  LOWBIC has a Canada-Ontario Business Services Center (COBSC), The Northwest Ontario Business Self-Help Office, and the Northern Ventures Initiative Officer with the CFDC Business Development Office, providing each with much more depth to their operations.

The Mandate:  “To achieve success in business and personal growth by connecting women with women”.  The Women’s Business Network seeks to nurture business start-up and improve economic conditions for existing business in the surrounding area.  A “brainstorming session” was held in March of 2002 to identify gaps in the local business community to assist aspiring entrepreneurs in selecting potential business opportunities.  The next step in the process was to identify projects that would improve the business community to encourage permanent and seasonal residents to stay, play and shop locally.  At the same time, we want to encourage our youth to seek (or make their own) career opportunities locally, recognizing there is also a quality of life issue for young people.  Armed with ideas from the brainstorming session, we identified commonalities to form a concept of “tourism and community development” that would improve the economic impact not only for Kenora but also for the Surrounding communities.  This concept will only move forward with municipal and community input and involvement to put a long-range strategy in place.

Tourism Education in Kenora High Schools
Grade 10 and 11 students from Beaver Brae and Thomas Aquinas have been learning of the importance of tourism to our area.  What does this mean to Kenora?  To them?  Classes focusing on the local economic impact of tourism, local events, festivals, and attractions and attitudes towards tourist.  "Tourism is the bread and butter of our economy" and it is important that the students realize this.  The tourism classes are followed up by an assembly that offers students information on summer jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in tourism, skits demonstrating proper tourism practices and prizes are given through a question and answer period.  “Kenora’s tourism industry supports the majority of students’ summer jobs…it is important that they realize this.”  LOWBIC’s intent is to create positive experiences to all visitors to the area.

Taking charge of changing attitudes is a constant, it is inevitable.  Just like learning is at its best if we learn how to understand and assess education trends.

Industrial Adjustment Committee Focuses on Training, Hiring & Spin-Offs
The mandate of Kenora Industrial Committee was to better maximize the potential of Kenora’s unemployed and youth, as well as all other citizens to be better prepared to seek employment and opportunities as a result of Trus Joist TimberSrand LSL Kenora Plant.

Three community information sessions were organized that took place in October, November and January.  The focus of the first two sessions was to promote education and training programs, applicable to Trus Joist’s hiring requirements that were available in Kenora and the surrounding area.  These sessions included messages from local educators (The Community Learning Center-operated by Kenora Patricia District School Board, Confederation Collage and the Academy of Technical Education and Vocational Training), employment services, apprenticeship (conducted by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) and Trus Joist.  All sessions included a question and answer period, as well as networking opportunities at the end of the evening.  Reports from the educational institutions involved indicated that the message was well received and interest in courses was high.

An understanding of the socio-economic impact of the arrival of Trus Joist-Weyerhaeuser into the area.  The alternative job options and spin-offs have been essential to the education of the city and surrounding area’s Labour Market.

Community Service "Task Force" Kenora is a tourist community and LOWBIC is heavily involved in the tourist attraction business.  As part of its tourism initiative, Kenora has made it a priority to “clean up the streets of downtown Kenora”.  LOWBIC was called in on the task and by encouraging businesses and townsfolk to adjust their social paradigms and by showing marginalized people how they can make a contribution to the community’s improvement, a specially funded "Green Team" and a wider "Street Brigade" was established to clean up the downtown streets for tourists.  It consisted of a “swat-team” service prior to summer weekends, and a late-night service that washes clean the streets and public places after the city’s “monster” tourism events.  While part of the initiative lies in social work, the benefits lie in the heart of the economic community of downtown Kenora.  This is certainly an innovative approach to business development and it proving to have very rewarding spin-off benefits of a social nature.

Teaching the value of good business planning.
Northern Ventures Initiatives (NVI) is a FedNor sponsored business development program.  The target group includes Aboriginals, women and youth.  NVI promotes self-employment as a career alternative to clients.  NVI promotes the value of business planning and the components of a good business plan.  The coordinator coaches and supports the efforts of clients as their business plans develop.  Clients can take advantage of market research support, financing and business plan counseling & evaluation.  The target group is offered courses, seminars and workshops along with specialized training programs for organizations, schools, agencies and communities.  Dialogue with First Nations communities includes discussion about economic development initiatives.  The NVI Coordinator offers suggestions and opinions when warranted.

LOWBIC provides education programs designed specifically to meet company, industry, community and individuals needs.  These customer specific programs allow for on-site delivery with flexible timetables.

This is seen to be especially crucial if we want to assess the effectiveness of our efforts in training and education.

Please direct any questions to:  Don Cameron - Chief Administrative Officer
(807) 467-4651 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.