Portage Regional Economic Development (PRED) looks back on a fantastic 2023 and eagerly anticipates an even brighter 2024.  Eve O'Leary, PRED's Director of Economic Development, shared the highlights and plans for the upcoming year.

"2023 was a fantastic year." O'Leary says, "We have had some great success stories. We had a very comprehensive investment readiness assessment done, and that was to determine how investment-ready our region is. That was to see what plans need to be put in place to remain competitive and growing. We also seen a lot of work happen for our new regional economic development strategy and that's going to be launched in the first quarter of that 2024, which is exciting."

2023 saw PRED secure over $165,000 in grants for essential studies and projects, reflecting their commitment to fostering success in the region.

Beyond attracting investments, PRED recognizes the importance of supporting local businesses. In 2023, they initiated over 30 interviews with the business community to understand their needs, setting the stage for continued collaboration in 2024. 

O'Leary says the tourism sector also thrived with the introduction of pathfinding signs, a digital guide, and hiring a full-time tourism coordinator, Kelly Verwey. 

She notes that PRED's revamped CRM system enhances their ability to track and support local businesses, while a new website, set to launch later this month, brings interactive features for better community engagement. 

"So, for 2024, our focus is to really focus on connecting with the business community more through business retention and expansion initiatives and continue in our investment attraction effort. We want to maintain the economic indicators through data collection and studies, growing the tourism portfolio to ensure that we're promoting the region of Portage la Prairie."