Shelley Hirstwood

Shelley Hirstwood
Director of Business Development

613-544-2725 ext. 7232
[email protected]

Shelley focuses on Business Attraction and Aftercare support by seeking potential business opportunities and foreign direct investment to encourage businesses to relocate to Kingston. She coordinates those opportunities with government, realtors, site selectors and stakeholders to facilitate site selection and business development for businesses that are interested in relocating to Kingston.

Why Kingston?

Kingston is a beautiful, modern and strategically located Smart City that offers many advantages for local businesses. No other site in Ontario can match Kingston's unique combination of strategic geographic location, state-of-the-art infrastructure, diverse workforce, and concentration of research & development capabilities. From Kingston, companies can effortlessly conduct business around the corner or around the world.

Photo of a first place ribbon  #1 Small City for Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Times UK
Photo of a first place ribbon  The Best Place to be a Woman in Canada 2019, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Photo of a first place ribbon  Top Place to Live in Canada, Money Sense Magazine
Photo of a first place ribbon  Most Vibrant Downtown, Journal of American Planning

Feihe Logo"I had the opportunity to work directly with Kingston EcDev for our Feihe project and we were extremely impressed by the leadership the team demonstrated on behalf of the people of Kingston. We are even more confident that our groundbreaking project will be a success under their guidance."

-Judy Tu, Vice President, Feihe International

Frulact Logo“I have the pleasure to congratulate you, for the enormous job that you are doing for the success and visibility of “my new city” of Kingston. You are really a passionate team leader, that loves what you are doing and have the right capability to make the things happen… and it makes the differences.”

-Joao Miranda, Owner, Frulact

Photo of Kingston business park

Business Parks

Kingston is home to four well-planned and fully-serviced, shovel ready business parks. These city-owned industrial lands have state-of-the-art infrastructure with easy access to Highway 401 and the downtown core. These lands are zoned to allow a variety of businesses ranging from general and prestige industrial to limited commercial and service-related uses. A wide selection of parcels of various sizes are available.

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Access To Markets

Strategically located in the middle of North America, Kingston is the regional centre for Eastern Ontario. Located along Highway 401, on the coast of Lake Ontario, Kingston is a short drive from major Ontario business centres, including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal as well as the American border. The area within an eight-hour drive of Kingston represents the third largest GDP concentration in North America, with 25 million people within an 8-hour drive, 130 million people within a day's drive and only 30 minutes from the US border.

    Proximity to neighbouring Canadian cities by car:

    • Toronto, ON: 260 km (2h 15m)
    • Ottawa, ON: 190 km (2h)
    • Montreal, QC: 280 km (3h)

    Proximity to neighbouring US cities:

    • Syracuse: 213 km (2h 15m)
    • Rochester: (3h 30m)
    • New York City: (6h 19m)

    Labour Force

    Kingston is home to world-class educational institutions including Queen’s University, The Royal Military College of Canada and St. Lawrence College and boasts a high percentage of degree, diploma and certificate holders.


    The City of Kingston has a sophisticated network of highways, railways and air transportation that is fully integrated with U.S networks. We offer upgraded water and sewer infrastructure to support large scale projects while broadband and fibre internet throughout the city provides high-speed connectivity.

      Photo of a transport


      Direct access to highway 401 and a short drive to the 1000 Islands Bridge and Interstate 81 which offers direct access to all major cities in the Northeast & Midwest United States.

      Photo of a train


      Kingston is an express stop between Montreal and Toronto for VIA Rail.

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      The City of Kingston has completed the extension of its runway and is expanding the terminal with a $16.1 million upgrade project. The airport will remain open throughout the project with 7+ daily flights from Kingston to Toronto.

      Photo of a ship at the Picton Terminals deep water dock

      Water - HWY H2O

      Kingston is located on the shores of the St. Lawrence River with easy access to Picton Terminals deep water port with container capacity.


      Kingston has low corporate taxes and waives development charges and impost fees for all industrial developments.

      Municipal Property Assessment & Tax Levy Look-up Tool

      Quickly find out the assessed value of homes and other properties, as well as their taxes, by using the new Property Assessment and Tax Levy Lookup Tool.

      For more information on Kingston Rates and Fees, please visit the City of Kingston website. All taxation inquiries should be directed to [email protected].

      Rural Innovation Initiative Eastern Ontario

      Eastern Ontario Innovation Initiative made possible with funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) supports the transition and growth of traditional SMEs, manufacturers and communities into the new rural economy, driving direct investments by private companies in innovation capital producing aggregate local and regional effects.

      Innovation capital is investment in Industry 4.O, new or next generation equipment, technology, products and processes that lead to business growth, access to new markets and investment in people (job creation).

      Supported projects will strengthen competitiveness, productivity, business growth, process innovation, new market access, creation and retention of employment opportunities, the re-skilling of the industrial workforce, incremental sales and increased profitability, and as a result, diversify and transform our local communities and economy.

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      FedDev Business Scale-up and Productivity

      To continue driving innovation and growth in the region, FedDev Ontario has been provided over $1 billion in new funding.

      FedDev Ontario is looking for:

      • Innovative and globally-oriented businesses seeking to accelerate their growth.
      • High-potential firms (including accelerator graduates) that are commercializing innovative products, technologies and processes.
      • Firms with scale-up potential looking to improve productivity through the adaptation/adoption of highly innovative, first-of-its-kind technologies with the goal of global competitiveness and market expansion.
      • Entrepreneurs and businesses in rural areas looking to grow, commercialize and improve productivity.

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      FedDev Regional Economic Growth through Innovation and Steel and Aluminum Initiative

      To continue driving innovation and growth in the region, FedDev Ontario is delivering more than $39 million over one year to provide targeted support to SMEs within the Canadian steel and aluminum supply chain.

      FedDev Ontario is looking for:

      • For-profit firms or Indigenous organizations, located in southern Ontario, that employ between 10 to 499 individuals on a full-time basis in Canada.
      • Intensive users of steel or aluminum that can demonstrate plans for projects to enhance productivity or to increase competitiveness by adopting new innovative technologies.

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      Sustainable Development Technology Canada

      SDTC’s mandate is to fund projects that support Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) advancing innovative technologies that are pre-commercial and have the potential to demonstrate significant and quantifiable environmental and economic benefits in one or more of the following areas: climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil. We do this by providing non-repayable contributions to successful applicants.

      To be eligible for funding, applicants must:

      • Be a Canadian company developing a new and novel technology with significant and quantifiable environmental benefits that will provide a significant retained Canadian benefit following execution of the project.
      • Have a defined project and be looking to demonstrate a pre-commercial technology.
      • Have a strong end-user, value proposition and be able to validate the market and commercialization potential of the technology.
      • Form a consortium that includes at least one other partner (recommended that applicants seek partners who are either end users or able to validate the need and market for the technology).

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      National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program

      The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.

      If you're a small or medium-sized Canadian business pursuing technology-driven innovation, you may be eligible for financial support from NRC IRAP. We provide this funding to eligible firms under our technology innovation projects and youth employment strategy programs.

      NRC IRAP provides funding to support research and development projects at various stages of the innovation cycle. In 2018-2019, NRC IRAP was mandated to expand its support to include funding for larger research and development projects. This increased funding support will make it easier for small and medium-sized Canadian businesses to access the support they need to grow and expand their companies.

      Am I eligible for financial support?

      If you meet the following criteria, connect with NRC IRAP by calling 1-877-994-4727 to find out if your business is eligible for NRC IRAP support:

      • You are an incorporated, profit-oriented small or medium-sized business in Canada
      • You have 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
      • You plan to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven new or improved products, services or processes in Canada

      Learn More

      Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG)

      Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) provides opportunities for employers, individually or in groups, to invest in their workforce, with help from the government.

      The Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees.

      Important to know:

      • Employers can get up to $10,000 in government support per person for training costs.
      • The training has to be delivered by an eligible, third-party trainer.
      • Employers with 100 or more employees need to contribute 1/2 of the training costs. Small employers with less than 100 employees need to contribute 1/6 of training costs.
      • For employer groups who want to apply for training supports the government offers a COJG Consortium Stream. The Consortium Stream allows a group of employers (more than 2 employers) to pool their resources to support common training objectives and goals. To apply as a consortium, the intermediary organization needs to ensure all the participating employers and trainees meet COJG requirements, and are able to make their required contribution towards the training cost.
      • The intermediary organization will be paid 15% of the approved COJG ministry contribution to cover the administrative cost related to the completion of the consortium application.

      If you're an employer with a particular skills demand, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant might be right for you. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

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      CanExport provides direct financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) registered in Canada to help them develop new export opportunities and markets, especially high-growth emerging markets.

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      Quality Of Life

      Kingston's residents benefit from a superior quality of life and are proud to share it. Located on the coast of scenic Lake Ontario and nicknamed “The Limestone City” for the beautiful buildings that line our vibrant downtown streets, Kingston is a place where history and innovation truly thrive. Elected the first capitol of Canada in 1841, Kingston is the home of many National Historic Sites including the Rideau Canal, Bellevue House and Fort Henry. In addition to historic beauty, Kingston boasts technologically advanced infrastructure, world-class research institutions and beautiful green spaces. Kingstonians enjoy access to premium healthcare services as well as municipal cultural and recreational programming. Safe, warm and welcoming, Kingston offers a small city feel, with big city conveniences.

      Photo of Queen's University


      Statistics Canada calls Kingstonians the smartest workforce in Canada with the most Ph.D. graduates per capita. As home to three premier post-secondary academic institutions, Kingston offers businesses the opportunity to forge strategic partnerships that enhance the development of products and services.

      Photo of a busker


      Artists, performers, authors and musicians thrive in Kingston, making it a community for creative expression. Deemed the First Capital of Canada, Kingston is one of the most historically rich cities in Ontario with 24 museums, galleries, and national historic sites. Fine food is a passion with over 200 restaurants, pubs and patios featuring cuisine from around the globe, as well as our famous outdoor market that has offered local delights for centuries.

      Photo of Kingston Breakwater Park


      Kingston offers an impressive variety of recreational activities for all ages. Sports, arts, fitness, health and wellness and personal development, there is something for everyone! Named the freshwater sailing capital of the world, Kingston is renowned for nautical adventures! We are also home to state-of-the-art sports facilities, including over 100 venues!

      Energy & Utilities

      Photo of hydro lines

      Electricity Rates

      Utilities Kingston is responsible for supplying, distributing, and metering electricity in the City Centre. The west and east ends of the City of Kingston are served by Hydro One Networks.

      Photo of a gas flame

      Natural Gas Rates

      Natural gas is available from Utilities Kingston in the city centre. Enbridge Gas supplies the west and east ends of Kingston.

      Photo of Kingston wastewater facility

      Water and Sewage Rates

      Utilities Kingston is responsible for supplying, distributing and metering water and for collecting, pumping and treating sewage for the entire City of Kingston.

      Photo of fibre optic cables

      Broadband Network

      Utilities Kingston is a highly specialized and innovative provider of broadband networking services to organizations and businesses in Kingston. The network spans over 1,000 route kilometres of fibre optic cable and provides blanket coverage connecting hundreds of institutional and commercial buildings throughout the region. 

      What is the population of Kingston?

      Kingston's total estimated population is


      What is the average household income in Kingston?

      The average household income in Kingston is


      What is Kingston's unemployment rate?

      The unemployment rate in Kingston is


      Frequently Asked Questions

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      Nov 17

      Starting a small business? Learn how Kingston Economic Development can help!

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      Starting a small business? Learn how Kingston Economic Development can help!

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      Starting a small business? Learn how Kingston Economic Development can help!

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      Starting a small business? Learn how Kingston Economic Development can help!

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      Starting a small business? Learn how Kingston Economic Development can help!