The Town of Gravenhurst has received an international economic development award.

Jeff Loney, the Town’s Economic Development Manager, accepted the Gold Excellence for the town’s Community Ambassador Program while attending the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Loney says he thinks Gravenhurst getting a Gold in the category of Video/Multimedia promotion was down to the town’s approach they took with the program.

“So the Community Ambassador Program is really taking the idea that everybody in the community can be involved in economic development,” Loney said from Georgia. ”Giving them that opportunity to get involved in a tangible way.”

The program uses a unique lead generation program that is used to attract both new business and potential new residents. The ambassadors were armed with 280 credit card sized USB devices that included a video, an invitation for a tour, a profile of the community and links to help get potential decision makers linked up with the right people in local government.

Loney explained the town was in the category of communities 25,000 and under but was in the running against a wide range of international towns from the US, the Middle East, and southern hemisphere. He said it was great to meet with people from around the world to trade ideas and concepts.

“We take these opportunities quite often to look at our programs and evaluate our programs,” explains Loney. “We want to make sure the Community Ambassador Program, the Annual Business Survey and the many other programs we run don’t get stale and continue to keep up with the day to day not only in Gravenhurst but globally.”

One of the judges, Craig Richard, President and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, remarked, “We congratulate all the award winners, and thank everyone who nominated their projects for sharing their success with fellow IEDC members. What we learn from each other helps us to grow and advance as a profession.”

Gravenhurst Mayor Paisley Donaldson says the award is an indication of council’s continued pursuit of economic development for the town.

“Over the past four years, Council has continued to be champions for economic development in Gravenhurst,” says Donaldson. “Getting recognized on an international level is a testament to all of the hard work that has been put into this initiative by staff and our community ambassadors.  Without great volunteers in our community, we wouldn’t be able to keep moving forward.”