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Selling Winnipeg to the world
Oct 16, 2009

WinnipegREALTORS® is always looking at ways it can help to move our great city forward. 

Ken Jones, the past-chair of the commercial division of WinnipegREALTORS® and past-chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, became involved in a new initiative called Selling Winnipeg to the World in 2008. He realized it made sense that WinnipegREALTORS® should participate in their new intiative and become part of a business call team to identify opportunities and challenges to the city’s future economic growth. 

Commercial REALTORS® understand the economic pulse of the city through placing business prospects in new commercial space. REALTORS® on the residential side encounter people moving  to or away from the city. They get a first-hand appreciation of how our city is viewed. They always try to put Winnipeg’s best foot forward, but know more can be done to improve our quality of life.

Selling Winnipeg to the World is about building a new proactive economic strategy that reaches out to the business community and beyond to aggressively attract new customers, suppliers and other companies outside Manitoba to open, relocate or expand their businesses in Winnipeg. 

The initiative is explained below by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

The Initiative

Imagine taking your passion and pride for a city we call home and telling the world about it.

Winnipeg has a compelling story to tell, and it’s one the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce believes it must convey to a strategically-targeted audience, if we are to expand our business base and attract more head offices.

Last fall, as part of a new three-year strategic plan (2008-11), the Chamber launched its Selling Winnipeg to the World initiative.

“As a starting point, we decided to shake the bushes and tap into the intelligence that already exists within our business community to identify leads on companies thinking of opening, expanding or relocating their operations,” said chamber senior vice-president Bill Morrissey, who heads up Selling Winnipeg to the World.

The chamber recruited 60 high-profile volunteers from its membership to meet one-on-one with the executives of more than 200 of Winnipeg’s largest firms.

“We flushed out some great leads and gained the inside track on what keeps our local businesses here, some of the barriers they see to attracting other businesses and what industry sectors we should focus on to ensure a vibrant economy,” said Morrissey, adding 12 “hot” leads could result in hundreds of new jobs for Winnipeg.

Not surprisingly, local companies also indicated Winnipeg scores big with them because of our people/workforce (67 per cent randomly mentioned that as the No. 1 reason they choose to stay in Winnipeg), followed by quality of life (63 per cent), loyalty to customers and employees (44 per cent), diversified, stable economy (43 per cent), competitive operating costs (24 per cent) and location and transportation advantages (15 per cent).

Together with Destination Winnipeg and the province, the chamber put that information to immediate use by creating a marketing brochure, Winnipeg — Build Your Business on Solid Ground.

The next step is to pursue the leads. To do that, the chamber will launch a fund-raising campaign this fall to create an arm’s-length economic partnership  that should be up and running by March 2010.

“Every one of us has a role to play in ensuring Winnipeg continues to be a vibrant and prosperous city,” said Morrissey.

We all need to be passionate ambassadors for our city, shaping perceptions at home and away.

And we need to work together. The chamber is encouraging the entire business community to use their connections and come forward with leads — companies outside Manitoba thinking of opening or relocating, local companies thinking of expanding and entrepreneurs with the seed of an idea.

So, let’s get growing and do your part to help Winnipeg become a city on the move!