I had a great meeting with Andy Shay last week. Andy is a well known cheesemonger who is doing some work with Cole Snell

of Provincial Fine Foods. They have just launched a great new cheese website. As mentioned in my last blog I am working with a team on an investment attraction initiative targeted towards bringing small scale and an artisan cheese making facilities to our region.

Originally our group was planning on positioning the site as an authority on cheese, however this was going to be difficult to do as there are others who are better at this than us. We can however collaborate with other cheese authorities to provide a similar deliverable which is where Andy and others come in. We have since decided to position ourselves as the “Cheese Start Up Authority in Ontario” a space we can and should own.

While we are not going to be the authority on cheese, we plan on collaborating with many in order to bring good, valuable and delicious cheese information to our site. This way we can add value to the website, the visiting experience and hopefully through web visits and word of mouth find those enthusiasts who plan to become the next artisan cheese producers in Ontario.

I undertook a similar initiative earlier in the decade to attract wine industry investment. It proved quite successful generating over 1000 leads and inquires and ultimately played a role in over 20 wineries and 1000 acres of grapes being established in Prince Edward County.

The goal of the meeting with Andy was to see if we could start to work together to share information and content, cross blog, link and add value to each others websites. We concluded that we could and would meet with our invest in cheese team and other  cheese experts early in the new year to brainstorm and plan.

The expectation coming out of this session is we that can share information and add value across our various cheese “platforms” – websites, blogs, facebook fan pages, etc… I was really appreciative of how open and willing Andy was to working together. This new digital Creative Urban and Rural Economy really seems to foster and thrive on collaboration. I think we are all going to be stronger as a result of this collaboration.

I will provide a blog update following the meeting to let you know how our collaborative efforts go. And if you know of anybody who we can collaborate with us or who would like to be part of an artisan cheese start up let me know in Ontario.

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