In Nova Scotia, Regional Enterprise Networks (RENs) are
leading a collaborative approach to economic development
and supporting business growth.

See below for some recent updates from each of
Nova Scotia’s Regional Enterprise Networks.
Cape Breton Job Board
On August 11 the Cape Breton Partnership (through both the CBREN and CBRM REN) officially launched, Cape Breton’s first online job board for Cape Breton employers and job seekers locally, nationally and internationally. Employers from across the Island are encouraged to promote any vacant jobs and job seekers are asked to visit the site frequently as new job opportunities are advertised. The job board will also facilitate social-media sharing of job opportunities for further reach. 
Waterfront Development and Innovation Hub
The Cape Breton Partnership is partnering with the Town of Port Hawkesbury on two exciting waterfront development projects to benefit the Town’s community and economy. The first is the creation of a Port Hawkesbury Waterfront Plan to guide future development of the waterfront. The second is a feasibility study for a Marine Innovation Centre. A Marine Innovation Centre would be constructed near the Town’s waterfront area and would create a space to encourage and support development within the Strait Area’s ocean and innovation sectors. This Centre would become a key component of the Creative Island Network, a network of innovation spaces to be developed across the Island. The innovation spaces provide entrepreneurs, students and industry access to supports and training. As part of the Waterfront Development Planning Process, a Community Design Workshop was held on August 13 to engage the community for input and ideas on what would be of the most benefit to the area (new business and linkages to the waterfront area, new opportunities to partner with other communities, and ideas for green-space development). 

Pride in the Workplace
In celebration of Cape Breton’s Pride Week, the Cape Breton Partnership and Connector Program (through both the CBRM REN and CBREN) hosted a virtual training session on “Pride in the Workplace” on Aug 6. The virtual session was aimed at management and staff of workplaces in any industry that want to become stronger allies of Cape Breton-Unanam’ki’s LGBTQ+ community. The session featured insights on language used in the workplace and the importance of using the right pronouns, as well as an opportunity for questions and answers from attendees.

Tourism Sector and Seasonality Extension
The Cape Breton Partnership (through both the CBRM REN and CBREN) have officially renewed their partnership with the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) on a project aimed at supporting the Tourism Sector in enhancing the skills of the Island’s tourism workforce and extending the tourism season. Through this project, the Partnership will connect local businesses with a number of useful training modules, national certification courses, and E-Cornell executive program courses, all of which will be either free of charge or have the cost significantly reduced. The project will also include an opportunity for businesses to apply for wage subsidies that enable them to try experimental offerings and/or expanded hours to extend their business season. A webcast and social media campaign will launch the program, as well as a variety of activities (virtual and in-person) to connect Partnership staff with the Tourism Sector.

Promoting Career Opportunities and Successful Local Businesses
Businesses in the Cumberland Region are facing growing challenges filling job vacancies.

Our largest population segment is between 60 and 64 years old.  Businesses are experiencing increasing levels of employees retiring, while a much smaller group of workers are entering the workforce.

Workforce Attraction and Retention is a key priority for the region but many people are unaware of the variety of skilled jobs available.  The Cumberland Business Connector is working with some of the leading businesses in the region to produce videos showcasing the diversity of careers within the Cumberland Region.  This is one component in our plan to retain our youth, and attract former Maritimers, and immigrants to the Cumberland Region. See more:

International Discussions about Labour Shortages
CEO Sarah MacIntosh-Wiseman participated in a panel discussion organized by the United Nations Refugee Agency in June, to share Pictou County’s perspective on recruiting skilled healthcare workers to rural areas. The PCREN is working with several national and international partners, as well as the Federal and Provincial government, to explore new and innovative approaches to solving labour shortages. The PCREN is also sharing its experience of “community driven” economic immigration efforts with economic development colleagues in other provinces.  The project received enthusiastic support and interest from local employers who face chronic and increasing labour market shortages, and who are committed to taking a two-pronged approach of: 1) creating opportunities for existing under-and-unemployed community members; and 2) simultaneously recruiting skilled workers internationally to address labour gaps.

Supporting Tourism Operators
The TCPEP and Cumberland Business Connector are working with tourism operators in Colchester and Cumberland counties, providing Accelerated Market Readiness support. A Colchester/Cumberland Think Tank took place on July 14 where local prominent tourism operators provided direction on program rollout.  Tourism operators participating  in the AMR will work with a qualified Accelerated Market Readiness Consultant to review impacts of COVID and assess market readiness needs. The program will see 24+ tourism operators supported in Colchester and Cumberland.

Annapolis Valley Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce
The Valley REN continues to drive implementation of the regional economic recovery plan through the Annapolis Valley Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce.  The following activities have been implemented: Developed a Reopening the Annapolis Valley Guidance for Businesses document; Developed a Finding Child Care Guide for Employers; Recording a series of information sessions with local workforce organizations to showcase services and programs in the region for employers with labour challenges;
Develop a bi-weekly Taskforce Newsletter to share information from all the organizations involved in the Taskforce; Promote the great work of local organizations and businesses entitled “Valley Victories” on social media; and Conduct surveys to gather feedback and data about the local impact that COVID-19 is having on businesses in the Annapolis Valley region, as well as track consumer confidence. For more information about the Taskforce, and for news and updates regarding the recovery plan, please visit

Continuous Improvement
The Western REN’s Continuous Improvement is about more than just manufacturing efficiency, its about improving efficiency in all processes within a business. Continuous Improvement allows businesses to have one-on-one time with a CI professional to uncover effective changes businesses can easily make. One regional company has reduced their build-time by 50%. This reduction has resulted in cost savings that will increase the company’s competitiveness within the industry. Finding efficient ways to reduce costs can be important to businesses, especially during this trying time.

Western Region Energy Investment Plan
Nova Scotia has released data of the energy consumption in the province during the month of May 2020, when there was a 19.3% decline in power and availability compared to May 2019. This is the largest decline seen among all provinces in 2020 and underscores the need for clean and local energy sources. The Western REN has been working with the climate panning consultancy, Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG), to develop a plan that focuses on investment in local, renewable energy and improving energy efficiency within the region. The western Region Energy Investment Plan (WREIP) brings seven municipalities together to identify clear opportunities for local energy generation, use and storage in support of regional industry clusters.

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