Village of Merrickville-Wolford BR+E: l-r: Terry Gilhen, Yves Grandmaitre, Leeds Grenville Business Retention Officer Krista George, Mike Zaversenuke, Wendy Cherry, Dave Cherry, Cheri Kemp-Long and Nick Previsish. [Credit UCLG BR+E]

Augusta, Merrickville-Wolford, and Rideau Lakes are busy contributing to the largest BR+E program the United Counties of Leeds & Grenville has ever seen. The communities of Augusta, Merrickville-Wolford, and Rideau Lakes have officially launched their Business Retention + Expansion (BR+E) programs, part of the largest undertaken in Leeds Grenville.

The main objective of the BR+E project is to assist existing businesses within the communities to become more competitive and thereby increasing their chances of staying in the area.

“The results of the BR+E study should be invaluable for business and Municipal leaders,” said Doug Malanka, Mayor for Augusta.

“The business potential in Rideau Lakes is phenomenal. The UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal is gaining international notoriety. The Township is investing in a BR+E exercise to ensure we are doing all that we can to assist the business community in unlocking this potential,” said Ron Holman, Mayor for Rideau Lakes. “With tourism being one of the two industries driving our economy, it is absolutely essential for us to be aware of our business owners’ needs to best partner with them to ensure their continued success which in turn attracts new business to our community,” said David Nash, Mayor for Merrickville-Wolford.

The Counties and the three municipalities will see staff and volunteers directly connect with over 300 businesses in the region. They will gather information via a survey about the business needs and concerns. A local Task Force of community leaders reviews the aggregated data to address issues and opportunities.

“The focus of the project is on assisting existing businesses in Leeds Grenville that are already heavily invested in their community” said Krista George, Business Retention Officer for Leeds Grenville and the overall project coordinator.

The Leeds Grenville Municipal Coordinators Team include: Simon Chapelle, Ray Morrison, Katie Nolan, Malcolm Norwood, Krista Weidenaar, Krista George, Cheri Kemp-Long, Ann Weir and Yves Grandmaitre.

The BR+E program is a structured Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) action-oriented approach to business, and economic development. For more information about the program, participating as a business, or volunteering please contact Krista George at 613-342-3840 ext. 5368, or by e-mail at [email protected] .

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