The pilot project launched by the Steinbach Economic Development Corporation was presented to Steinbach City Council last week.
Michelle Bezditny, Steinbach Economic Development Officer says, “Agribusiness as a center is Steinbach’s best bet. We are already good at this. It also speaks to global demand, ag globally is leading in-demand sectors. It really speaks to a long-term growth.”
In May, the results of the study were given to stakeholders in a meeting at Mennonite Heritage Village explaining the strategy and implementation to make Steinbach the centre of advanced agribusiness on the Canadian Prairies.
Steinbach Economic Development Corporation hired brand strategists Sinclair Barnes to run the study. They identified five top themes.
The first of these is collective determination.
Bezditny says Steinbach has a very community-minded business community.
“Not only do they think about themselves, but their primary focus is also looking at the community. There’s a sense of urgency, I think in all of us, for some progress.
She notes another theme is that agribusiness is the foundation, as it’s something Steinbach is already good at, and the importance of maintaining Steinbach’s values or, not losing sight of what already makes Steinbach unique.
“So this general consensus of ‘why Steinbach?’ Understanding loyalty, work ethic, sense of family values, the workforce we’ve also heard is easier to work in Steinbach than outside the community.”
She notes another theme is to think bigger, beyond our city, “think regionally, this is in terms of ambition.”
The final of these five themes is building consensus and collaboration.
“In order for economic development to be successful in Steinbach, I mentioned that holistic approach, but it's also going to be a collaboration between us, the city, the region. and beyond. And understanding what that looks like as being a welcoming community and we are better together.”
Bezditny says the focus is not necessarily just agribusiness, but it also incorporates the ecosystem that supports that sector.
“It does not mean turning away other opportunities. For example, let's say a biotech company, but it means that when we're focusing on agribusiness, that cluster ecosystems can support that.”
Bezditny says they are not only looking to the end of this pilot project, which is in 2025, but they are looking well into the future.
“We're reframing Steinbach's opportunity from agriculture to agribusiness. It is a robust, ambitious vision. It does position Steinbach well into the future.”