2016 a strong year for job growth and investment in Halton

Halton welcomes more than 4,000 new jobs in 2016

Whether you’re running a multi-national company, opening a small business or looking for employment opportunities closer to home, Halton Region has proved, once again, that our region is a highly attractive location to live, work and invest. The latest statistics from the 2016 Economic Review indicate that continued investment and economic development led to 4,000 new jobs being added to the local economy.

Attracting business investment, supporting business start-ups and creating new jobs is more than just about the numbers – it’s about planning for a balance of business development, growth and sustainability to ensure a high quality of life for all, and providing meaningful employment opportunities in the community for our highly skilled residents.

Still, the numbers are impressive. Here are some statistics that point to our successes in job growth and business development in 2016:

  • 4,273 new jobs created in 2016.
  • Halton is home to 15 of the top 500 fastest growing companies in Canada in 2016:
    • ABL Employment
    • Acorn Global Investments
    • Astound Group
    • Avnan
    • Burlington Merchandising & Fixtures
    • ClubRunner
    • Dynamic Connections
    • HostPapa
    • Javelin Technologies
    • MarkIT Staffing Solutions
    • Mico Systems
    • Rock Star Real Estate
    • Rock Universe (Blue Rays)
    • Secure Sense Solutions
    • Three O Four
  • Halton’s unemployment rate is 5.5 per cent which is lower than the GTA, Ontario and Canadian averages of 7.0 per cent, 6.6 per cent and 7.0 per cent, respectively.
  • $832.5 million invested in institutional, commercial and industrial construction, an increase of 21 per cent since 2015, with an average annual increase of 19 per cent over the last decade.
    • $368.5 million invested in new commercial construction in 2016, an increase of 33 per cent since 2015.
    • 42 per cent increase in institutional development since 2015; 73 per cent increase over the last decade.
  • $2.14 billion worth in new building permits – a record-setting year.

These figures tell us an important story – businesses continue to invest in Halton Region and we continue to grow. With low taxes, easy access to major markets and commitment to building a healthy and complete community, Halton has what every business is looking for and offers a place where employees feel at home.

To learn more about our economic success, job growth or to read the 2016 Economic Review visit halton.ca/invest.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Successful networking event for entrepreneurs in creative industries

This month is Small Business Month and on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, over 60 artists, small business owners in the creative industry and local community partners attended this year’s Bridges to Better Business event: the Business of Art and the Art of Business. The event, hosted by Halton Region’s Small Business Centre, focused on helping entrepreneurs learn how to establish themselves and grow within creative industries.

BridgesToBetterBusiness2GroupWEBThe event was not only a great networking opportunity for those in the creative sector, attendees also heard from three keynote speakers: professional musician Wayne DeAdder; jewelry designer Monica Graves; singer, event producer and entertainment consultant, Krista Blondin. Each one talked about following their passions, balancing financial and family needs and what it has taken to be successful.

In addition, two local spotlight speakers who run small businesses in Halton shared their stories and how they have benefited from the resources and programs available at the Halton Region Small Business Centre: Lisa Penny of Arts at Work and Aleksandra Lason from Chrilleks Productions Inc.

BridgesToBetterBusiness1WEBFinally, Janice Lambrakos from the Ontario Arts Council shared opportunities for provincial grants and funding and Alexis Black of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office spoke about the importance of copyrighting, filing trademarks and more.

Today’s event is another example of how Halton Region is committed to strengthening the economy by supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. To find out more about the programs and services available through the Small Business Centre, please visit our newly updated web pages at halton.ca/smallbusiness.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhaltonLinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Helping the next generation of entrepreneurs succeed

The small business community is the backbone of Halton Region’s strong economy, with 90 per cent of Halton’s private sector businesses having less than ten employees. While starting a small business may come easily to some, others have the idea but aren’t sure where to go from there. To help support these aspiring entrepreneurs, the Halton Region Small Business Centre, located at 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville, offers programs, seminars, events and professional advice for new and existing small businesses.

An exciting new program that has already helped some young entrepreneurs launch their futures is the Starter Company program. This program, open to youth out of school between the ages of 18 and 29, provides training and business skills development to help young entrepreneurs develop a business plan and prepare them to run their own business.  Local business professionals and consultants also offer mentoring and guidance to help them along the way. Participants may also be eligible for a grant of up to $5,000 to help kick-start a new business or expand or buy an existing business.

The first new Halton “Starter Company” to receive a $5,000 grant, Alias Apps, headquartered in downtown Georgetown, is owned and operated by Michael Bertiean and David Nadeau, two recent Brock University graduates who wanted to turn their passion for technology into a career. Not only are they developing professionally coded apps at affordable prices, they are also contributing to our strong economy and have hired two staff.

Our second Halton “Starter Company” to receive $5,000 is young motivational speaker Molly Burke from Oakville.  Molly shares her experience of losing her sight, overcoming adversity and embracing diversity across Canada and the U.S. Molly educates, motivates and inspires others to find peace, happiness and achieve their goals, and we are very proud to support her spreading these positive messages to others.

You can see from our first two businesses the innovation and inspiration of today’s young entrepreneurs. The small business world has definitely grown and today’s youth are taking control of their futures like never before.  I’m proud that Halton can support young adults as they pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

With two sessions coming up in January, you can sign up now and help your idea grow into a successful business venture in 2015.  Best wishes to all our young entrepreneurs!

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “the Carr Report.”

Celebrating Halton Region’s local business community

On August 7, I had the pleasure of joining with Oakville Regional Councillor Alan Johnston and Milton Regional Councillor Colin Best in attending the Annual Joint Chambers of Commerce Business After 5 networking event at the Halton Regional Centre in Oakville. Organized by Halton Region’s four Chambers of Commerce together with Halton Region’s Small Business Centre, the event brings together chamber members and guests for networking with members of other Halton Chambers of Commerce.114

This well attended networking event is combined with a Business Showcase that serves as a mini-tradeshow.  Local companies, including some former Small Business Centre clients and this year’s Summer Company participants, have the opportunity to showcase their products and services and share stories with other members of the small business community.

There is always an incredible buzz in the room and a genuine feeling of goodwill.  It is one of my favourite networking events.  Where else could you chat with the heads of all four Chambers of Commerce, have a free caricature drawn while you wait, sample roasted chickpeas, and consult with a business coach for 5 cents?

I am incredibly proud of Halton Region’s local business community.  It is thriving and diverse, thanks to the efforts of the Chambers, our Local and Regional Councils and the individuals who work so hard each day to bring their new ideas to market.145

More and more small business are opening here in Halton, joining larger businesses such as Siemens, Toronto Premium Outlets, Lowes Canada and Gyptech Technologies. They are locating here because of our quality of life, our solid infrastructure and because of the very talented people who live and work in this community.

American industrialist Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Meetings such as the annual Chamber event help ensure we continue to come together, stay together and enjoy success together.175

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton Real Estate Forum a success

On Thursday, November 8, I joined more than 200 industrial, commercial developers and real estate brokers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), regional and local municipal elected officials and staff for the fourth annual Halton Real Estate Forum.  Held at the Teatro Conference and Event Centre in Milton, the Forum provided an opportunity for participants to hear an update on the industrial and commercial real estate market in Halton and the GTA.

The Forum was presented by Halton Region Economic Development in partnership withReal Estate Forum 1 the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and the economic development offices of the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville.

FCT (First Canadian Title) was a Gold Sponsor of the event, Bentall Kennedy a Silver Sponsor and RIM (Research in Motion) a Technology Sponsor.

Halton Region has experienced strong population and business growth over the past several years. Our Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan provides direction for future economic development so we can ensure business growth continues.  The well-attended Forum was successful in further building awareness of Halton as a location of choice for business investment and reinforced the Region’s many strengths.  In fact, a key message voiced by the speakers was that Halton is indeed a location of choice – a great place to live and work and definitely on the radar screen for forward thinking businesses.

In his opening remarks, Halton’s Economic Development Director, John Davidson, touched on the Halton Region Economic Development Strategy for 2012-2021, provided an overview of trends in the commercial and industrial real estate market in Halton and announced the launch of the Region’s new Halton Data Centre.

Keynote speaker Sheila Botting, Partner & National Leader, Deloitte Real Estate, talkedReal Estate Forum 2 about demographics, productivity and how the real estate game is changing, noting that “Commercial real estate can be a catalyst for growth in our economy.”

Office panelists John Arnoldi (Colliers International), Dave Carreiro (First Gulf Corporation) and Chris Holtved (Pauls Properties Corp.) along with Wayne Walton (Sun Life Financial), Ken Nevar (Cooper Construction) and John McCall (Oxford Properties Group) all said that Halton is a big part of their respective businesses, agreeing that land availability is higher and operating costs and taxes are lower than other areas.

Here are just a few of the comments made by the panelists:Real Estate Forum 3

“Halton is at the stage of its development where it has hit escape velocity…Like tenants want to be near like tenants – we are seeing that with financial and professional services companies such as Siemens, Canadian Tire Financial Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers, all choosing Halton.” Chris Holtved

“Halton is a hotspot for business investment.” John Arnoldi

“Halton is also uniquely positioned to attract large industrial development by virtual of its location near major transportation corridors and the availability of serviced industrial land as evidenced by the recent Target and First Gulf/Sun Life Financial developments.” Ken Nevar

As I listened to Ms. Botting and our other speakers, I was reminded of the words of Franz Kafka, the renowned Czech-born writer, who once wrote, “Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.”  The opportunities here in Halton are endless. More and more companies are finding new ways to capitalize on Halton’s many advantages to bring innovative products and services to market. Halton Region truly is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

To learn more about Economic Development in Halton Region, dial 311, 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, TTY 905-827-9833 or visit www.halton.ca/business. You can find Halton Small Business on Facebook and on Twitter @HaltonEcDev, as well as Halton Tourism on Facebook and on Twitter.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Summer Company 2012 –Turning ideas into business

Last month I had the pleasure of meeting with this year’s class of Summer Company students. The provincially funded program helps students aged 15 to 29 start and grow their own businesses.

From left to right: Kate Cowan; Brendon Lisi; Jestin Miller; Regional Chair Gary Carr; Mitch Cook; Elizabeth Cornish, Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation; Liz Kush, RBC; Tom Cochrane, Halton Business Advisory Group;

Halton Region’s Small Business Centre is once again coordinating the Summer Company program in Halton for the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI).

Students who participate in the Summer Company program receive cash awards of up to $3,000 – an upfront award of up to $1,500 to put toward start-up costs and up to $1,500 upon successful completion of the program – from MEDI.

Entrepreneurship sparks innovation, creates jobs and helps our economy grow.  Summer Company sets young entrepreneurs up to succeed, through business coaching, training and ongoing mentoring.

This year’s eight participants were selected from numerous applicants from the Halton area.  Their businesses include everything from graphic design, exterior painting and swimming lessons to flyer delivery services and more.

In addition to the cash awards, students receive business training and mentoring from volunteers from the local business community.

This year’s mentors are:

  • Liz Kush, Senior Account Manager, Business and Personal Markets RBC, South Halton Market
  • Tom Cochran, Consultant, Halton Business Advisory Group
  • Phil Von Massow, Owner, CPL Group
  • Nelia Taylor, Certified General Accountant, BDO Canada LLP

The goal of the program is to support students interested in entrepreneurship as a possible career goal.

Here are this year’s summer companies:

  • Jestin Miller, Miller’s Maintenance, Burlington
  • Brendon Lisi, Surf Sandford Apparel, Burlington
  • Ben Swallow, RealCurb Paint, Oakville
  • Alida Carlin, Hometown Painting,Oakville
  • Mitch Cook, Flyer Hustle,Oakville
  • Malcolm Halley, MADRAD, Oakville
  • Sarah Hay, Little Fins, Oakville
  • Kate Cowan, K.C. Designs, Burlington

To quote Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”  From what I’ve seen, this year’s class is well on its way – I’m confident that we will be reading about their successes for many years in the future.

For further information on these businesses, the Summer Company Program and the Halton Small Business Centre, visit our website at www.halton.ca/business or dial 311, 905-825-6000, ext. 7900, toll free 1-866-442-5866, or TTY 905-827-9833.  Find our Halton Summer Company page on Facebook.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”