Staying competitive in a global economy is the ongoing challenge for local businesses.

The General Foods plant in Midland is the most recent case of a prominent manufacturing company closing its doors. Mayor Gord McKay says it’s a reality check.

“You can no longer just sell in Canada and survive on that basis,” says McKay. “It's transforming. It doesn't mean it's going away, we have to be understanding and supportive if we are going to survive here as a manufacturing province.”

While Midland has a long history as an industrial centre, more than 50,000 people live in the region as a whole.

So Midland, Penetanguishene and the townships of Tiny and Tay are now working together to keep businesses here and attract new ones

“They realize they can be most effective by partnering and collaborating together rather than working individually and almost competing with each other,” says Tiny Township Mayor George Cornell.

The Economic Development Corporation of North Simcoe was created four years ago to promote the region as an ideal place to work, live and play.

“We have Georgian Bay, we have hills, we have skiing, we have a hospital, we have an airport. We don't have traffic congestion and we have access to a market within a one day drive of one hundred million people,” says Roy Ellis, vice chair of EDCNS.

Established manufacturers like Weber that's been in Midland since 1967, say they are surviving by adapting to the changing economic climate, what they now need is skilled workers.

“We like people to look at the skilled trades as a viable option moving forward with their career and not feel they have to go off to the university or the city to find a job so take a look closer to home for employment,” Chris Edwards of Weber.

According to the economic development corporation, there are more than 100 skilled trade jobs available right now at manufacturers located in north Simcoe County.