A How-To Guide

The Hometown Advantage E-Book is a guide to how co-ops can support your local economic development strategy.

Economic development is hard, and you need all the tools in the toolbox. Co-operatives are an often-overlooked solution to rural economic challenges. Download the E-Book to learn how others have used the model, where and when it works best, and how it can help you reach your economic development goals.

Get the E-Book

Webinars for Economic Developers

Join the conversation! Each webinar in this series aims to create a space for economic development professionals to meet, share insights and challenges, and learn from their colleagues. The one-hour sessions each focus on a specific economic development challenge and are led by economic development professionals.

Besides hearing from leaders in the profession, participants have the opportunity to join breakout sessions to share their thoughts on the topic and hear from their peers.

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  • EPISODE 1 “The towns they are a-changin'”

    It’s no secret that towns across Western Canada are changing.

    From evolving industries, ageing, and migrating populations, to thinning job opportunities, living rural in Canada is starting to change — and fast.

    But odds are you already know this. And you’re not alone. In fact, by watching our Hometown Advantage series, you’re joining a network of community leaders, entrepreneurs and decision-makers from across Western Canada who want to see rural Canada thrive and ensure that rural Canadians have a plan for when the changes come. And we want to help.

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  • EPISODE 2 “It’s all been done before”

    Rural Canadians know their fair share of hardship, and know-how to weather it when the storm comes.

    No strangers to finding innovative solutions for the problems at hand, dedicated rural residents show that adapting is part of rural sustainability. Then, as well as now, rural Canadians prove that this “Do It Yourself” mentality is in their DNA.

    How do we know this? It’s all been done before.

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  • EPISODE 3 “Rural is Reelin’ in the Years”

    Baby Boomers are known to be hard-working, competitive, and resourceful, so it’s no surprise they have played a key role in Canada’s economy. But as the Boomers age, that’s starting to change.

    A 2017 Business Development Bank of Canada survey found that nearly 60% of Canadian SMB owners are currently over 50. And four in 10 of these business owners are aiming to retire in the next five years. Odds are, you know an entrepreneur that fits that bill right from your hometown.

    With the Baby Boomers all grown up, and the Gen-Xers close behind, a big portion of Canada’s workers are leaving the workplace nest to fly off into retirement. But instead of worrying where that leaves the rest of us, we can rest assured that business owners have a plan when retirement comes knocking.

    Boomers, you do have a plan, right?

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  • EPISODE 4 “Wide Open Spaces”

    Main Streets in Canada are changing, and some are having a harder time changing with the times than others.

    If you live in rural Canada or have taken a drive down a small-town Main Street, you’ve likely seen boarded-up storefronts or vacant commercial spaces. The writing on the wall for these spaces may not look good, but we think there’s ample opportunity behind those closed doors.

    In this episode of Hometown Advantage, we’ll show you how to open them.

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  • EPISODE 5 “Takin’ Care of Business”

    Think about your town’s Main Street. Think about the businesses along with it: the thrift store, the hardware store, the bank. Think about the people who work there and have worked there. Try not to think about the potholes and how it may not get fixed. It’ll only make things worse.

    With this picture in mind, what would make it better?

    Maybe you want to make a park out of an empty lot. Maybe you think that a pizza place will make a difference. Maybe, you want that pothole fixed. No matter what you came up with, you’re right. You know your home and what investments can better your community.

    But what if we told you that you could better your town by taking care of Main Street’s businesses while also investing in your home’s future?

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  • EPISODE 6 “Main Street Roads Make our Home”

    Now, you may be asking yourself, “Are businesses the only important part of our town? Is saving the local bakery and their apple fritters recipe really the most important thing here? What about, say, attracting new homeowners?”

    Well, the answer to these questions depends on how good those fritters really are. Odds are, if you love them, others will too.

  • EPISODE 7 “The End of the Line”

    Well, we’ve made it. The end of the line for our Hometown Advantage series

    We hope that Hometown Advantage has you thinking about rural sustainability and how the coming wave of business transitions will impact communities across western Canada.

    More than that, we hope the Hometown Advantage series has shown that DIY thinking can help community leaders, entrepreneurs, and economic developers solve the unique challenges and capture the opportunities that are in your town.

    With all the changes going on today, it may require a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears from people who care.

    But if history tells us anything, rural Canadians are no strangers to putting in the work.

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