Defining The Challenge
To make Brampton more commercially attractive, we must compete well on 5 general indicators: 1. Workforce, 2. Leadership, 3. Location, 4. Incentives, 5. Quality of Life. Workforce needs to be available with education at all levels, but the greatest opportunities may exist in the middle of the educational spectrum. Brampton has more need of technologists than PhDs.
Effective marketing is essential in providing investors with a clear indication of why they should invest and in easing their path to do so. What is our value proposition? Our location is world class in terms of market population and infrastructure. National and provincial tax incentives exist, but don’t differentiate Ontario municipalities and are outside of municipal control. Quality of Life is high but challenged by the pace of population growth and need to commute outside the city for jobs. Building more vibrant restaurant, art and cultural offerings is complicated by proximity to Toronto and other entertainment that is in near proximity.
Effective leadership by the private sector and at all levels of government is required to create an attractive environment for businesses to thrive in Brampton. Areas of concern:
- external image hampered by less than favourable headlines
- property tax increases are comparatively high
- we face significant deficiencies in commercial and office space compared to other west-GTA centres
- employment lands require protection from conversion to residential
- municipal government struggles to collaborate
- tech start-up community lacks critical mass in Brampton.
- Despite Brampton’s exceptional location for business, it continues to under-perform in rankings: livability: rankings (114 of 209 Canadian municipalities) and business attractiveness: rankings (9th).
What is Currently Being Done
Brampton Board of Trade is continuing in an advocacy role in support of the key industry clusters development of emerging business districts such as the area around Peel Memorial Health Centre. The BBOT has highlighted the need for better collaboration, respect for taxpayers and understanding of competitive advantage at local Council. BBOT has encouraged less burden and tax on business and for action on key weaknesses in cost of doing business. Most recently, BBOT introduced the “I love Brampton” campaign this fall.
Actions Moving Forward
State the business community’s expectation of mature leadership at city hall – leadership commensurate with one of Canada’s major cities. Take steps to encourage fewer bad headlines from City Council and a more progressive and positive image in national media and beyond.
Develop a strategy that encourages less biased, more accurate and comprehensive approach to Brampton reporting in national media.
Re-brand our community as being collaborative, innovative and having trusted leadership.
Encourage a comprehensive marketing strategy targeting business publications (those that rank/list on criteria such as livability, business attractiveness) editorial boards key investment and site location influencers.
More revenue must be generated from the private sector to support Board of Trade efforts in implementing a 5-year Prosperity Agenda.
Find an individual champion or group of individuals that BBOT can support as allies in the development of our regional economy.
Better track and record economic development statistics and labour market information and make more accessible to investment decision-makers.
Better communicate the message that Brampton is the youngest, most-diverse and well-educated workforce in Canada.
Critical Success Factors
- Collaboration (High)
- City Leadership (High)
- Communication (High)
- Private investment
- Government Connections (Medium)
- Rebranding of the city and an ongoing marketing campaign
- Research that indicates positive external perception
- Targeted resources
- Embrace multiculturalism and diversity
- Edgy – different – unique brand
- Traffic Control Public Transit, Airport Links
- Hotels, WIFI / Digital
- Goals (Achievable)
- Stability / Predictable taxes & services Incentives
- Talent Pool Industrial & Office Space
- Describe what investment attractive looks like in Brampton’s case
- What would it take to become the Silicon Valley for Canada?
- What are the next steps to develop Brampton as a tech hub in the innovation corridor?
- What resources – human and financial – are required for the next steps?