The city of Ottawa is distinct in that it features a large agricultural base with an agricultural economy larger than any major city in Canada, with rural land comprising over 90 per cent of its land area. Agriculture is clearly a key element of Ottawa’s economy, representing 10,021 jobs (2.5 per cent of the city’s labour force). There are a variety of key organizations and associations that assist rural businesses in the marketing and promotion of the larger agricultural and tourism sectors. They include:
Ottawa’s Countryside is a grassroots organization whose goal is to effectively market and promote one of Ottawa’s fastest-growing industries — the rural tourism industry. Some of the benefits of being part of a larger network of tourism operators include the ability to cost-effectively market the tourism industry as a whole, as well as develop projects and initiatives, such as a webpage devoted specifically to rural tourism in Ottawa, a rural tourism signage program and a rural tourism day drive map.
Rural Women’s Business Network
The Rural Women’s Business Network (RWBN) is a resource network for potential entrepreneurial women whose mandate is to help women promote their businesses through networking and the sharing of ideas and resources. RWBN holds quarterly dinner meetings in various locations throughout their coverage areas of Russell, Metcalfe, Greely, Edwards, North Gower, Kemptville, Merrickville, Oxford Mills and Burritts Rapids. The network dinners typically attract about 50 to 60 women, some of whom are involved in running farm operations or rural small businesses.
Rural Ontario Institute
The Rural Ontario Institute was created through an amalgamation of the Centre for Rural Leadership and the Ontario Rural Council in April 2010. Its mission is to be “a catalyst for dialogue, collaboration and action on issues facing rural Ontario and deliver leadership training and development to ensure that rural contributes to a healthy vibrant Ontario.”
Rideau Chamber of Commerce
The Rideau Chamber of Commerce is a member organization for businesses in the Rideau area, fostering and supporting private enterprise, economic vitality and stability and providing a forum for idea exchange. The Rideau Chamber of Commerce offers benefits for businesses of all sizes and works to assist community development.
Vars and Area Women’s Business Network
The Vars and Area Women's Business Network (VAWBN) founded in 1998, represents a wide variety of businesses that network and support each other. Members are from Vars and surrounding rural areas, as well as Orleans and Ottawa. Members meet the last Wednesday of the month and can also attend breakfast meetings the second Tuesday of the month. The group shares information on new products, services, tradeshow opportunities, seminars, new businesses in the area as well as other rural networking organizations. There are also frequent guest speakers presenting various topics.
Greely Business Association
The Greely Business Association, established in 2012, provides a strong, positive voice for businesspeople, effective leadership in matters of concern of the Greely community, and a common platform from which to pursue ongoing development of the Greely area as an increasingly relevant and sustainable business and shopping district.
Business Improvement Areas
Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) come into existence when local business and property owners join together to improve, promote and undertake projects that will result in a stronger and more competitive commercial main street or business district. With the City’s support, they organize, finance and complete local improvements and promotional events from their common location within a defined commercial area. Business Improvement Areas in rural Ottawa include the Manotick BIA, Carp BIA and Carp Road Corridor BIA.