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Sault companies on the hunt for defence work

Pilot project aims to ready businesses for bidding process

Companies in Sault Ste. Marie are embarking on a pilot project to secure work related to defence contracts.

Through the three-year initiative, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. (SSMEDC) will hire a manager and a co-ordinator to provide technical support, help companies ready bids, and become certified.

The EDC will also develop and host workshops outlining opportunities in the defence sector, along with developing a recruitment and retention strategy for businesses and innovation stakeholders in the defence industry.

“The ITB Policy opens a window of opportunity to meet with multinational companies that are part of global supply chains, not just in defence but in a number of other commercial and industrial sectors,” said John Febbraro, the Sault EDC’s manager of business development, in a news release.

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Under the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy, companies awarded defence procurement contracts are required to undertake business activities in Canada, equal to the value of the contract.

To support the initiative, FedNor announced it’s providing $785,740 through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program, which supports the growth of Canadian businesses, their expansion into new markets and their adoption of new technologies and processes.

“I’m proud our government is investing once again in the SSMEDC,” Sault MP Terry Sheehan said in a July 29 release.

“This investment will support Northern Ontario companies by helping them compete for lucrative defence sector contracts, leading to additional job creation and diversification throughout the riding of Sault Ste. Marie and the entire region.”