New private-sector economic initiative says yes to Winnipeg

The city’s private sector has raised $4 millon to launch the Yes! Winnipeg initiatve, which is designed to spur on local economic development by attracting new businesses, helping local entrepreneurs to launch new businesses and assisting existing businesses to expand so they can move forward.
The Yes! Winnipeg initiative investment campaign, led by Wellington West CEO Charlie Spiring, achieved its goal of raising $6-million in pledges over the next five years. The other $2-million is coming from the public sector.
“Over 100 firms and organizations have invested to make this a success, which clearly shows their belief in the importance of this initiative,” Spiring said. 
“With the investment campaign now completed, the Yes! Winnipeg initiative can now move forward and focus on starting to deliver on the creation of 4,200 new jobs over the next five years and the increased investment in our community.”
Originally founded by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Yes! Winnipeg will now become an initiative with Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. that will be responsible for business attraction, expansion and retention for the city of Winnipeg.
Yes! Winnipeg marketing leader Bill Morrissey introduced the nine members of the Yes! Winnipeg team, which will officially begin operations on January 4, 2011, at a recent press conference.
“This investment from the private sector will enhance our ability to grow results including bolstering proactive business retention, expansion and attraction efforts within the context of Economic Development Winnipeg’s broader economic development strategy,” said Marina R. James, president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. 
“We are very excited about the potential opportunities that exist for Winnipeg now that Yes! Winnipeg is operational,” said Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Dave Angus.  
“We have pushed for this initiative to be realized for a number of years and look forward to very positive results.”
Winnipeg is the third city in Canada — Halifax and Calgary are the other cities — to raise funds in order to create a major economic development initiative led by the private sector instead of a government agency. 
The expectation is that the Yes! Winnipeg initiative will create $1.4 billion in new economic activity in Winnipeg.