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Toronto Global appeals to region to continue partnership

Councillors told Amazon HQ2 put a larger lens for investors on Durham Region

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Toronto Global has asked Durham Region for a five-year commitment that will see a partnership  with the organization into the next decade.

Toby Lennox, president and CEO of Toronto Global, was at Durham Regional headquarters recently explaining why the region should stick with them for business advisement. To those councillors who were feeling some apprehension about working with Toronto Global, Lennox explained the region can opt out of the proposed five year agreement at any time.

Toronto Global’s key initiatives for Durham include targeted value proposition development in specific industries, such as advanced manufacturing, food and beverage, health and life sciences, and agriculture.

Toronto Global also hopes to focus on sectors outside of technology that have higher potential to locate regionally through self-generated prospecting, use of lead generators, execute strong life sciences strategies, and help with the development of a food and beverage strategy.

The organization also plans to showcase certain assets Durham has that other municipalities don’t possess, such as the Automotive Centre of Excellence wind tunnel at UOIT, or the AI hub at Durham College.

They also hope to provide assistance on projects as requested by Durham, and to add services that increase the region’s value, such as data sharing, specialized research, social media coordination and others.

The reason Lennox and Toronto Global are asking for a five year term is because it provides stability to their pipeline and to their staff.

Lennox also noted the Greater Toronto Area bid for the proposed Amazon HQ2 has benefited Durham Region, as more businesses have become aware of the region.

He said the proposal, although unsuccessful, resulted in an increase in the level of inquiries about Durham, which in turn provided an opportunity to position Durham and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area at the forefront of requests for information. Lennox noted the scope of inquiries about Toronto has now expanded from the city alone to the rest of the municipalities in the GTA which provide Toronto Global with funding.

Toronto Global was founded in February 2017, with four members of the investment attraction team, two members of the marketing and communications team, no research and insights team.

Today, Lennox said there are 24 staff members, 13 of which are on the investment attraction team, the core of their business.

Toronto Global has a dedicated research and communications team, and is also moving toward self-generated leads and in-house prospecting.

There is now only one organization representing Toronto and the GTA, and that is Global Toronto.

Lennox also said Toronto Global is bringing a new approach to the table as they enter the in-house lead generation.

Toronto Global will begin to focus on digital and social media tools, as well as leveraging key partnerships with Global Affairs Canada, the Ontario Investment Office, and regional municipalities.

However, Ajax regional councillor Sterling Lee expressed some doubt about the effectiveness of Toronto Global, as he said, “he was not as sold as his counterparts.”

With Durham having a relationship going back two years with Toronto Global, Lee wanted to know what investments other regions have seen as a result of their funding provided to the organization.

Lennox said they have brought in seven investments, resulting in 1,618 new jobs over a three year period, as well as bringing in $97 million in capital expenditures during that time.

The seven companies brought in include four in Mississauga, two in York Region, and one in Brampton.