OIN Pilot

Our inaugural conference was a great success, and I really would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved, and outline how important their participation was to our overall project.

Based on the feedback that we received during our conference, we generated 10 key recommendations that form the basis of our pilot. This is an exciting time for OIN, as we have moved from research to action!

We are now working actively with our key partners, especially those in Sarnia-Lambton. Through their innovative ihatetraffic.ca. website, we will work to launch content targeted specifically towards immigrant entrepreneurs.

Be sure to follow @rodolfo_oin on twitter and be sure to book mark ihatetraffic.ca!

Rodolfo Martinez
Project Manager, Ontario Immigrant Network

Reflections on our Inaugural Conference

On April 24th, 2012, OIN held its inaugural conference on immigrants and business succession. This innovative session brought together stakeholders from all over Southwestern Ontario and allowed them the opportunity to review our strategic recommendations, see how they could work in their communities and gave them the opportunity to commit to helping our project move ahead.

You can view our summary report at http://oinweb.ca/images/oin_call_to_action.pdf.

Rodolfo Martinez
Project Manager, Ontario Immigrant Network

OIN Whitepaper: Immigrants and Business Succession

*this blog was written as an introduction to our most recent whitepaper, which is available here*

It has been awhile since I’ve blogged, and I’d like to touch on the core of our work to date: entrepreneurship, immigrants and the importance of SMEs to our local economies.

For a little over a year, and with the support of MTCU, as well as our partners, we have been working to develop strategies to attract and retain immigrants to smaller communities. From our research, we found a very narrow focus: solving business succession issues in second-tier and rural areas by connecting disenchanted immigrants to entrepreneurship.

Imagine two very different people that want the same thing: fulfilling, well paying careers. Let’s imagine that the first is an immigrant who came to Canada with an education and valuable work experience, and chooses to live in Toronto. They begin their job search with a strong base of experience and education, only to find that both held little weight here. Needing some means to survive, they likely end up in a low skill or survival job while their human capital atrophies. This was not the Canada that was promised to them.

Now imagine an ageing entrepreneur who has put a good part of themselves into building a successful business. They now find that their children may be unwilling or unable to take over the business, or they may have no clear successor. How can they find a way to be compensated for their life’s work?

By connecting these two individuals together, we can give the immigrant a meaningful opportunity, higher quality of life and increase their lifetime earning potential. For the ageing entrepreneur, we can give them the reward that they deserve for running a successful business. But we are forgetting a very important key player: the community.

The community as a whole will no longer need to worry about widespread business closure. Jobs will be preserved, and as a new, energetic entrepreneur comes in, businesses will likely be expanded to employ more people. As time goes on, entirely new businesses may be created. The municipality also knows that moving forward, it will have a lrger, younger base of taxpayers and community leaders. This is truly a win/win situation.

Our whitepaper describes this in further detail, and as always we welcome your feedback via twitter. If you aren’t following us yet, be sure to add @rodolfo_oin and let us know your thoughts.

Thank you.

Rodolfo Martinez,
Project Manager, Ontario Immigrant Network

Election post for our supporters

In support of the initiative proposed by SWEA, Ontario Immigrant Network is calling on the province to create an economic development fund specifically for Southwestern Ontario.

During the recent Ministers’ Forum at the AMO conference, finance minister Dwight Duncan gave his unqualified support to SWEA’s proposal.

Since then, the SWEA proposal has been adopted in the Ontario Liberal election platform. It is critical that this idea becomes a key election issue in Southwestern Ontario and that the emerging government implements it during the first budget.

Our municipal governments, with limited resources and capacity, have demonstrated considerable success in transforming the Southwestern Ontario economy by collaborating on innovative solutions at the grassroots level. Ontario Immigrant Network believes that these on the ground partnerships are the key to economic recovery, diversity and growth in our region. Only multi-year support for a development fund can insure the creation and success of partnerships between all sectors of the economy in rural Southwestern Ontario.

We believe that our supporters, as well as those that support economic prosperity in Southwestern Ontario, need to make this issue important and their voices heard.

For more information on these issues, please visit:


And be sure to follow @swea_ca on twitter if you aren’t already!

See you at the polls!

Rodolfo Martinez

Executive Director, Ontario Immigrant Network