Economic Development Officer, Small Business/Entrepreneurship – Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership

Published July 27, 2021

Position Overview

This position plays a key role in organizing and delivering workshops and seminars, providing one-on-one consultations, and managing the activities of the Sarnia-Lambton Business Enterprise Centre including reporting, collaboration and community outreach.

Experience in coaching entrepreneurs with the development and execution of business plans is critical. Proven ability to make solid business recommendations based on financial viability, market feasibility, and management skills. Strong financial analysis skills, previous personal experience owning and operating a small business and a strong understanding of policy/regulations relating to the start-up and operation of businesses are key assets.

Central to the role of the position is assisting local entrepreneurs to start/grow successful small businesses leading to employment growth in the Sarnia-Lambton area.

Duties and Responsibilities

Small Business Enterprise Centre Coordination:

  • Develop, prepare and manage a detailed annual business plan, general budget and project-specific initiatives including the setting of target metrics, maintenance and/or revision of the budget, measurement of performance to targets/budget, tracking and correction of variances, etc., for the Small Business Enterprise Centre.
  • Prepare accurate and complete monthly, semi-annual, and annual reports for the Ontario Government and other funding agencies, entering and auditing monthly metrics and data into identified software platforms, and ensuring all deadlines and requirements are met.
  • Contribute to the development of funding agreements with identified agencies or ministries, including the development of program targets, strategic plans for the delivery of program services, review of accuracy of all documentation, and implementation of reporting and delivery standards.
  • Ensure in-house and external resource documents are maintained with current information, including Customer Relationship Management software, government or funding agency platforms, website and social media content, and electronic document control.
  • Provide leadership, supervision, direction and delegation of tasks and/or project responsibilities to Small Business Enterprise Centre staff and resources, providing clarity on strategic plans and daily responsibilities and activities, establishing performance measurables, and providing feedback on performance.
  • Lead and manage all special projects and program activities of the Small Business Enterprise Centre including project design and definition of objectives and scope, planning of all project activities, execution of the project plan, measurement of completion and project success, and evaluation and maintenance of implemented projects.
  • Plan and implement all marketing, advertising and promotional activities for the Small Business Enterprise Centre (core initiatives, entrepreneurship programs, special projects, education and networking events), including design, development and approval of content and schedules for the website, social media, digital and traditional marketing.
  • Oversee marketing materials and strategies for the Small Business Enterprise Centre, including brochures, print advertising campaigns, social media posts, and digital marketing to raise the profile of the services in Sarnia-Lambton, promote business and entrepreneurship events, and increase registration and applications for Entrepreneurship programming.
  • Prepare monthly reports of all activities of the Small Business Enterprise Centre for the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership Chief Executive Officer.

Recognizing & Responding to Educational Needs:

  • Research, develop, teach and deliver in-person, online, and on-demand semi-monthly education sessions related to potential entrepreneurs and existing small businesses based upon local requirements, trends in small business education, changing operational or legislative environments to meet client demand and requirements under funding agreements.
  • Foster relationships with local, provincial, and federal subject matter experts to build knowledge and develop partnerships in the delivery of specialized educational content for clients of the Small Business Enterprise Centre.
  • Build relationships with staff at business organizations and area municipalities, identifying opportunities to cross-promote specialized business education content, coordinate collaborative efforts and shared communications, and establish regular communications and outreach meetings.
  • Coordinate Small Business Enterprise Centre events including in-person and on-line open houses, information sessions, and recognition occasions.
  • Oversee the development of event registration and provide content and support for media releases and promotion, advertising, social media, and direct contact to generate interest and participation for in-person, online, and on-demand semi-monthly business education sessions.
  • Develop, organize, and lead entrepreneurship networking groups based upon target demographics or common client issues to build relationships between small businesses in the Sarnia-Lambton community.
  • Foster and maintain a network of vetted and trained mentors, leading networking and mentorship events, and monitoring mentoring relationship progress.

Client Consultations:

  • Counsel and provide information on a variety of business topics to potential local entrepreneurs or investors, as well as early-stage business clients who wish to establish or expand their small business in the Sarnia-Lambton area, and make referrals to appropriate agencies or local service providers.
  • Provide virtual/in-person coaching, mentorship, and advice to clients that are developing business plans, including industry-specific competitive analysis, economic analysis, marketing strategies, human resources, health and safety, and financial research including a cash flow statement, balance sheets and income statements.
  • Develop and implement a list of service providers for the external referral of clients, including other agencies for business development and funding, contacts for municipal, provincial, or federal regulations or legislation questions or concerns, and a network of service providers for specialized and regulated business services.
  • Provide information on Federal, Provincial and Municipal statues, by-laws and regulations governing business activities.
  • Respond to entrepreneurship and business development enquiries from the public and provide research assistance for clients.

Entrepreneurship Programs:

  • Develop and oversee the delivery of approved Small Business Enterprise Centre’s entrepreneurship programs, including Core
  • Initiatives, Summer Company, Starter Company Plus, client-focused marketing initiatives and any other programming initiated by the provincial ministry.
  • Lead recruitment, participant screening, interviewing, training, orientation, supervision, mentorship and evaluation of the of Small Business Enterprise entrepreneurship programs and local, provincial, and federal grant programs relating to entrepreneurship.
  • Coordinate and liaison with local schools, training centers, community-based organizations, clubs, and local media to promote Small Business Entrepreneurship programs through presentations, open house events, distribution of marketing materials and advertising.
  • Provide one-to-one consultations and advice to prospective and approved Entrepreneurship Programs participants including
  • reparation, recording and follow-up from initial inquiry to program completion.
  • Review applicants to entrepreneurship programs against funding program eligibility standards and communicate decisions to the applicants in a timely fashion.
  • Ensure the preparation of correspondence for Entrepreneurship programs and contact applicants and program participants on behalf of the Ministry and funders including resolving day-to-day operating issues.
  • Oversee and approve the calculation and monitoring of entrepreneurship program participant expenses and revenues.
  • Oversee entrepreneurship programs site visits as per program standards, funding agreement and reporting requirements, tracking approved participants journey through the program.
  • Ensure the maintenance of the entrepreneurship applicant tracking system information and maintain assessment or evaluation for each candidate, producing statistical reports as required by government agencies or funding agreements, or upon request.
  • Lead the preparation for recognition events for entrepreneurship program participants, including coordinating with the Marketing function of the organization to recruit and manage financial sponsors, keynote speakers, venue, catering, marketing materials and awards as required.
  • Lead the recruitment and management members of the Sarnia-Lambton business community to participate as volunteers, guest mentors, speakers, and on advisory boards relating to Small Business Entrepreneurship programs.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of entrepreneurship mentoring programs, recruiting, screening, selecting, and matching experienced members of the business community with aspiring or new entrepreneurs and monitoring the relationship to organizational standards, best practices, and funding agreements.
  • Provide input and content relating to entrepreneurship programs to prepare
  • documents, reports, spreadsheets, presentations and databases for paper and web-based
  • publications.

Relationship Management:

  • Participate in a wide variety of business and entrepreneurship focused organizations
  • across the Sarnia-Lambton area to build awareness of the programs and activities of
  • the SBEC and encouraging entrepreneurship or support small business development,
  • leading to increased participation in workshops and seminars.
  • Build relationships with the business community from the banks, credit unions, social services organizations, and government agencies to obtain referrals and provide client assistance.
  • Attend appropriate business events to network and further develop the reach of clients accessing the small business programs and services


  • Incumbents must keep up-to-date on all relevant legislation, collective bargaining agreements, County Policies and Procedures, etc. ensuring that these are implemented as prescribed
  • Incumbents must possess the physical ability to meet the duties and responsibilities of the job description and/or the requirements identified within the position’s Physical Demands Analysis


Minimum Formal Education

  • A post-secondary degree or diploma in Business Administration, Finance, Economics or a combination of education and experience in a relevant discipline


  • 6 or more years of experience in a business discipline, management or ownership in retail, service or manufacturing sectors
  • 3 to 5 years of previous experience in management of a small business, including the supervision of full-time staff
  • Growth Wheel Business Advisor Certification is a preferred qualification
  • Demonstrated experience working in a team environment, using influence for program and project management, and engaging internal and external stakeholders under tight deadlines and challenging levels of expectations
  • Proven ability to establish performance and program metrics and measurements and lead and coach staff to achieving goals
  • Effective marketing and demonstrate engaging professional presentation skills coupled with technical and creative writing abilities based upon well developed research and analytical skills
  • Superior computer skills, including use and management of online video platforms for webinars and virtual consultations, expert level use of MS Office Tools and previous demonstrated experience in Customer Relationship Management Software, website management, social media and digital marketing
  • Knowledge in developing business plans, market research, financial analysis and budget preparation
  • Must have strong creative, strategic, analytical, organizational and interpersonal skills
  • Strong knowledge of Federal, Provincial and Municipal statues, by-laws and regulations governing business activities
  • A valid Ontario driver’s license and use of a vehicle.

To be considered for this position:

  1. Read the job description to make sure you understand this job.
  2. A cover letter is required.
  3. Your cover letter and resume combined should not exceed five (5) pages.
  4. Customize your cover letter to the qualifications listed on the job ad. Using concrete examples, you must show how you demonstrated the requirements for this job.
  5. You must apply online here.

Interviews will take place virtually, only those who qualify for an interview will be contacted. Successful candidates must pass reference screening and be legally entitled to work in Canada
prior to commencing work.

  • Position: Economic Development Officer
  • Salary: $70,639.46 - $84,093.80/Hour
  • Location: SLEP Sarnia, ON


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