Action Kamsack is a project initiated by the Kamsack Economic Development Authority Inc.. The project is an example of a business retention and expansion project (based on one done by Swift Current) which will serve as a management tool to help our community partners contend with issues surrounding community revitalization. The BR & E develops a framework for moving forward with community revitalization.
What Is Business Retention and Expansion?
Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) is an economic development philosophy and process that focuses on the support and enhancement of existing business opportunities and infrastructure (as opposed to a development model that seeks to attract new business to the jurisdiction in question). The initial goal of a BR&E initiative is to identify and address the community's needs, concerns and business opportunities. It is an effective means of gathering business input for the purposes of creating and implementing a strategic community economic development plan.
Action Kamsack has four objectives:
- To build a positive business environment for success of local businesses and ultimately success of the community;
- To accurately assess the needs of business;
- To provide assistance to business that will help them survive the economic difficulties and assist them with expansions that add new jobs;
- To build co-operation and consensus among businesses, local government and economic development organizations.
ONE: Information Sessions for Business Persons
It is essential that the community knows and understand what and why we are initating a BR & E Program. Our goal was to have 50 business persons attend one of our sessions. We held session at the Kamsack Chamber of Commerce meeting plus 6 session at the Town Council Chambers over a 3 month period. We had 28 business persons plus council attend these sessions.
TWO: Recruit Interviewers for the One on One Interview:
The crucial part of this program is the one on one interview. We needed to recruit persons that can conduct a non-conflicting, non-prompted, confidential interview with the businesses. To fulfill our needs we focused on recruiting members of the Kamsack Centennial Committee. They did a fantastic job with the centennial. It is with this dedication and organization we needed to ensure the success of Action Kamsack project.
THREE: Train the Interviewers:
The interview must be done so that it allows us to obtain the best information we can get through the interview process. Each volunteer visitor was asked to attend a training session at which each questions was reviewed and interview strategies were discussed.
FOUR: One on One Interview:
To obtain the information required to create a well informed action plan for economic retention, development and growth within Kamsack, the interview must be done on a one on one basis. Our goal was to interview 30 businesses by March 2007. We are proud to say that we interviewed 52 businesses varying from home-based businesses to a manufacturing business.
Each interview varied from 1 hours to 3 hours each. Approximately 80 hours of volunteer time was invested into this process.
FIVE: Analyze the information obtained via the interview:
The interview answers need to be presented in an understandable and presentable manner in order to accomplish our task of creating an Action Plan. Each interview was carefully reviewed and tabulated into summary reports that would allow our committee to analyze the information and create a need list. To avoid any biased information, the data was kept strictly to numbers and record of responses without any identifying information.
FIVE B: Community Brainstorming Session:
Step Five was added to our project. The information obtained through the interview process was strictly from the business perspective. We did not get a view from the residents of the community. To accommodate this, we held a Community Brainstorming Session on April 17, 2007. The session was held at the OCC Hall. It began with a welcome from our committee chair, Wayne Sas, a message from Mayor Darryl Binkley, a town update from our Administrator, Rona Siedle. The brainstorming session led by Wendy Becenko, EDO. We had approximately 40 persons attend and was well received. Each person was divided into groups. The group then went through as series of questions. The answers were posted based on their topic and finally each person in attendance were allowed to vote as to their importance. The results have been referred to throughout this report.
SIX: Create a NEED List & Immediately Follow-up on Red Flag Issues.
The target of this project was to identify our needs in order to develop a well though out strategy that we could follow to lead Kamsack to economic growth and prosperity. The KEDA committee met for a full day brainstorming session at Duck Mountain Lodge in May 2007. During this day, the committee went through a series of analytical activities that lead them to best decipher the information obtained. The session lasted from 8 am through to 5 pm. The committee’s advisory council attended as well.
SEVEN: Strategic Planning:
Once we had our needs identified, we needed to figure out how we were going to overcome our needs. KEDA members created subcommittees. The subcommittee’s purpose was to identify strategic actions that would overcome these needs.
No action plan is successful unless it is followed. Therefore it’s imperative that we follow our plans and report on our successes and shortfalls for readjustment. ACTION Kamsack will remain in the implementation process until the needs have been overcome. One of the first implementation steps is to report on our findings. The committee felt that communication is crucial to the continued support, growth and results of the ACTION Kamsack project.
The project resulted in identifying nine priorities issues. The Action Kamsack team believes that these items will require our attention in order to obtain growth and prosperity in the town of Kamsack. Activities are being continued in addressing these priority issues. The nine priorities are:
- Capitalize on our Natural and Existing Tourism Attractions
- Revitalize and Improve our Downtown area
- Maintain community support for the creation and sustainability of our local medical health care system.
- Develop & Support Working Co-operative Relationships amongst committees, council, Rural Municipalities, First Nations, surrounding communities and amongst the businesses themselves.
- Explore Agricultural and Agri-Value Industry Development for Kamsack.
- Identify and Respond to the needs for developing and attracting Trades and Skilled workers to Kamsack.
- Reconnecting and Attracting Youth to our community.
- Create and expand opportunities that will enable Kamsack businesses to enter & compete in the Global Market.
- Assist in the development of sustainable, government subsidized Child Day Care
For more information on the Action Kamsack project, please contact Wendy Becenko, EDO for the Town of Kamsack at (306)542-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org