Economic Development Greater Saint John (EDGSJ) recently released its 2018 Annual Report, entitled Dear GSJ. More than an annual report, Dear GSJ is a letter to the community and stakeholders, which includes a report on the regional economy and status updates on the economic development agency’s performance.
This document was written for the benefit of every Greater Saint John resident.
But why is this important?
Ron Gaudet is the CEO of EDGSJ, and he was anticipating that question. “We believe in this community and the people who live here,” said Gaudet. “Dear GSJ describes economic development in simple terms: what is really going on in our economy, what initiatives are underway and where we most need to lean into challenges and opportunities.”
Transparency is one of the themes that appear repeatedly in EDGSJ initiatives, since the launch of their three-year strategic plan and new organizational brand in January of this year.
“We value transparency and we have taken measures to enact a new, predictable reporting structure in the form of our one-page monthly dashboards, our more in-depth quarterly reports, and our comprehensive 2018 annual report, Dear GSJ, ” said Andrew Oland, EDGSJ Chairperson. “We want people to look forward to these reports and the information they contain because as the agency responsible for economic development in Greater Saint John, we want citizens and stakeholders to have a complete picture – whether the data is positive or negative.”
While it would be easy to focus only on the good news, ESGSJ is committed to providing the insights necessary for citizens and businesses to make the sort of informed decisions that will lead to a stronger economy.
“Our Report on the Economy leaves no doubt that the Saint John economy is facing economic and demographic challenges. Data on building permits, labour force and unemployment rates helps paint that picture,” said Gaudet. “However, there was also a lot of good news in 2018, including a modest population increase. We believe the future is bright, provided we collaborate on key priorities.”
EDGSJ strives to provide information not only at a local level, but to examine that local reality within a provincial, national and global context, in order to create a foundation for sound decision-making. Following that methodology, Dear GSJ outlines our regional economic performance in terms of what is happening in the world around us and outlines several priority areas that must be addressed in order to improve the Greater Saint John economy moving forward.
“Some of the most important work ahead includes expanding the number of people moving to our region, increasing the size of our labour force to meet the demands of industry, and creating opportunities for innovation,” said Gaudet.
However, publishing reports and highlighting priority projects will amount to little, unless the community and stakeholders come together to work alongside EDGSJ in support of a common vision.
This theme of collaboration may be the simplest in concept, but it is certainly the most robust in terms of its potential impact on the success of our regional economy.
“It’s a collaborative spirit that will lead to a better tomorrow for Greater Saint John,” said Oland. “Achieving our vision for a prosperous Greater Saint John region depends upon a community of individuals, volunteers, business owners, politicians and workers that are all fully aligned behind the long-term effort and the collaboration required to get the job done.”
As EDGSJ carries on talking with the community and stakeholders, the aim is to continue providing updates and education about economic development activities in the region.
Ensuring more citizens of Greater Saint John have a real understanding of economic development means our population will be better able to take the information provided by EDGSJ and react appropriately – whether by sharing good news stories about local businesses and entrepreneurs, championing the Greater Saint John area to friends and family who live away, or accurately forecasting for locally-based business operations.
Greater Saint John is on the right track. And as long as we work together on important issues, our future can be bright.
Economic Development Greater Saint John is dedicated to achieving consistent, long-term economic growth for the communities of Grand Bay-Westfield, Saint John, Rothesay, Quispamsis and St. Martins.
Dear GSJ – EDGSJ’s letter to the community and 2018 report on the economy (AKA the 2018 Annual Report) – is available for everyone to read at EDGSJ.com/DearGSJ.
This story was sponsored by Economic Development Greater Saint John.