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The Doors Are Open On The Newest Place To Do Business in St. Thomas

The Government of Canada recognized 2011 as the “Year of the Entrepreneur”, highlighting the essential role that small and medium-sized businesses will play in securing Canada’s ongoing economic recovery. ICE, a 5,500 square foot facility, is St. Thomas and Elgin County’s first mixed-use business incubator. Through ICE’s incubation program, client businesses will be better poised to compete in the marketplace and will increase the likelihood of their businesses succeeding over the long term.

ICE has now opened its doors with much fanfare and anticipation! John Regan, General Manager of the Elgin Business Resource Centre (EBRC) welcomed several local dignitaries to celebrate ICE’s official grand opening.
Joe Preston, MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London sent this message, “Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan our government is committed to creating jobs and supporting the people, communities and businesses of southern Ontario”. “This centre will develop and attract start up business here in St. Thomas, helping this region prosper now and in the future.”
Susan M. Gardner, Executive Editor of Municipal World magazine and past President of EBRC is President of ICE. “This is a very important and exciting day for every person and organization that has been involved in this project,” she says. “Elgin Business Resource Centre has celebrated many accomplishments since its inception in 1986. Now, with the opening of the ICE facility, EBRC has helped to position the City of St. Thomas and the County of Elgin County as leaders in the development of community-based small business incubators. As President of ICE, I could not be more proud of the EBRC, our founders, staff, supporters – and our partners and sponsors. Today, we celebrate our vision together, and all the work and partnerships that have helped make that vision a reality.”
“The need for a facility such as ICE has been proven several times over and is demonstrated by the more than 40 applications from prospective clients of ICE received to date,” says John Regan, General Manager, EBRC. “We are very proud to open ICE’s doors with a number of clients already on site and a long list of other small businesses waiting to come on board.”

Over the past few years, St. Thomas and Elgin County have been particularly hard hit by the global economic recession. Thousands of jobs were lost and factory closures became a regular occurrence in the area; however the spirit of the local entrepreneur has remained very much alive. The establishment of business incubators for entrepreneurs is a compelling story that delivers

proven advantages on many fronts: Studies have found that business incubators produce new jobs at far less cost than do other economic development investments such as infrastructure projects; Businesses in incubation programs can operate more efficiently, reduce their risk, and experience accelerated times to market for commercialization; and, Incubators aim to create and retain jobs in a community, diversify local economies and enhance a community’s entrepreneurial climate, which in turn draws more businesses to the area.

In a time when it has been hard to find reasons to celebrate, the Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs is bringing the region together by opening its doors to opportunity. We are celebrating those entrepreneurs who are creating new business in our area, the politicians and government agencies who stepped up to help us revitalize our economic outlook and with community support, and our local sponsors who believe in our vision and have committed to being part of the plan to create sustainable employment in St. Thomas and Elgin County.