Webinar to show how sport can help boost economic development

As Niagara, and communities across Canada, prepare to bounce back from the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a free webinar Wednesday, Feb. 9 will outline the economic power of sport beyond the ways it is typically linked to the economy.

During the virtual session, Julie Stevens, Special Advisor to the Brock University President for Canada Summer Games, will share her knowledge about how economic development can benefit from an active economy. The webinar is part of the Business Breathers series facilitated by Goodman Group — the Goodman School of Business’ community-focused learning and development services provider.

Stevens, who is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Sport Management and the Director of the Centre for Sport Capacity, will draw upon her active economy (AE) research to emphasize ways that sport and recreation contribute to a regional economy. The discussion will address the value of sport, recreation and wellness to economic prosperity in a community.

“By positioning sport as an economic driver, new perspectives and possibilities for economic growth strategies emerge and we can begin to dialogue about the ways we might capture these new opportunities for our Niagara community,” Stevens said.

Attendees will also be able to see where consumption is happening in sports and recreation, what the touch points to business are, and how they can build innovative cluster-based economic development strategies based around sport in a community.

The session is targeted towards people who work in economic development, chambers of commerce members, business improvement associations, business owners, sports organizers and anyone looking to connect sport and business.

“Economic clusters are a way to enhance regional competitiveness and connect companies and institutions through commonalities,” Stevens said. “The key is to identify and support a cluster and the various stakeholders who operate within the cluster, through policy and strategic planning.”

Stevens is leading all academic initiatives related to Brock’s involvement with the 2022 Niagara Canada Summer Games and facilitates academic innovation through research, teaching and community engagement. Her research focuses on examining the impact of sport upon a regional economy and she champions sport and recreation as an essential community service.

She argues that sport contributes to both social and economic development, and plans to host a Niagara Active Economy Summit after the 2022 Canada Games to stimulate collaborative thinking and legacy action. Stevens is an active educator engaged with the community and has collaborated with several partners across public, non-profit and commercial sectors panning local, provincial and international levels.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Business Breathers webinars. Topics focus on leadership, management and innovation as well as the financial and social impacts of trending topics. Interested participants are asked to register online. A confirmation email will provide a link to access the webinar at the date and time of the event.

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