City (Windsor) introduces concierge service to guide potential investors
The Windsor Star/Dave Battagello
A new “concierge-style service” at Windsor City Hall should make it easier for investors to find what they’re looking for.
The Investment Support Program, led by the city’s new economic development officer Matthew Johnson, will help steer investors through the process of obtaining required municipal approvals or permits for services that can include planning, construction, licensing, utilities, technology and taxes.
“We are looking to make it easier to invest in Windsor and do business here,” said Mayor Drew Dilkens. “We moved mountains in the past, but not in any coordinated way.
“This streamlines everything and gives people one point of contact.”
Dilkens said the “one-stop” service for investors was created largely out of demand and after studying a blueprint often used by municipalities in the U.S.
“Although our process works for most investors, we always look for continuous improvements,” Dilkens said. “When I meet with investors part of their decision is the ease of doing business in an expedited manner.
“They tell us how jurisdictions in Michigan, Ohio, Georgia or Alabama offer a concierge-style service that helps investors. We know investors have choices and we want them to choose our city.”
There will be no costs to use the service, but there will be eligibility requirements.
Potential investment projects must create and retain a minimum of 50 jobs within the manufacturing sector or create more than 20 jobs in other sectors. A major tourism investment should be expected to draw a minimum attendance of 100,000 annual visitors.
The program is also designed to assist investors with any provincial approvals or standards which must be met.
Dilkens was also hopeful the program will help trigger more diversification in the local economy through investment in technology or knowledge-based job sectors.
The program is only designed to assist investment within Windsor’s municipal borders and not elsewhere in Essex County.
“It’s a service that has all our relevant players around the table at the early stages,” the mayor said. “But it also demonstrates a high level of commitment by our municipality.”