By KRYSTA PUTMAN
In 1963, Welland launched the idea of businesses helping businesses, and the Welland Development Commission (WDC) was created as a non-profit arm of the municipal government.
It was meant to help bring industry to the community and revive forgotten dreams of owning a business. It became more significant in recent years as Welland began to lose industries, with a huge decline in manufacturing jobs.
Funded partly by the city through taxpayer funds and a great number of corporate sponsors, it is comprised of Chamber of Commerce and citizen appointees, members of council and two full-time staff.
The commission is always seeking new businesses interested in establishing or expanding their companies in the city, as well as building working relationships with local businesses.
Connecting with the right people and having the right avenues in which to do so, can make all the difference when starting the process of opening or improving a business. It promotes new business and investments within Welland and provided local businesses with information as it researches specific needs.
Born and raised in Welland, 48-year-old Dan Mastronnin wonders why the WDC doesn’t advertise more.
“If people don’t know about it then it’s not going to help,” says Mastronnin. “I would have loved to get help when I was younger to start an auto shop, but as far as I knew, there weren’t any resources to help me.”
Among other services provided is help with statistical information, a business directory database, site selection assistance, inventory of available land and buildings, research information for specific inquiries, market research, industry networking and general information on the city.
Many residents are unaware of the opportunities it provides.
“I’ve always wanted to start a small bakery in Welland, but aside from the money involved I would have no idea how to start a business,” says 23-year-old Kyla Cranston. When told about the resources, Cranston was visibly excited at the prospect of getting her dream started.
“I have never even heard about a group like this, and especially with the economic state Welland is in, I think it is a great idea.”
Welland Development Commission, 60 East Main St. ,Welland, Ontario L3B 3X4 (905) 735-1700 ext. 2111; (800) 735-3771; Fax (905) 735-1543
Dan Degazio, manager, Economic Development
Lina DeChellis, administrative assistant.