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.

 

 

Virtual Adviser Program; Powered by BoomersPlus
In an effort to further assist Nova Scotia companies adjusting to the impacts of COVID-19, Nova Scotia’s Regional Enterprise Networks have expanded each of their business support services by introducing a new Virtual Adviser Program. A collaborative effort between each of the RENs, and powered by On-Demand Talent Platform BoomersPlus, this free program will match qualified companies with a seasoned Virtual Adviser to help their business manage and recover from COVID-19. Virtual Advisers are experienced professionals from across Canada representing a full range of disciplines, industries and environments, willing to share their lessons learned.

 

Participants will have access to four to six calls over a two to three month period, with the potential for an extension. To participate, businesses must be located in one of the regions represented by a REN and able to complete four to six phone calls (or online virtual meetings) with an adviser along with any follow-up work necessary for the duration of the program.

 

Cape Smokey Developments
The Cape Breton Partnership, through the CBREN, has been very involved with the four-season resort development project for Cape Smokey Holding in Ingonish. The project is well underway and construction has started for phase-1 with an expected opening date of July 1, 2021. The Partnership has assisted Cape Smokey Holding with investor relations, government policies and procedures, project planning, obtaining appropriate financing options, and one on one investor support. A few extra challenges have come since the COVID-19 Restrictions have been put into place, but we have been working with Municipal, Provincial, and Federal governments to address these challenges and assist Cape Smokey Holding in overcoming them.

 

Tourism Sector and Extending the Season
Recognizing that Cape Breton Island’s Tourism Sector plays a large part in driving the economy, the Cape Breton Partnership, through both the CBREN and CBRM REN, are partnering with the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) to offer a number of valuable learning opportunities for tourism operators, all designed around extending their traditional season and enhancing their workforce’s skills and knowledge. Learning opportunities range from one-hour professional development sessions to accredited certificate programs, and all will be available online. More details will be confirmed soon and promoted.

 

Cape Breton Job Board
Shortly after the COVID-19 global pandemic outbreak, job fairs were no longer a viable option for employers and job seekers. As a result, the Cape Breton Partnership, through both the CBRM REN and CBREN, began working with digital agency NovaStream to create an online job board platform. The Cape Breton Job Board is Cape Breton’s first online job board for Cape Breton employers and job seekers locally, nationally and internationally. We are currently working with employers to populate the job board with employment opportunities and hope to promote it to job seekers in the next few weeks.

 

Collaboration with Creative Sector
The Cape Breton Partnership, through both the CBRM REN and CBREN, recently came together with leaders from Cape Breton – Unama’ki’s creative sector to create jobs for artists. The Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, the Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative (CBMIC), Celtic Colours, the Gaelic College, and the Highland Arts Theatre participated in the development of two project opportunities. The projects will support up to 20 artists on Cape Breton Island working in any creative discipline, from craft, design, and visual arts to film, literary arts, and performing arts like music and theatre. The two projects are funded through Employment Nova Scotia’s Job Creation Partnerships (JCP) program. The JCP aims to provide participants with meaningful work experience to improve their employment prospects, benefiting communities while helping participants acquire experience that assists them in finding full time employment.

 


COVID-19 Work and Partnerships
When the COVID crisis hit, the Cumberland Business Connector took the lead in the Cumberland Region on compiling summaries of resources for businesses that the various levels of government rolled out on a daily basis. We, along with many others, have also advocated to the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick governments on the necessity of opening our provincial border between Amherst and Sackville as Cumberland County and the Eastern part of Westmorland County are part of the same Functional Economic Zone. Due to the complementary nature of our work and mandates, we have developed a joint membership with the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce whereby Chamber members have also become members of the Cumberland Business Connector.

 

Forestry Update
Cumberland County is the second-largest county in Nova Scotia and accounts for almost 20% of the provincial wood harvest.  The recent closure of Northern Pulp has hit the region hard.  Athol Forestry Co-operative, the Cumberland Business Connector, local MLA’s and Municipal Counsellors have supported the forestry sector which has come together and formed the Cumberland Forestry Advisory Committee. Through the winter and spring of 2020, countless volunteer hours from woodlot owners, skilled contractors, truckers, and other professionals went into the development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan.
This strategic plan is called “The Future of Forestry in Cumberland County.”  Not only does it provide a roadmap for Cumberland County, but is applicable for other regions across Nova Scotia.  Both the full-length document and a 4-Page Summary can be found at https://www.cumberlandbusinessconnector.ca/forestry.html

 


Pictou County Regional Enterprise Network Strategic Plan
A three-year Regional Strategy, developed by the Board of Directors with community input, was unanimously approved by the Liaison and Oversight committee (LOC), representing the Towns of New Glasgow, Pictou, Stellarton, Trenton, Westville; the Municipality of Pictou County and the Pictou Landing First Nation. The Regional Strategy process included creating a vision all the way through to goals and outcomes. The PCREN strategic goals are grouped into five distinct areas including, Business Retention and Expansion, Workforce Development, Business Navigation and Connections, Economic Innovation and Regional Branding and Business Attraction.

 

Regional Branding and Business Attraction
It was unanimously endorsed from the municipal units to brand Pictou County as a collective region. The PCREN will take a consultative approach to establishing that brand. A brand committee is being established, ensuring diverse and geographically representative voices will work collaboratively to establish the region’s brand as Pictou County moves forward, together.

 


Welcoming New Physician Residents
On July 02, the TCPEP coordinated an orientation afternoon for our 7 new Dalhousie North Nova Physician Residents and 6 second-year residents. TCPEP staff, local volunteers and supporters brought the resident physicians to various hotspots in the Truro Colchester region, including Victoria Park and the rejuvenated Downtown Truro Civic Square. A smaller event than 2019, it was a well attended afternoon where up-and-coming physicians connected with medical and community leaders. 

 

On-Demand e-Learning Platform
Many businesses are in need of re-evaluating their business model, so it is critical that business owners have the tools and processes to re-examine and understand their strategy while working through changes and any necessary pivots. TCPEP has negotiated limitless access (for 12-months) for any business owner in our region to take the SympliWorks course. This online platform, which will be provided free to business owners, can help them to develop an in-depth understanding of their business value as it is perceived by the ideal customer. The platform will help businesses apply strategic decision-making tools and processes proven to positively impact growth and profitability. This project comes with real-time user metrics which will be leveraged by TCPEP for identifying future Business Accelerator Clients.

 


Annapolis Valley Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce
In response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Valley Regional Enterprise Network (Valley REN) has brought together multiple partners to establish the Annapolis Valley Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce. The Taskforce is charged with the creation and implementation of an economic recovery strategy that addresses businesses immediate needs as they respond to the challenges of COVID-19, while also developing a long-term plan for economic recovery and resiliency building in the Annapolis Valley region.

 

The leadership team is comprised of municipal officials, including mayors and CAOs, and provincial and federal stakeholders. Supporting the leadership team are three Response Teams comprised of over 45 organizations providing business, workforce, sector, and employment support services.  For more information on the membership of the Taskforce, and for news and updates regarding the Economic Recovery Strategy, please visit www.valleyren.ca/economic-recovery-taskforce.

 


Western REN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Group
Part of the Western REN’s response to COVID-19 has been the creation and launch of the Western REN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Group hosted weekly for the first few months of the crisis, now moved to bi-weekly, by the Western REN CEO.  Members include Chambers and Boards of Trade, NS Works partners, EDOs, NSBI, CBDC, ACOA, NSCC, Develop NS, YASTA, CDENE and more.  The goal is to keep partners informed and share information from the across the region.  A client-facing working group was formed from this committee and meets weekly to align efforts to best serve the business community.

 

Rural internet Connectivity
Develop NS announced awards for their Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust in February 2020. Bell, with support from Western REN staff, and the Municipalities of Barrington, Digby and Yarmouth, was awarded funds for four fibre to the premises projects in the region that reach a total of roughly 2,200 civic addresses by the end of 2020.  Applications have been submitted to Develop Nova Scotia and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for the bulk of the remaining underserved areas in the Western Region. The applications were submitted by Bell in partnership with the Municipalities of Argyle, Barrington, Digby and Yarmouth and the Western Regional Enterprise Network. Approved submissions are expected to be announced this summer by Develop Nova Scotia, and in 2020 by the CRTC.

 

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