Issue 43

It was great to share the room with so many committed entrepreneurs and community leaders at our second Collaborate & Connect conference. We had a robust discussion about the importance of the visitor economy in the Greater Regina Area. When it comes to direct spending of visitors and the long-term value of the visitor experience. Every time someone visits Regina for business or pleasure, we have a branding opportunity to show them the heart and essence of our community. When we do it well, we create a positive attachment for that visitor. This may come into play during a future decision about making an investment here or growing an existing business here or bringing a group here. That is why our Tourism Regina staff and stakeholders are placing such a premium on creating rich and memorable visitor experiences.

Thanks to all who attended the conference, and to those working hard every day to create great visitor experiences. You are truly Thinking BIG!

Conexus’ Venture Capital Fund closes $30 million in inaugural fund

Since the initial launch in July, Conexus Venture Capital Fund has raised an additional $7.5 million for their inaugural fund, reaching their target fund size of $30 million. The Limited Partner base, all entirely from Saskatchewan, represent a strong mix of credit unions, individual business leaders, and a Saskatchewan-based retail venture fund with approximately 28,000 Saskatchewan-based shareholders. The Limited Partners collectively believe that the momentum in the Saskatchewan start-up ecosystem will produce outsized returns for our investors and communities.

Read more here.

30 seconds on… Agribition

Canadian Western Agribition is North America’s premier beef show and the largest livestock show in Canada. This year’s CWA features a fleet of brand new events and is predicted to once again generate substantial economic impact for the GRA.

The Vision of a Regina Food Economy Gets Support
GRA business leaders support emphasizing the development of the food economy as a key part of our future growth. In the quarterly Regina Executive Leadership Outlook (RELO) conducted for EDR by Praxis Consulting, we asked leaders “How important is the development of the Food Economy to Regina’s Economic Future?” Over 76% replied that it is very important.

PFM and EDR “a good fit,’’ says PFM Capital’s Eric Clark

On the face of it, Economic Development Regina and PFM Capital are both in the business of growing the economy by encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship and helping existing and new businesses expand and prosper.

“We like the work they do. We work the same way,’’ said Eric Clark, chief operating officer of PFM Capital Inc., which was founded 30 years ago in Regina and today manages close to $800 million in investment funds.

That’s why PFM Capital was willing and eager to participate in the Investment Partnership program, which is raising more than $1 million to help fund EDR initiatives, like the Regina Advantage program.

“Their support for growth is something that’s important to us because we’re local to Regina. We all live and work in this city and the benefits that EDR is trying to (produce) are good for us.”

“It’s a good fit for our business.’’

PFM Capital has its roots in Regina where it was formed in 1989 as a corporate finance company and since 1993 as an investment fund manager and private equity firm. In fact, PFM’s headquarters is located in one of Western Canada’s oldest private clubs, the Assiniboia Club at 1925 Victoria Ave.

“PFM’s business is investing in small and medium-sized private companies. And we don’t just operate in Regina. We have funds that invest across Western Canada. But the majority of the investment we do is in Saskatchewan and a lot of it is in Regina,’’ said Clark, a Regina native who got his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance at the University of Regina in 2010.

“Being headquartered here and with a number of portfolio companies (based) here, there are a lot of reasons for us to want to see strong economic development in the city. Not just from a business perspective … but it also leads to other things like a better workforce to draw from.’’

“Another thing we like about EDR is their commitment to entrepreneurship… We like that because that’s another source of strong growth in the province and the city. The more entrepreneurs there are, the more businesses there are, the more job creation. For us, it means more people to partner with to help grow their business.’’

And entrepreneurship is contagious. The success of one entrepreneur can lead to the creation of two, three or more enterprises. “Entrepreneurship is almost self-sustaining; it helps itself grow. Entrepreneurial people tend to spin out of those entrepreneurial companies with new companies and new opportunities.”

Clark praised EDR entrepreneurship programs, like Audacity, for helping to create a community for entrepreneurs to meet and get to know each other and hopefully generate more new businesses. “In order for that to happen, you need a central rallying point. EDR is helping to fill that gap and really help these people find each other.’’

He also credited EDR, which also has Tourism Regina under its umbrella, for helping Regina win the right to host big events, like the CP Women’s Open golf tournament in Regina last year. The LPGA event, won by Canadian golf sensation Brooke Henderson, attracted thousands of golf fans to the city and millions more through television coverage of the first-time-ever-in-Saskatchewan event.

“If you want to attract good companies here, to live and work here and grow their business, you need the other side of the coin as well, which is the events and community activities that EDR helps to ensure happen in our city,’’ Clark said PFM and EDR share another common trait: they both need to raise capital from private sector investors.

“I like the model of EDR needing to raise capital from the private sector, as well as the city. Then they can act as a bridge between the private sector and the city. In order for them to raise any capital from the private sector, they need to be in tune with what the private sector needs.’’

Another similarity between EDR and PFM is that both are in business for the long haul.

“We’re a long-term investor, too. We’re happy to do things like put some capital into EDR because we’re not looking for an outcome in two months or three months or six months. We’re looking for strong economic growth in Regina over the next 20 years.

“So being a long-term investor in this community, it just makes sense for us to be engaged with an organization like EDR.’’

Read more:

Visitor Economy Celebrated at Collaborate and Connect

Over 100 enthusiastic participants joined us for the second annual Tourism Regina Collaborate and Connect conference on November 7th. “We were really pleased with the representation of the whole industry that serves visitors to the GRA,” said EDR Director of Tourism Ashley Stone. If you missed it, or want to re-visit some of the content, all the presentations are available here.

Increasing Sales and Profits Expected

In the Q4 2019 edition of the Regina Executive Leadership Outlook (RELO), local business leaders surveyed by Praxis Consulting predicted better times in 2020.

30 seconds (maybe a little more) on…Destination Regina

Check out the 2019 Destination Regina videos here.