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. There is a strong sense of collaboration in the Manitoba business community that can facilitate growth.
• Manitoba has a diverse economy that has proven to be resilient when faced with economic challenges in the past. It also offers a number of emerging opportunities for growth in each sector.
• Being able to build a skilled and adaptable workforce that aligns with industry needs, and the ability to attract and retain talent, are key issues affecting business.
• Access to financial capital is critical to business growth and expansion.
• Red tape, taxation and the regulatory environment impede growth and competitiveness. Providing navigational support with a ‘how can we help’ mindset would greatly facilitate business growth. Aligning the economic environment with our economic objectives will help eliminate systemic growth barriers.
• Improvements to transportation modes, infrastructure and market access are essential for competitiveness. Market access is critical to enable trade and investment.
•An economic growth priority and a clear articulation of our economic vision will strengthen our image, and will attract investment and interest in being part of an exciting economic brand.
•Building relationships and functioning collectively, with full participation of Indigenous peoples, will result in economic development and growth.
•Technology adoption needs to be encouraged to ensure global competitiveness. Safe spaces are needed to test ideas and facilitate start-ups. Government and business both need to change from a risk-averse mindset to one that supports experimentation and innovative solutions.
•A new model of economic development should focus on execution by providing clear navigation, quick decision-making, increased collaboration, constant insight from industry, and alignment of objectives and processes. It should also be nimble and entrepreneurial, with clear roles, responsibilities and accountability.
•Manitoba companies should be supported with programming and a competitive business environment.
Developed with the comprehensive input of hundreds of stakeholders, our recommendations provide the context for Manitoba’s actions toward economic growth, both today and into the future.
In developing a plan for economic growth in Manitoba, care must be taken to align with other strategies that Manitoba has in process (e.g., Look North, Climate and Green Plan, Rural Strategy, Tourism Strategy, Access to Capital), or which it may develop in the future. Government investment in future initiatives and infrastructure should align with the economic growth plan and should consider their economic impacts.
To grow Manitoba’s economy sustainably, government must take concrete action to advance our recommended strategic priorities. We recommend the following:
• Develop, in consultation with industry, educators, and sector councils, workforce development programming that addresses industry/post-secondary alignment, workplace training programs, Indigenous workforce training and skills-focused immigration.
• Create opportunities for Indigenous Manitobans to participate fully in the growth of Manitoba’s economy through a greater focus on entrepreneurship and training.
• Develop targeted sector strategies with relevant stakeholders that identify investment opportunities, trade development needs, research and commercialization potential, workforce needs, northern and rural opportunities, tax and regulatory issues, and opportunities for cross-sectoral synergies, along with metrics that measure progress.
• Develop new trade programming that provides the strategic support needed by Manitoba SME’s throughout the province, to enable them to grow through the pursuit of new markets.
• Strategically invest in trade enabling infrastructure, to advance economic growth and support competitiveness. Guide infrastructure investments by a strategic vision that considers the economic development goals of the province and its regions.
Research and Innovation • Promote Manitoba’s research excellence as a key economic strength for the province. Develop innovation programming that coordinates research, facilitates research partnerships, supports industry needs for the integration of new technologies, supports start-up entrepreneurs, leverages federal research and innovation investments, and increases focus on commercialization of Manitoba-based research.
• Pursue the Access to Capital strategy currently being developed by the Manitoba government to improve the availability of, and access to, investment capital for entrepreneurs and businesses at various stages of their life cycles. Within this, two specific recommendations are:
• Relaunch current programming that is consistent with the strategy’s objectives around capital availability.
• Establish a resource for the launching of pilot programs and projects that will allow Manitobans to innovate in the area of economic development.
• Align policies and programming across government and with other governments and agencies to improve overall responsiveness to Manitobans and to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship in Manitoba.
• Ensure alignment across government of those strategies that have implications for economic development (Access to Capital, Climate and Green Plan, Look North, Rural Strategy, etc.)
• Improve alignment across government with respect to programs and resources in support of regional development, business development, trade and investment.
• Seek federal support for the economic growth plan and pursue federal/provincial collaboration in economic development.
• Restructure the delivery model for economic programming to increase responsiveness and accountability and to encourage continual insight from stakeholders.
• Establish specific key performance indicators and report on them regularly to ensure the overall effectiveness of collective efforts. These performance indicators should be consistent with the provincial government’s policy development, data collection and economic analysis efforts.
The economic growth plan will be a long-term plan, guiding us today and providing a framework for Manitoba’s priorities and planning moving forward. As new opportunities arise, the plan will provide context for responses by government and stakeholders.
We respectfully submit this report and recommendations, and we look forward to the important and collaborative work ahead to achieve economic growth and prosperity. It is our hope that this brings Manitobans together to work collectively, inclusively, and with enthusiasm and perseverance, for the benefit of all Manitobans.