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Nov. 12, 2019 | Tuesday
Editorials and Opinions
Niagara Angel Network aiming to lead NOTL enterprises into 21st century
Niagara Angel Network. (Sourced)

Terry Mactaggart

Special to The Lake Report

We are now a year into the new council’s mandate and a number of issues are clarifying.

Among them are obvious concerns about heritage, traffic, better management of tourism as well as how future development can be spread throughout our community in order to benefit NOTL as a whole.

Creating strategies that have the best chance of producing a sustainable tax base is an overarching concern regardless of whether Niagara-on-the-Lake remains independent or is amalgamated with other parts of Niagara.  
One issue of particular importance involves how the pattern of out migration of young people might be tempered by convincing more of them and their families to remain in or relocate back to the community.

Our demographic is growing older, suggesting that greater balance is warranted. 

Tackling this effectively implies creating more high-paying job opportunities as well as ensuring that related educational, housing and technology infrastructures are in place to support them. 
Stimulating innovative, 21st century-styled enterprises in NOTL to propel such opportunities forward is an important element for our future economic development.

Such a strategy should include taking advantage and leveraging traditional industries like agriculture, history and culture, food and wine, along with engaging other available resources – capabilities at Niagara College and Brock University, for example, utilizing accessible buildings and pockets of land throughout the community as well as tapping into the talents offered by our residents. 
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of our citizens (including those relatively new to the community who have just retired from or are winding down successful business careers) are interested in enterprise development and would consider getting more involved helping to create this future.

Obvious ways could include providing mentorship, consulting and finance to promising entrepreneurs who are starting up or extending their businesses. Stimulating and connecting such resources can make a significant difference. 
An event scheduled later this month will appeal to those interested in venture creation and business development for the town and region. Preliminary recommendations of the Community Economic Development Task Force will be highlighted along with the results of its survey now underway.

Prospects for promoting a “Creative Common” will be outlined, designed to attract 21st-century capabilities and companies aimed at generating the benefits of effective economic development and higher-paying jobs. 
Over the years, several organizations have been formed to promote this cause, an important one being the Niagara Angel Network (NAN), a group of angel investors who have financed over $13.7 million in early-stage companies.

After experiencing considerable success, the network now wishes to expand its reach to include more members from Niagara-on-the-Lake. Meeting monthly, the Niagara Angels entertain pitches and investments in young, innovative companies primed for growth – visit www.niagaraangels.com for more information.
The event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 22 (the day after the federal election) at the NOTL Community Centre Simpson’s Room. Elements of the Economic Development Plan will be introduced and the case made for engagement in venture creation and development.

Terry Kadwell, executive director of the Niagara Angel Network, will discuss how an Angel group operates while a new job-creating Niagara AI-driven health tech hearing company seeking a modest amount of growth capital will be presented as a case study. 
The event will be a 4 to 6 p.m. affair with hospitality provided following the presentations. A regular NAN dinner meeting will follow on Oct. 30 at the Old Winery Restaurant for those who may be interested in joining this dynamic group. Please contact Terry Kadwell at 905-380-5802 or tkadwell@niagaraangels.com to secure your spot.
Those interested in attending on Oct. 22 should contact Terry Mactaggart at terry.mactaggart@bell.net or by phone 905-988-8905. I am organizing the event as well as being involved with NAN, the town’s economic development strategy and the subject company.

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