Initiatives Prince George has been applauded on the international media stage.
This week, the magazine Site Selection - a U.S.-based publication read mostly by corporate CEOs and business strategists across North America - singled IPG out as one of the best municipal economic development agencies in Canada.
The magazine publishes an annual set of rankings in various business and real estate categories. IPG was named in the Top Canadian Economic Development Groups, outside of the Top 10 but within the Top 20 for cities and regions large and small.
The Top three were: Albertas Industrial Heartland Association, Calgary Economic Development, and City of Hamilton Economic Development. Prince George was among the five smallest communities on the list.
No one was more surprised by the accolade than IPG's chief executive officer Heather Oland. She knew the IPG product was strong, she said, but was given no notice by the magazine that the feature was being done.
"One of the things the City of Prince George has done very, very well is resource its economic development office," she said. "Mayor and council have prioritized growing and expanding the economy, and assisting local businesses to do that. We are very fortunate in our city to have an agency that markets specifically for this."
We make sure Canada is covered in every issue of Site Selection, from provincial and Canada-U.S. border updates to coverage of new projects in our industry reports, said editor-in-chief Mark Arend. The annual Canadas Best to Invest feature sheds additional light on Canadas many location options for corporate site selectors.
What the magazine's feature does best, Oland said, is give unbiased credibility to the claims IPG and other economic development agencies in the area are making. While IPG officials are paid to sell the Prince George story, Site Selection Magazine is not. This was not an advertisement, it was earned media, Oland said, and that is worth more than any paid ad campaign.
"We are in the position where we are the city at the centre of one of the largest economic growth regions in Canada," Oland said. "Prince George has a great Community Futures Development Corporation, a great Innovation Central Society, a great Chamber of Commerce, a great Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, many others, and private sector interests as well - all these, I think, factor into it as well."
Convincing other agencies and private firms to partner in that consistent messaging package has been paying off, she said. IPG has created a set of publicly available marketing tools to help attract workers and investment to the region.