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Local event to connect area businesses with global markets

Thursday, October 11, 2012   by: Staff




Matchmaking event to connect regional businesses with global markets

SAULT STE. MARIE - Area companies will have an opportunity to align themselves with counterparts from around the world next fall at a major business matchmaking event.

In November 2013, Sault Ste. Marie will be hosting RDEE Ontario’s 3rd Naturallia International Forum.

The upcoming event an d host community were announced today at the 2012 forum in Winnipeg.

Additional information on next year’s event, including registration details, will be released in the comings months.

The 2013 forum, which will focus on the renewable energy, mining and value-added wood products sectors, is being coordinated by the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC) and the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC).

“Building strategic partnerships is essential for strong economic growth and competing in the global economy,” said Tom Dodds, CEO of the SSMEDC. “This forum will increase national and international exposure for small and medium-sized businesses in Northern Ontario, thereby encouraging long-term economic growth in the region.”

These comments were echoed by Tom Vair, executive director of the SSMIC.

"We look forward to hosting this significant event, which promises to link businesses and create growth opportunities," he said. "It also represents a great opportunity for Northern Ontario to showcase the dynamic businesses and projects in this region."

RDEE Ontario, an economic development agency, decided to hold its 2013 Naturallia International Forum in Sault Ste. Marie for a number of reasons.

For starters, the SSMEDC and SSMIC have a solid partnership with RDEE.

Also, the community has positioned itself as the Alternative Energy Capital of North America and has a strong presence in the mining and value-added wood products industries.

Finally, the Sault is located at the centre of Northern Ontario, on the U.S. border and has multi-modal access to international markets.

The Naturallia International Forum is expected to include about 150 participating businesses, ranging from Northern Ontario and the rest of the province, eastern and western Canada, and around the world.

The event is designed to promote business partnerships, with the format structured to allow one on-one meetings between participants.

As well, an Experts Village will be set up to provide businesses information on topics like exporting, innovation and logistics.
Also at the forum, an International Village will gather delegation and government representative from each participating country.

Finally, on-si te visits will be organized, designed to create opportunities to showcase local expertise and knowhow in the related sectors.

The overall goal is to make it easier for regional companies, as well as the national and international ones, to conduct business between each other, which will create wealth in the communities involved.

While specific details on the 2013 forum in Sault Ste. Marie aren’t yet available, prospective participants are welcomed to contact Randy Tallon, Director of International Relations for the SSMEDC, at 705-759-5928 or

Meanwhile, the event is being made possible thanks to support from FedNor.

“Our agency understands that the road to prosperity requires partnerships, strategic alliances, commitment and hard work,” said Carmen DeMarco, manager of program delivery for FedNor. “Bringing Northern Ontario’s natural resource industries to the forefront of the international market is essential and beneficial for building strong, competitive and prosperous northern communities.”

The Naturallia International Fo rum is based on the Centrallia model, an internationally-recognized business-to-business matchmaking system that has brought thousands of companies together since its founding in 1990.

At the core of the concept are a series of prearranged one-on-one meetings that allow firms to quickly connect and find ground for common opportunity.

For more information, please visit

About the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre

The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre was founded in 1999 and serves as a catalyst for growth in the IT, science and knowledge based sectors in the Algoma District.

The Innovation Centre is focused on four core areas: operating a business incubator to encourage the establishment and growth of business start‐ups; providing support services to the SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) IT and science community; supporting the establishment and enhancement of advanced research projects in the region and undertaking strategic market development projects such as the highly successful GIS project.

The SSMIC operates an award‐winning GIS department that has been recognized internationally for its unique community information utility model and advanced wo rk in the health/human services sector.


About the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation

The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation is an independent, non-profit organization aimed at generating wealth, creating jobs, increasing the Municipal tax base and attracting visitors.

It has a volunteer Board of Directors that includes a City Councillor and the Mayor (ex officio), along with individuals who represent the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The Board provides the Corporation with strategic direction, which is then undertaken by the staff team. Its offices are located at the Civic Centre.

To fulfill its mandate, the SSMEDC is organized around three unique divisions: Business Sault Ste. Marie, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and Corporate Services.



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BlackHelix 10/11/2012 7:04:16 PM Report

Why would the SSMEDC and SSMIC have a solid partnership with RDEE?

According to the mission statement of the RDEE..

"RDÉE Ontario promotes economic development and employability to ensure the vitality and sustainability of Ontario's Francophone communities."

And yes, I had to let Google translate because they don't have an English site/version. According to Census Canada, the francophone population make up 4.8% in Ontario. Of that 4.8%, only 1.4% live in Northern Ontario. By my calculation, that's just over 8,000 francophone's in ALL of Northern Ontario.

Given this data, maybe someone can explain what value a "solid partnership with the RDEE" would yield for the SSMEDC or SSMIC?

GuyR 10/15/2012 2:11:40 PM Report

In fact, 2006 Census indicates that 22.5% of Ontario's Francophones are in Northern Ontario, representing a total of 139,000 (both Northeast and Northwest). There are nearly 8,000 Francophones in the Algoma District alone.

Although, in this case, numbers are irrelevant.

RDÉE Ontario stepped up with resources, and strategically teamed up with other major community partners across the North for the benefit of Northern Ontario as a whole, all languages and cultures combined. In the end, everyone's a winner, no matter what language is spoken. Our philosophy is that Northern Ontario's economic growth is everyone's business.

Enjoy reaping the benefits along with us, and feel free to write me directly if you have any questions on what's to come.

Guy Robichaud, Regional Director
RDÉE Ontario
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