Asaph KaylaA rendering of the Gordie Howe International Bridge proposed between Windsor and Detroit. (Courtesy Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority)

From CTVNews

WINDSOR, ONT. -- A new business development program is now available for Sandwich area businesses and entrepreneurs due to funding through the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan.

The Sandwich Business Development Program is a $500,000, five-year initiative that is expected to provide ongoing support to existing and new businesses in the area by offering a free series of programs and two business summits.

The program officially launches on Oct. 27 at the Sandwich Business Development Summit - a free, half-day event open to businesses located in Sandwich/west Windsor and entrepreneurs considering locating to the area.

“We are pleased to support programming that will help the Sandwich business community thrive and take advantage of opportunities stemming from the construction and operation of the Gordie Howe International Bridge,” said Bryce Phillips, CEO of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.

“We have partnered with community organizations that offer expertise and knowledge to existing businesses or to entrepreneurs considering investment in the area.”

The summit is intended to help businesses identify and leverage opportunities associated with the Gordie Howe bridge project during the years of construction.

Speakers will focus on main-street revitalization, small business marketing, women-owned businesses and more.

A second summit is planned for 2023 to focus on business opportunities relating to the operation phase of the Gordie Howe bridge.

"Bridging North America is happy to give back, elevate and support the development and growth of the local business community,” said Aaron Epstein, CEO of Bridging North America. “The new bridge is critically important to the economic prosperity of the surrounding communities and businesses, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to invest in it."

After the summit, ongoing program support will be offered through WindsorEssex Small Business Centre, and Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator in partnership with Baker Tilly Live.

The free programming will be available through 2024 for businesses and entrepreneurs within the Sandwich/west Windsor area and includes access to one-on-one business mentorship and workshop series for business case development to marketing strategies.

Information the 2020 Sandwich Business Development Summit and Sandwich Business Development Program is available at