The Niagara Region Economic Development is rapidly growing at a pace no one would have believed possible only a few short years ago. Nearly a decade past, the Niagara region faced a recession that saw the unemployment rate hit the double digit marker (the highest in all of Ontario.) But despite the difficult times, the Niagara community banded together in true Canadian fashion and turned their hardship into the blossoming community we see today.
The Niagara area is attracting investors as they see the affects of these new changes and reclaimed prosperity within the Golden Horseshoe. Between the years 2015 and 2017, the community was able to benefit from the 6,593 new jobs that were added to the Niagara Region and now, for the first time in 18 years, the unemployment rate is sitting at a record low (just over 5 percent). The 356 new employer businesses that have opened between 2015 and 2017 are a large contributor to the steadily decreasing unemployment rate. The total number of firms that are exporting have grown by 5.7 percent from 2011 to 2017, to 613 companies.
Residents have benefitted from Niagara Region’s Economic Development, with weekly earnings having had grown by 4.1 percent between 2014 and 2016 and in turn, retail sales shown a growth of 11.7 percent. Niagara Region is a region of prosperity and the community’s economy is expected to continue its upward trajectory. The Niagara Region continues to encourage the growth and development of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
There are many projects in the Niagara Region designed to improve the overall Economic Development. Here are a few new resources to explore and look forward to in the upcoming years.
- Spark Lincoln– Located in downtown Beamsville Ontario, only a short 25 minute drive from the hearth of St. Catherines, Spark Lincoln is a “new collaborative Innovation Hub” that provides services to startups and existing businesses that are looking to expand and make use of new technology within the workplace. At Spark Lincoln, young entrepreneurs, developers, creative professionals, and startup companies are able to take advantage of the 1000 sq ft space to promote their company, or receive entrepreneurial coaching and mentoring. Professional spaces are also available to host meetings and events. The service is designed to keep young people in the area, with a specific aim at female entrepreneurs and to help women and girls strengthen their computer and coding skills. Spark Niagara’s co-founder Dino Miele has praised the town for their participation with the project and will expect to see the benefits from the services soon. Spark Lincoln is a fantastic resource for any entrepreneur looking to develop in the Niagara Region and their dedication to the residents will continue to strengthen the Niagara Region’s Economic Development.
- $25 Million in Tax Relief Grants– As another step to strengthen Niagara Region’s Economic Development, a $25 million in tax relief grants will awarded to industrial companies to attract developers into the area. This financial aid is expected to help create more than 1,600 new and high paying jobs in the area. Generous incentives have been created to encourage the expansion of existing businesses, while attracting new businesses to the area.
- Niagara GO– Plans for Niagara Regions Economic Development includes a commitment to a daily GO rail service right on through to Niagara Falls. The GO line’s daily commuter trains to Grimsby are expected to be completed by 2021 while the St. Catharines and Niagara Falls stations are scheduled to be completed by 2023.
The city is confident that the business plan and the pre-approval from the ministry of Transportation will keep the plans for Niagara’s GO line moving forward and on schedule. The GO line rapid transit network will increase travel options, boosting tourism to the area and lower congestion on highways. Commuters will be able to travel to and from the GTA and the Niagara Region in less time than ever before.
The addition of the 60 kilometre track is projected to help support the economic growth of the area and will include additional cars to keep the Lakeshore West Line running smoothly and on time.
As the population within the Niagara region grows, the neighbourhood is determined to continue their plans to attract the younger generation of entrepreneurs and business owners so that Niagara Region’s Economic Development plan continues to strengthen the economy they built. Residents are looking to themselves and being proactive in creating jobs for themselves and their neighbours. As a result, the area’s housing market is on a steady rise and the Niagara Region will play host to the 2021 Canada Summer Games. Things are looking up for Niagara and there are going to be plenty of opportunities for investors in the up and coming years.