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Hamilton Economic Development

Hamilton Highlights Newsletter – March 2015

In the March 2015 edition of Hamilton Highlights…

  • MIPIM
  • Summer Company Launches
  • Hamilton Digital Media Interactive 2015
  • Lion’s Lair Applications Now Being Accepted

Click here to read the March 2015 Hamilton Highlights newsletter.  If you are interested in signing up for the Hamilton Highlights newsletter, click here.

Hamilton talks immigration strategy at UN

Photo of Sarah Wayland, senior project lead for Global HamiltonHamilton was the only Canadian city among global metropolises talking about their immigration strategies at a recent meeting hosted in New York City by the United Nations.

The discussion last week included national governments and international and national agencies, along with representatives from New York City, Barcelona and Quito, Ecuador, said Sarah Wayland, the senior project lead for the Global Hamilton initiative. She represented the city at the event.

Global Hamilton is a project within the city’s economic development department that focuses on helping the city attract and support skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants and international students, and on educating the community about why that makes economic sense.

Wayland says as far as she knows, Hamilton’s initiative — established in September 2012 — is unique in Canada.

“The bigger cities like Toronto don’t have to worry about immigrant attraction … but for cities like Hamilton, it’s critical to economic growth.”

She says immigrants are more likely to be business owners who hire others and immigration will play a crucial role as Hamilton tries to reach its 2035 growth targets of 660,000 residents and 300,000 jobs.

“Immigrants go where the opportunities are. If they’re not coming to Hamilton, they either don’t know of the opportunities here or there are no opportunities.”

Wayland says immigration used to be seen as a competition between nations, but that’s shifting to a fight for immigrants among cities. Just over 91 per cent of immigrants to Canada live in cities of more than 100,000 people, compared to 66 per cent of Canada’s overall population.

But cities have little say in immigration policy.

“Immigration is under the jurisdiction of national governments but cities are on the front lines in receiving immigrants who need to find places to live, schools for their kids and employment.”

That’s part of the reason Wayland was invited to the United Nations gathering to share Hamilton’s story.

“The intergovernmental and international agencies have the big picture, but they wanted to hear what’s going on, on the ground,” she said.

Wayland also met with the Canadian Consulate General in New York and the Canadian Mission to the United Nations, both of whom meet with international investors interested in Canada.

The forum was hosted by the World Bank, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and the Joint Migration and Development Initiative under the auspices of the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Migration.

Article courtesy of Meredith MacLeod, The Hamilton Spectator

City staff to sell west harbour at global conference

Photo of Hamilton Harbour AreaHamilton’s west harbour redevelopment is among huge global projects being highlighted by the biggest real estate conference in the world.

“We’d like to have people lined up chomping at the bit to put a proposal forward” when the lands go on sale in late 2015 or early 2016, said Chris Phillips, the point person on the waterfront redevelopment strategy.

Hamilton pitched to the organizers of the MIPIM (Le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier) to have the waterfront featured on its blog and newsletter leading into the show March 10-13 in Cannes, France.

“The fact we were selected from a whole bunch from around the world says a lot about the opportunity this presents,” said Phillips.

Hamilton’s waterfront was among seven North American projects highlighted by MIPIM, along with an arena district in Edmonton, a riverfront office tower in Chicago, an eco-campus in Montreal and a waterfront community at the mouth of Toronto’s Don River.

MIPIM features 2,225 exhibitors, 300 speakers and 150 keynotes, panels and workshops. Last year, it attracted more than 21,000 people, including 1,460 investors and 1,126 developers.

Phillips, Hamilton senior business development consultant Jennifer Patterson and McMaster Innovation Park CEO Zach Douglas will be part of a broader Ontario consortium of 10 cities that also includes Toronto, Ottawa, Brampton, Guelph and London.

MIPIM will feature a Canadian pavilion for the first time.

Other city mayors will be attending, but Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger will be staying home due to the lead-up to the Junos.

Hamilton is a founding member of the Real Estate Investment Alliance, a partnership between the Economic Development Council of Ontario and the province.

“Alliances help us leverage opportunities with less money. We have to be strategic about tackling international-scale promotion,” said Patterson.

“We’ll be competing with the biggest cities in the world and we need a bigger presence to make an impact.”

Hamilton’s team will also be promoting the Red Hill Business Park, the airport employment district, MIP and the downtown.

Deals do get signed at the conference, though Phillips says the goal with this first trip is to get on the radar screen of investors.

“We’ll be looking to establishing contacts with international firms.”

Phillips went to the trade show with some provincial representatives last year to see if Hamilton should take part in 2015.

He held several meetings last year to talk about the city’s waterfront redevelopment plans, which include housing, recreation, retail, office and hospitality amenities.

“I was blown away by the size, scale and scope of the conference and how cities pitched their development opportunities.”

Phillips says Hamilton’s west harbour is among the few urban waterfronts that remain undeveloped in Ontario. And its proximity to the downtown and well-established residential neighbourhoods are huge selling features, he said.

The city’s capital budget calls for a $60-million investment over four years to get the lands development ready by 2018. That would include shoreline work, roadways, water and sewer services.

Estimates for the redevelopment of Hamilton’s waterfront from Piers 5 to 8 and the implementation of the city’s west harbour recreation master plan are about $130 million over the next decade.

Article courtesy of  Meredith MacLeod, The Hamilton Spectator

‘It’s our time to seize the moment:’ Twitter exec

Photo of Kirstine Stewart, VP North America TwitterThe kind of leadership required today is perfectly suited to the business styles of women, a Twitter executive told a group of Hamilton entrepreneurs Wednesday.

The ability to multi-task, distil multiple points of view, listen and share are critical in a new corporate environment driven largely by technology, said Kirstine Stewart, vice-president of North American partnerships at the social media giant.

“Leadership is changing but the good news is that it’s kind of how we’ve always been,” Stewart told more than 200 people gathered for the fourth annual Success in the City event that celebrates International Women’s Day.

Great leaders can articulate a vision and motivate a team to achieve it, said Stewart, who will release a book about leadership in the fall.

They surround themselves with smart people who are empowered and then they get out of the way. They collaborate and share, even with those who might be perceived as competitors.

Though there is frustration with the pace at which women are grabbing top jobs in business and government, Stewart said “it’s our time to seize the moment.”

Stewart says she had one of the most important jobs in Canadian media as the head of English-language services for the CBC. She was responsible for news, sports, TV, radio and online and about 5,000 people reported to her.

“I left it for something called Twitter,” she said.

Twitter is a disruptive technology creating limitless opportunities, said Stewart, 46, who was named No. 15 on Maclean’s power list in 2014.

There are about 500 million tweets sent daily and 288 million monthly active users, according to the San Francisco-based company.

Twitter requires businesses, media, governments to be open to two-way conversations in a way never seen before, says Stewart.

It gives a voice to everyone with a handle and access to the Internet.

“That kind of interactivity has changed all businesses. You can’t rule the way you used to.”

She urged her audience to use social media as a means to connect with others, engage in conversations about business and be transparent about who they are and what they can offer.

“In the old world, it was about controlling the message. Business owners would insist that, ‘I will dictate my brand.’ It doesn’t work that way any more. Now it’s about transparency.”

She said today’s businesses have to truly understand what their customers are about and what they need.

“When someone understands who you are, you will go back to them again and again … When you truly connect, people will show their loyalty.”

She urged even those wary of using social media to embrace its possibilities, even if that means getting their kids to show them how.

Success in the City is hosted by the city’s Small Business Enterprise Centre. The event included a panel of local business owners, a trade show and a keynote by Hamilton-based professional speaker Rosita Hall.

She urged her audience to embrace and showcase their talents and to not be afraid to seek help when it’s needed.

“Life is not a solo act. You must connect with others,” she said.

Article courtesy of Meredith MacLeod, The Hamilton Spectator.

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