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As a community, Kitchener has a long history of taking brave action to ensure our city remains prosperous and vibrant:

In the 1850s, local leaders attracted the Grand Trunk Railway which would lead to decades of industrial factory development and the rise of Busy Berlin.

In the 1960s, the ambitious development of the Conestoga Parkway would lead to decades of suburban residential, commercial and industrial expansion. The community also envisioned a civic arts district that would ultimately become home to the Centre In The Square, KW Art Gallery, Kitchener Public Library and many key government buildings.

In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, the City lead the development of four business parks which are now home to the majority of the city’s manufacturing companies and jobs.

In 2003, the City of Kitchener began rallying our community around two brave ideas – revitalizing our downtown and building out a new knowledge-based ecosystem focused initially on technology and life sciences. What started with partnerships with the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Communitech, among others, has grown to become a true community-built success story.

In 2016, our community joined forces with the City of Toronto and other GTA Cities to form the Toronto-Waterloo Region Innovation Corridor – an ambitious movement to bring greater connectivity and prosperity between two thriving centres.

More recently, Kitchener City Council has heard from residents that job creation, economic prosperity, a thriving cultural city, and great places to live are important aspects they want the City to focus on. As such, Council has identified a ‘Vibrant Economy’ as a key ongoing strategic priority for our community.

make it kitchener 2.0 - It’s Time to Think Bravely Again!

As we look ahead to 2020, and the development of the City’s next Economic Development Strategy – Make it Kitchener 2.0 – we invite you to play an important role in informing our community’s next brave priorities. We know change is happening all around us at a faster pace than we’ve ever experienced. And our community is not unsusceptible to change. If anything, our community comes together to lead the kind of change we all want to see in our city. This is an opportunity for us to think boldly and ambitiously about the transformative change we collectively want to lead.

We want to hear from you!

There are four key ways to be involved:

  1. Share your ideas on the Make It Kitchener 2.0 Idea Board
  2. Complete an online survey
  3. Sign up to attend Ideas of the Brave, a community symposium in September
  4. Share your thoughts and ideas directly via email

what is an economic development strategy?

In simple terms, it’s a vision and series of strategic actions that guide the work and investments of the City and our community of partners. It outlines the key actions we will take over the next four years to ensure our community remains competitive. 
In particular, the actions support:

  • Job Growth - by helping local companies remain competitive and grow
  • Business Attraction – by attracting and supporting new companies located in Kitchener
  • Industry Growth – by identifying the unique growth needs of various industries just as manufacturing, technology, food production, etc.
  • Community Vibrancy – by supporting vibrant streets and communities through new shops and restaurants, festivals, tourism, arts, culture, etc.
  • Talent Attraction & Retention – by ensuring we have the types of amenities, housing and vibrancy that make people want to come to, work in, and ultimately stay in, Kitchener.

what is make it kitchener 1.0?

In 2015, the community developed Make it Kitchener 1.0, an ambitious economic development strategy with 54 action items that would lead to 102 collaborative accomplishments. This included, for example, the development of new wet labs at Velocity, a new Underground Makerspace Studio at THEMUSEUM, expanded and enhanced festivals, and the conversion of 44 Gaukel into the Creative Hub, featuring an accelerator with maker and artist studios. Read the full strategy.

But what made Make it Kitchener so successful was that, unlike many economic development strategies that are led entirely by a city, our strategy was a platform for our community to collaborate and #MakeChangeTogether. Of the 102 accomplishments, 15% were led by the community and local businesses, 41% were partnerships between the City, community and business leaders, and 44% were led by the City. It was a true community success story. And that’s how we like it in Kitchener!   

Have questions about make it kitchener 2.0?

No problem, for help just contact Lauren Chlumsky, Economic Development Analyst. 


519-741-2200 ext. 7072

Article Last Updated 30.07.2019

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