Mediaplanet: What makes the Peterborough and the Kawarthas community unique?

Rhonda Keenan: Our business community takes an approach that's genuinely collaborative rather than fiercely competitive. Here, established businesses work closely with aspiring entrepreneurs and with our three post-secondary institutions to ensure that people are supported and welcome to contribute to the community’s economic vibrancy.

MP: You are home to Canada’s treasured waterway. How has your connection to water impacted the community?

RK: The region’s industries — from manufacturing to tourism, and, more recently, cleantech — have been shaped by their connection to water. Our proximity to natural assets attracts people and companies with a commitment to sustainability, resulting in innovative cleantech start-ups and incredible research institutions at Trent University and Fleming College.

MP: How are you adapting to changes in traditional industries and positioning yourself as a leader in other emerging sectors?

RK: We're seeing a shift in our local economy and adapting to ensure our community remains competitive and attractive. There's a real support for small business in our community. We're also looking to diversify our economy by playing to our strengths in cleantech and cultivating opportunities to grow this sector.

MP: How is Peterborough and the Kawarthas contributing to innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada?

RK: We're working with what's naturally here to build a successful innovation and entrepreneurship hub, especially with two recently developed assets: VentureNorth, an entrepreneurial hub in Downtown Peterborough, and Cleantech Commons at Trent University, a research and innovation park that focuses on our region’s strengths in cleantech, both in business and academia. We're excited to see how this will take our community to the next level.