BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF –
Savanna Myers, Manager of Economic Development for Grey County made a brief presentation to council on July 13, bringing news of her recent trip to the Intelligent Community Foundation (ICF) Summit in New York June 7. The ICF rewards intelligent communities annually and recently named Grey County as one of the top seven intelligent communities in the world for 2017.
From the ICF website, "Intelligent Communities are those which have – whether through crisis or foresight – come to understand the enormous challenges of the Broadband Economy, and have taken conscious steps to create an economy capable of prospering in it." More than being about technology, these communities are boosting the economic and social well-being of their citizens and reducing the incentives for their young people to move away in search of other opportunity and a better quality of life.
Savanna explained that the ICF received over 400 submissions for this year’s awards. Those entries were narrowed down to 21 and then seven, before ultimately naming Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as the 2017 Intelligent Community of the Year.
Following her presentation, Myers pointed out, “Once a community makes top seven, they are brought into a network of all other top seven winners in the history of the program - so we have ready access to share ideas, transfer knowledge, etcetera, with other communities who have reached this level and have already ground tested initiatives and opportunities. So we get to learn from their trial and error.” She added, “The program is also something that allows us to unite our communities - businesses, leaders, residents, etcetera - across the county towards broader regional achievement. We aren't necessarily creating new things all the time, we're looking at what already exists and shining a light to realize that all of these different things are happening, thanks to different players - and that gives us something big to celebrate.”
As part of Savanna’s presentation she played two videos, promoting the county as a four-season tourist destination and as well as an economic hub. “More than lifestyle, we wanted to show actual life,” she said, adding that the strategy is to “market [our communities] to both tourists and residents.”
While many other delegations made video presentations at the Summit, Myers was quick to say that no other community showed winter activities on screen, nor did they present visuals and musical accompaniment without the aid of voice-over to represent their community. This made Grey County’s promotional video both memorable and impactful.
Other communities named in the top seven were:
Following the presentations at the ICF Summit, Savanna and her delegation met with several senior economic development specialists, who not only commended Grey County on their submission but expressed interest in foreign direct investment opportunities. She hailed the experience a big success, her presentation bringing applause from council, staff and gallery.
Myers will continue to work with Think Canada, an organization that helps identify such opportunities and matches local businesses that are looking for global partnerships with foreign investors.
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