The St. Mary’s Municipal Chambers in Sherbrooke was the site as Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN) launched its new investment database tool – Economic Development Investment Mapper (EDIM), Jan. 22.
It’s noted, in a release to accompany the launch, the initiative was conducted in partnership with the municipalities ESREN serves; the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, Municipality of the District of Guysborough, the Town of Antigonish and the Town of Port Hawkesbury.
“As well as a host of other partners, including the Eastern District Planning Commission and Bluejack Consulting Inc.,” the release noted.
A definition for an investment web map viewer is included as well.
“A tool used to represent many different types of economic development data spatially,” the release stated.
“For example, if an investor was interested in relocating his or her business to Nova Scotia, they might want to know about transportation routes for products by car, air or port, municipal zoning, access to grid and communication infrastructure or, perhaps, would want to know about existing aquaculture sites and locations of specific geological minerals. They would, probably, also want to know about access to healthcare facilities or schools, if coming with family.”
ESREN CEO John Beaton is quoted in the release.
“Our investment web map viewer is a project we have been building on since early last year and there is an incredible amount of data that went into this tool from many sources,” Beaton said.
“We took on this project with Bluejack Consulting, for a number of reasons; mainly, we wanted to be able to respond quickly to inquiries that come in from potential investors, so that we can greatly improve our chances of landing a new business venture in the region. If we take too long gathering information and assembling it into a report for an investor, we have likely lost the opportunity.”
Talking to the Casket a day after the launch, Beaton said the initial response was very positive.
“That it’s going to be a very powerful tool that can be used by many stakeholders,” Beaton said.
“Originally, we had planned for the database to be, sort of, an ESREN tool for us to respond to investor inquiries, but when I questioned some of the audience members in terms of their reactions, they felt it would very useful to themselves and their organizations.”
Beaton said a second observation was about its potential for expansion.
“As we get more and more pieces of data, there is a lot more that this tool could be used for,” he said.
Asked if the tool was based on something already being used by other RENs or large municipalities, Beaton said it’s unique to the area.
“There are other tools, like Land Asset Database for example, but our tool was specifically built for us,” he said. “It has a lot of different layers of data; we built this one custom for us, from the ground up.”
The release noted there is potential for a phase two of the project.
“ESREN plans to look into a data acquisition project that will further build on the some of the data gaps,” the release stated.
“In the meantime, we are looking forward to putting EDIM to good use and hopefully seeing many community partners using it as well” Beaton said.