This article originally appeared in the Ottawa Business Journal newsmagazine as a part of OBOT Connect.
In what’s believed to be a first for Ottawa East, consulting firm Doyletech has undertaken a survey of stakeholders in Orléans and the surrounding area to draft a new economic development strategy for one of the city’s largest communities.
Doyletech partner Rick Clayton says the firm’s mandate was to gather feedback, connect stakeholders and deliver hard proposals based on local input. The results are expected in early 2019.
The process began in July with the former Orléans Chamber of Commerce.
“Orléans needed some revitalization in terms of its economic development prospects,” says Clayton. “Our role was to try and build some consensus.”
These ideas will be used to fill Doyletech’s economic development framework, which involves three action items: growing from within; attracting inbound investment; and linking to another cluster by becoming suppliers or other partners.
For example, during one of the three focus groups held with more than 150 businesses and stakeholders, a community member mentioned the opportunity for Orléans to advance its expertise in autonomous underwater vehicle technology. Clayton says this could involve partnering with a technology cluster such as those in Kanata North.
In terms of inbound investment, he says businesses in Orléans need to grow beyond serving the local community.
Stakeholders also identified a lack of branding for Orléans as a destination. For example, marketing Orléans’ dining and entertainment offerings such as the Shenkman Arts Centre could attract people from outside the area, Clayton says.
The most important part of the project are the ideas from local stakeholders, says Clayton. He says the Ottawa Board of Trade will be able to use the feedback from Orléans businesses to help develop the Ottawa East economy.