Milton is one of the fastest growing populations in Ontario. Since 2016 our population has grown by 20.7% (110,128 to 132,979 people in 2021), with projected growth of 250,000 people over the next 30 years. To proactively support sustainable growth, our team developed a strategic plan that addressed four key goals: Cultivate and grow Milton’s target sectors, bolster our start-up business community, build Milton as a premier destination for diverse talent, and promote Milton’s brand for economic development.
The strategic plan was thoughtfully designed with a sustainable lens on the environment, planning, education, and target sectors. Our goal is to work with our partners to build the Town as a sustainable leader. By identifying Green Innovation as a sector of focus, we are encouraging new and existing businesses to build and practice environmentally sustainable business models. Our educational partners, Laurier and Conestoga, strongly influenced the creation of this strategy. Our population of highly educated talent require a strategic focus on the Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sector to support local job creation. These are just two examples of key drivers leading to a strategic shift in how we approached economic development within Milton.
To effectively deliver on goals within our strategic plan, our team has doubled in size; including a new position that is leading Milton’s economic development marketing and research. The strategy provides a framework and guiding principles that are both transparent to council, our business community, stakeholders and guides the day-to-day work of staff as we adapt to a larger team. The strategy has enabled Milton’s first sector-focused business retention, expansion and investment attraction strategy. This allows our team to engage in a more meaningful way with our local businesses and leverage our cluster strengths to attract new investment. Lastly, the strategy is designed to align with our post-secondary partners, who are significant contributors to the local economy and talent pool.
A challenge encountered was helping our council and regional partners understand our fresh approach to economic development in Milton, as this strategy is essential for the next phase of our growth. Having Milton Economic Development Advisory Committee as our steering committee, and extensive Council education and engagement sessions throughout the process were momentous in the approval of the strategy.
Another challenge was balancing the department’s lean human and financial resources while also creating a strategy that was ambitious enough to convince council and senior management of the need for growth and future increases in investment in Milton’s economic development initiatives. This plan is a new direction for economic development in Milton and its approval is a significant achievement for the future work of our team.
View Milton’s Economic Development Strategy here: https://www.milton.ca/en/business-and-development/resources/Economic-Development-Strategy/Economic-Development-Strategy.pdf
The strategy is available through digital channels and serves as a resource during client-facing meetings, BRE programming, and work plan deliverables. It will also guides our team in building future partnerships with stakeholders. Specifically, the target audience includes: