June 2013

Manitoba Chamber of Commerce

Issue link: http://publications.winnipegfreepress.com/i/141831

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yes! winnipeg SAYING YES! TO WINNIPEG B usinesses looking to commit to a startup, expansion or relocation site are finding an ardent suitor in Yes! Winnipeg. An initiative within Economic Development Winnipeg, Yes! Winnipeg was established in 2011 to grow and strengthen the city's economy by helping to create new jobs and investments. With an operating budget of almost $7 million — of which 70% is from Winnipeg's business community, with the balance coming from the three levels of government and agencies — it has a five-year mandate to stimulate business development in Winnipeg. It does that through strategic business community collaboration in such key areas as financing, real estate, staffing and government-program support. "We believe that Winnipeg is the kind of city that should be growing and developing, with a vibrant private sector," says Yes! Winnipeg leader Bill Morrissey. "This concept was the brainchild of members of Winnipeg's business community who came together through the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce to find ways to help others launch, expand or establish businesses in our city." The team works with clients, free of charge, to make it easier to open or expand their businesses. They help in many practical ways, including offering advice and connecting clients with relevant local programs and services. They also work proactively to attract new companies to Winnipeg, in part by arranging business-to-business meetings at strategic international conferences and developing relationships with leading U.S. site-selector consultants. Morrissey says support for the business-helping-business idea was immediate and enthusiastic. In the planning process, about 60 businesspeople volunteered to interview the CEOs and presidents of leading local firms to ask what brought them – and what keeps them – in Winnipeg. The CEOs cited factors such as Winnipeg's central location, low business costs, a strong transportation/distribution infrastructure, a well-trained workforce, great quality of life and a stable economy. Morrissey says the city's business advantages may be Canada's best-kept secret, but the word is getting out — and garnering impressive results. He says 46 clients have already said 'yes' to Winnipeg, launching or expanding companies that are expected to create about 1,600 full-time jobs and pump $220 million into the local economy once the operations mature. Canada Goose doubled its production capacity when it officially opened a new Winnipeg plant in April. The company, which makes extreme-weather coats and other outerwear, plans to increase its 160-person workforce by 20% over the next year. Among the other companies investing in Winnipeg are Winpak, ALT Hotel, Nordik Nature Spa, Market Force, Hampton Inn, Buffalo Gal Pictures and the Canadian Tire Advanced Cloud Computing Centre. "We are right on track to reach our five-year goal," Morrissey says. "The support Yes! Winnipeg continues to draw from the business community — especially the amount of private-sector investment — is unique and gratifying. There is no other entity quite like this anywhere else in Canada." yeswinnipeg.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com Above Inset: Bill Morrissey. Left: Canada Goose has doubled production capacity at its new Winnipeg plant, where workers make clothing such as extreme-weather coats. 10 | SUMMER 2013 'peg BIZ MBiz June 2013_final.indd Sec2:j 6/21/13 4:48:40 PM

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