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We Do

We at the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation (SLDBC) are proud of our Community Economic Development (CED) initiative. We work alongside key stakeholders in our region to facilitate new ideas for economic improvement in Lambton County. Our goal is to see our region continually grow and develop in areas relevant to our culture and community, and we believe that with open, honest communication with clients and community leaders we can continue to build a prosperous economic atmosphere for Lambton County businesses to thrive.

We work with businesses to develop projects that enhance conditions for businesses to succeed, to assist not-for-profit organizations achieve sustainability, and to facilitate an overall more culturally vibrant community. We place a special focus on smaller municipalities and their interests within these initiatives, making it a priority to find solutions that benefit all.

How Does
it Work?

To undertake a Community Economic Development (CED) Project, SLBDC will assign an Officer to help carry out the needed steps. They will work closely with business leaders and owners, as well as other interested parties, to successfully accomplish each project. The officer will begin by gathering economic development ideas from local visionaries, and meet with local groups, such as not-for-profits, community groups, or small businesses, to discuss possible project ideas. They will then work to develop strategic plans and proposals for specific projects to demonstrate how business or employment opportunities can be enhanced.

The CED Officer’s involvement will vary throughout specific initiatives, but will most likely include project planning meetings with volunteer groups to discuss ideas and gather thoughts to develop a plan for presentation. They may also be involved in the project funding application process, which may include assistance to access available funding and assisting with writing needed proposals to apply. A CED officer is also equipped to work with the group throughout the entirety of the project, development, monitoring progress as the project develops and to offer advice and resources along the way.

In the past, local CED Projects have encompassed areas of:

  • Community Strategic Planning
  • Tourism Attraction
  • Agriculture Business and Rural Tourism
  • Diversification into New Business Sectors
  • Labour Force Skills Development
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Youth Retention and Attraction

How Does it
Benefit You?

Periodically, SLBDC receives information regarding funding opportunities designed to benefit small businesses and not-for-profit organizations which can be distributed to businesses based on what type of support they’re seeking. When you let us know of what sort of assistance you require, we can help connect you with the right opportunities to receive funding. We also assist business owners in writing and refining funding applications and proposals, which can often be a more tedious process than they first realized, and have numerous resources and contacts that offer invaluable support and direction.

As a community organization, we are focused on connecting business owners with the people and resources they need to succeed, and we also believe in the power of education. With this in mind, your business can benefit from the Community Futures program with its seminars, where we connect business owners with assistance from a variety of government agencies.

The seasonal Point Edward Moonlight Farmers’ Market is an example of how the Community Economic Development program worked to connect local specialty food artisans with eager consumers dedicated to shopping local. Initiatives like Sarnia-Lambton Business Week is another way in which we provide valuable and engaging programming to benefit small and medium sized enterprises, and not-for-profits. We are currently involved in several projects which focus on various areas of our economic climate, including youth entrepreneurism, agriculture, culinary tourism, immigration, economic diversification and improving access to capital.

Interested in learning more or how you can become a part of a Community Economic Development project? Let us know! We’re here to listen and believe that communication is the foundation for every success business and project!

Creating Opportunity, Connections & Community:
One bite at a time.


‘Shop Local’ isn’t a slogan; it’s a call to action that resonates in border communities like Sarnia, and Lambton County. It’s not a matter of being preachy and shifting ALL of your spending. A positive impact on our local economy results from making conscious choices and taking time to explore and support options in our home communities.

A statistic to get you thinking uses the example of local food: $10 per week = $2.4 Billion – ‘If every household in Ontario spent $10 per week on local food, we’d have an additional $2.4 Billion in our local economy at the end of a year. Keeping our money circulating grows those dollars to $3.6 Billion and creates 10,000 new jobs.” – Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto (2012)

Supporting local businesses whether agriculture, service, retail or tourism based is critical, and results in more vibrant communities – fewer empty storefronts and increased business activity, thanks to entrepreneurs investing time, effort and personal funds to create opportunity. SLBDC has championed startups, business expansions and community economic development since 1988. We offer  business loans up to $250K, assistance with business plans, accounting advice and more.

An initiative created to champion small enterprise, a shop local focus and enhance community engagement is the Point Edward Moonlight Farmers’ Market. Launched in 2015, the Market is a seasonal, producer based Farmers’ Market held each Thursday evening from 4-8pm under the Bluewater Bridge, running through October 6th. Former Mayor Larry MacKenzie remarked: “The Farmers’  Market was a welcome addition to the Point Edward community in 2015, and we look forward to more exciting vendors that can only enhance the experience of a visit to the Point.”

The market is an ideal venue for farmers selling premium meats, produce, fruit, goat cheese, maple syrup, herbs, flowers, honey and new this year, local VQA wines from Alton Farms Estate Winery. Rounding out the experience with delectable baked goods, gourmet pierogis, healthy chocolate and a rotating slate of high quality artisan goods, the market is a unique shopping venue and community meeting place with old fashioned service. Many vendors take special orders to make your shopping experience outstanding – just ask! A number of vendors have received assistance to launch or expand through our business counselling efforts.

Supporting agricultural enterprises and complimentary businesses by offering customers the opportunity to reconnect with how their food is grown and raised is rewarding. Get hooked on how easy, fun and tasty it can be to shop local – not just through the peak seasons, but throughout the year.