Thunder Bay CEDC Creates Economic Recovery Task Team

Eric Zakrewski new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CEDC
Eric Zakrewski Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CEDC

THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – The Thunder Bay Economic Development Commission (CEDC) has announced the creation of an Economic Recovery Task Team (ERTT) consisting of CEDC staff and members of the City’s Executive Management Team.

“The CEDC is leading the economic recovery effort in Thunder Bay,” says Eric Zakrewski, CEO of Thunder Bay CEDC. “The City of Thunder Bay is looking for initiatives that can be considered to help local businesses and industry recover as quickly as possible. We feel it’s a great opportunity to combine our efforts in the Economic Recovery Task Team and share information in real-time with the objective of exploring innovative ways the City can respond and help business resume operations, change the way they are doing things and recover as quickly as possible.”

CEDC staff are engaged in outreach across all business sectors in Thunder Bay and are asking business owners how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their operations and what the City of Thunder Bay can do to provide assistance in resuming operations and recovering.

In addition to the creation of the ERTT the CEDC is announcing that its Board of Directors has recently approved an additional $75,000 in funding for the 2020 Starter Company Plus program. The Starter Company Plus program is administered by the Thunder Bay CEDC’s Entrepreneur Centre and is funded by the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. The program is aimed to help local new and expanding small businesses and entrepreneurs through training, mentoring, and a potential grant of up to $5,000.

“To date, over 150 entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the training, tools, and resources provided by Starter Company Plus,” states Ryan Moore, Development Officer for the Entrepreneur Centre. “This has been a great program that provides comprehensive training and has created or enhanced a multitude of businesses.”

The 2020 program was set to have 13 entrepreneurs receive the $5,000 grant over the course of the year. Now, with the new funding from the CEDC’s Economic Development Reserve Fund, an additional 15 entrepreneurs will be able to go through the program this year.

“Many Starter Company alumni continue to be successful and have gone on to create hundreds of local jobs across the food and beverage, tourism, service and manufacturing sectors,” adds Zakrewski. “Our Board of Directors challenged us to think of initiatives that could help generate more local business startups and immediate job opportunities. We knew the Starter Company Program works; so I approached the Board looking to expand upon the current cohort of new start-ups companies we are working with. The CEDC does expect these new companies to create job opportunities coming out of COVID-19 restrictions.”

Starter Company successes include Lullaby’s, Groggy Frog, Red Zone X Fitness, Pour Boys Stone and Concrete, Costal Productions, Jean-Paul De Roover Inc., Lockstitch Fabrics, and 2Shelter Tent Rentals. More information on Starter Company including a full list of successful grant recipients can be found on the Entrepreneur Centre’s website: www.EntrepreneurCentre.ca