The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP) was recently named to the magazine’s 2018 top-10 list for Canadian economic development groups, joining organizations from larger cities like Montreal, Mississauga, London and Vancouver.
SLEP also made the list in 2014, 2010, 2008 and 2007.
“We’re quite excited to have been recognized again by this U.S.-based leader in the economic development publication field,” said Stephen Thompson, CEO of the Sarnia-Lambton partnership that works to attract new employers, promote entrepreneurship, and works with local businesses and industry.
Site Selection is published by Atlanta-based Conway Data.
The selection criteria include excellence in regional partnerships, proactive and innovative programming, and quality data, web tools and resources.
More than 300 economic development offices exist in Ontario alone, a SLEP official said.
Site Selection, in its synopsis of the Sarnia-Lambton partnership’s accolades, lists significant projects like the $2.2-billion Nova expansion, and an Original Materials biochemical plant expected to begin operation in 2019.
It also mentions the Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance, a coalition of more than 30 Sarnia-Lambton manufacturing companies, and the continued push for an oversized load corridor.
“It is one thing to have the programming in place, and we’re pleased to deliver quality programming, but the real reward for that quality programming is to bring the jobs and the investment to the area,” Thompson said.
The Site Selection recognition will help elevate awareness of the area, aiding that cause, he said.
“It’s putting us amongst an incredible list of very sophisticated communities and economic development offices,” he said.
“It really is an honour to be recognized amongst the leagues of those other municipalities.”
SLEP’s primary focus is helping existing businesses thrive, he said, noting the partnership recently codified a program providing one-on-one consultation as part of its strategic plan.
The partnership is funded with more than $1.3 million from the County of Lambton.
“As a government agency there’s no cost for our services to the individual businesses and everything is confidential,” Thompson said. “We’re here to help.”