When you drive into the City of Selkirk on Hwy. 9A there’s a sign that greets you at the southern border – it says: ‘The City of Selkirk – Where it all comes together’.
It’s a welcome sign, with a catchy phrase that might stick in your head if you’re new to the area. It’s also to the point and an accurate description of what Selkirk has in store for those who live here, those who want to live here, the businesses that call Selkirk home and those that may or may not know that Selkirk is where they want to be.
For those that fall into the latter category, the city has unveiled another welcoming sign, this one on the virtual highway, capable of welcoming far more than those who find the city by driving up Hwy. 9A.
The new Selkirk Sustainable Economic Development website, SelkirkNOW.ca, provides everything you need to know about investing in Selkirk and why you should.
Tim Feduniw, the city’s Director of Sustainable Economic Development, said Selkirk received federal funding that covered 50 per cent of the site’s costs.
“A high-quality Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) website is critical for a city to promote itself to potential investors. Supported by Global Affairs Canada’s CanExport Community Investments, the site is Selkirk’s new window to the world and a stellar information source for local and regional businesses,” Feduniw said.
“The Internet is the primary method companies use for site selection research – where companies identify, analyze and start making new location and investment decisions. A website is not only about information provision and image-building, but it is a primary tool for generating investment leads and increasing inward investment in a city.”
Built to deliver high-quality data to investors
Selkirk CAO Duane Nicol says that the vision for the site was not to create a simplistic online marketing brochure, but instead a web-based collection of research tools that are supported by the relationships, innovative technology, and processes that consistently deliver current and high-quality data to potential investors.
“Tim and his team built SelkirkNOW and the infrastructure behind it, in reverse. They started with the question ‘What information and data does an investor need to have?’ rather than ‘What do WE want investors to know about us?’. It is this investor-centric perspective that makes SelkirkNOW so radical. It’s authentic, it’s progressive, it’s world-class, and it’s a clear marketplace signal – we are different, and we mean business,” Nicol said.
The city sought out the best when creating the website and used their knowledge to make it easy to navigate and full of useful information that is exactly what investors are looking for.
Chris Steele, the Principal, Economic Development Practice, with EBP, a Boston-based company that provides state-of-the-art economic analysis and research that supports regional development, said the site hits a home run.
“The Foreign Direct Investment landscape is a competitive and crowded one. Jurisdictions need to understand that making themselves findable, relatable, and easy to know is critical to landing new investment and expansion,” Steele said.
“The new SelkirkNOW.ca website is a great example of how to do it! The website gives all of the basic information that a potential investor will need, puts it in context, and begins the process of introducing the community. It’s straightforward and honest without over promising. Moreover, it’s people-centered and lets investors meet the professionals who will be responsible for serving them as they consider bringing their businesses and employees to Selkirk. It’s a great welcome mat to the world.”
Built with innovation and progression for the ever-changing world
Mike Scatliff, principal with Scatliff + Miller + Murray Urban Designers, said the website is another example of Selkirk leading the way when it comes to innovative and progressive ways to do business in an ever-changing world.
“The Selkirk website is brilliant in that it connects us with the heartbeat of the city. It is not a static experience where you’re looking for administrative information and linkages. The Selkirk website has a personality, and it seduces you back each day to stay current on what is happening, on all local fronts. Like the daily news, you think if you don’t go back to see what’s current you might be left out.” Scatliff said.
“This type of progressive thinking is completely aligned with the way that Selkirk is now leading our municipalities into the future. For example, it didn’t take me long to not only understand the Selkirk Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, but to appreciate that there are very tangible steps that each citizen can take to advance the strategy and make a difference. I don’t think it’ll take long for other municipalities to see how citizen-friendly the Selkirk website is and follow their lead.”
Built with the most sophisticated economic development strategies
Dr. Patricia McCarney, World Council on City Data president and CEO, is familiar with Selkirk as it was the first and is still the only Manitoba city to receive the Platinum ISO standard for municipal data. ISO as a brand represents a standard of excellence recognized by the private and public sectors worldwide.
“Having worked with the City of Selkirk for several years, it has become very apparent to all of our team here at the World Council on City Data, that Selkirk is a city that not only thinks about data to drive sustainability and prosperity but, more importantly, puts that data to use for its leadership and citizens alike,” McCarney said.
“The City’s new Sustainable Economic Development website is one more example of Selkirk punching above its weight. As a tool for investors, it provides exactly the kind of information corporations look for when deciding where to invest. The data-driven nature of this new website is on par with some of the most sophisticated economic development strategies that some of the largest cities in the world are deploying. I look forward to the opportunity to share this work with the entire World Council on City Data network of over 100 cities across 35 countries.”
SelkirkNOW.ca aligns with the city’s Strategic Plan, Priority 2, that calls for taking firmer control of the city’s economic destiny and building on its status as a regional service centre; Priority 3 that calls for clear intentions for future development: and Priority 4 that calls for more effective regional development approaches.