A venture the City of Winkler and the RM of Stanley jointly agreed to provide support and funding for is coming to life.

Earlier this month, Mark Sawatsky was hired as the first ever Business Development and Immigration Officer for the region.

The role was established by the Winkler-Stanley Economic Development Corporation.

The Business Development and Immigration Officer will work with business, government, and community partners for the purpose of facilitating and advocating growth for Winkler/Stanley’s workforce with a focus on Immigration, In- Migration and retention. There's an overall goal of positioning Winkler/Stanley as the location of choice for the
purpose of Local Business expansion and attracting new business investment, work will also include providing direction and support for business looking to locate to the area and for new and early-stage businesses to grow and succeed.

Sawatzky grew up in the area and returned in 2000 to raise his family and start a management consulting practice. Prior to returning to the area, his experience included work as an Economic Development Officer for the City of Winnipeg.

“I look forward to bringing my strategy work as a consultant to this position, helping organizations in the region meet current challenges and develop future opportunities,” said Sawatzky.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Mark to this position. When the board identified this need in our business community we also recognized that the person hired needed to be the right fit. With Mark we have the entrepreneurial spirit that our region is well known for, the connectedness to our business community and the ability to create and foster relationships,” said Leah Klassen, WSEDC Board President.

RM of Stanley Reeve Morris Olafson said, this strategic partnership between the City of Winkler and the RM of Stanley is a building block for expanded economic growth and long term community sustainability. He added the ability to partner together on this initiative with the W.S.E.D.C. only makes them stronger, not only as municipalities, but as a region.

Meanwhile, Winkler Mayor Martin Harder said council is delighted to create a regional partnership with the RM of Stanley through the WSEDC. He said this will have a huge positive impact for our region as a whole. "Creating a venue that supports existing businesses assessing their needs that allow them to grow, create employment and improve the economy
in the region and the Province will be noticeable.”

Three goals have been set for year one with the establishment of this brand-new position and office.

FIRST: is to develop a labour pool strategy and provide oversight for that strategy considering three sources.
Those sources include having a strong labour pool coming through immigration, In-migration, as well as retention & Growth.

SECOND: To establish the Economic Development Office, its strategy, its marketing, and its business community

THIRD: to be a first point of contact and provide support for new business growth originating both inside and outside the region.