Creighton hopes revamped web presence draws investment

The Town of Creighton is stepping up its efforts to draw more economic activity to the community.

Town council has voted to purchase an account with Townfolio.co, a website that provides detailed community information to businesses and individuals deciding where to locate.

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At their meeting last month, council passed a motion to purchase a pro account on Townfolio for $599 per year.

The account will give the town access to the website’s data aggregation service, and a public profile page that will convey statistical information about Creighton, such as median age, labour force size, distribution of businesses by size, utility costs, educational institutions and community services.

Town representatives can then use this data to market the community to prospective businesses and industries. 

According to Townfolio co-founder Davie Lee, the concept was sparked by his experience working with the Irish government, helping Irish companies expand into Canada.

Lee realized that many Canadian municipalities did not have up-to-date statistical information at the ready, which inhibited their chances of attracting major businesses.

Together with fellow co-founders Craig Hall and Ryley Iverson, Lee launched Townfolio in November. The three have been reaching out to economic developers and municipalities across Saskatchewan.

“In a nutshell, we are a data outsource company for the economic development industry for communities that are interested in promoting their community,” says Lee.

Townfolio employees collect data on participating towns, using both private and public sources, says Lee.

The profile site for Warman, Saskatche-wan, for example, cites SaskEnergy, Pitney Bowes MapInfo and KPMG Canadian Corporate Tax Tables as sources for data.

Lee says the data is updated monthly, and municipalities can register for a free account, for which they receive a basic profile with limited information on the community.

Mayor Bruce Fidler brought information about the database to town council after hearing a presentation by Iverson at a Saskatchewan Economic Develop-ment Association (SEDA) conference in Humboldt. 

At the time, Fidler said a Townfolio listing could be a useful marketing tool for Creighton, helping the town connect with industries and businesses searching for locations for investments.

Lee says a community’s Townfolio profile is usually built within 30 days after payment has been confirmed.

At the moment, only Saskatchewan towns are listed on the site, but Lee says Townfolio is hoping to expand both east and west.

“We have gotten some interest from representatives in Manitoba,” says Lee, adding that the company will be presenting at an economic development conference in Alberta later this year.

In the case of Creighton, having clear data on Flin Flon and Denare Beach would help the community provide potential investors a clearer picture of the scope of the local market on both sides of the border.

“The idea has been brought to the other mayors,” says Town of Creighton administrator Paula Muench, adding that a January meeting of local mayors was being set up to discuss the subject.

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