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.

Electronic Mailing List to Identify Housing for Newcomer Healthcare Professionals
One of the barriers to attracting and retaining healthcare professionals in Cape Breton – Unama’ki is and continues to be housing availability. In an effort to minimize this barrier, the Cape Breton Partnership, together with Cape Breton South Recruiting for Health (CBSRH) and the recently formed Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) Community Health Recruitment & Retention Committee have created an electronic mailing list for landlords to subscribe to, and support the attraction, recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals in Cape Breton – Unama’ki. 
Landlords, real estate agents and others with properties to offer are encouraged to sign-up to be contacted when a Healthcare Navigator is seeking housing for a healthcare professional. The Healthcare Navigator will reach out to the mailing list to help find housing solutions for the professional they are looking to recruit. The private and confidential list will only be accessed by the Navigators and will assist in their recruitment efforts by identifying temporary and long-term housing solutions for essential healthcare professionals that they are working to bring to Cape Breton Island.
Winners Announced for the second Island-wide Pitch Competition: Hire Me Cape Breton
The Cape Breton Partnership’s Hire Me Cape Breton Island-wide pitch competition was back for the second year, with a new and exciting twist. This year, the winner had the opportunity for a bigger competitive edge to help them in their search for landing a dream job. The winner, Joe Townsend, took home $1,000 in cash, a one-on-one mentorship session with a career consultant and an opportunity to air a 30-second radio commercial, airing for two weeks, pitching himself to listeners as a great hire. The second place winner received $300 and a session with a Career Consultant, and third place $200 and a session with a Career Consultant as well.
Hire Me Cape Breton is designed to highlight Cape Breton’s top talent through exposure to employers by inviting students approaching graduation, new graduates, newcomers, and job seekers to submit a 60- second video pitch. Using the video to tell local employers why they should be their next hire, participants uploaded video submissions to YouTube and submitted the video link through the official submission portal at With almost 1,500 votes for the top six pitches, the contestants were able to introduce themselves to employers all across the island. To watch the top six videos, visit
Reducing red tape regulatory modernization survey for Cape Breton business owners
The Cape Breton Partnership, together with the five municipalities in Cape Breton – Unama’ki (Cape Breton Regional Municipality, the Municipalities of the Counties of Inverness, Richmond and Victoria, and the Town of Port Hawkesbury) are asking businesses to fill out a survey about the impact of municipal red tape with the goal of reducing it, including by aligning municipal regulations where it makes sense.
The survey is part of the Regulatory Modernization Pilot Project – a partnership between the Island’s five municipalities and the provincial Office of Regulatory Affairs and Service Effectiveness. The survey seeks to identify pain points in the regulatory environment by improving the quality of new and existing regulation and reducing red tape to make it easier to grow the economy and for businesses to operate.
Business customers of one or more of Cape Breton – Unama’ki’s municipalities, are invited to take part in this survey, the data collected will help improve regulation and customer service during the next phase of the pilot partnership.
Interested businesses are asked to fill out the survey and include contact information at the bottom to be entered in a draw to win a business planning and promotion package from the Cape Breton Partnership.

The survey is open until Wednesday, August 11, 2021 and is available online here: those who wish to participate, but do not have access to a computer, printed copies are available at the municipal buildings across the Island.
Nova Scotia’s RENs and Chambers of Commerce rollout Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Rapid Screening Consortium to workplaces across the province
The Cape Breton Partnership and Cape Breton’s two Regional Enterprise Networks, partnered last month with the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce to rollout the Creative Destruction Labs (CDL) Rapid Screening Consortium in Cape Breton-Unama’ki, a program being administered across the country by CDL and both provincial and federal governments.
The initiative is aimed at providing workplaces with self-administered testing kits for their employees in an effort to help identify and stop the spread of COVID-19, while keeping the workforce safe.
In addition to working with our partners across Cape Breton – Unama’ki, this was an excellent opportunity for collaboration with our partners from all seven of Nova Scotia’s Regional Enterprise Networks (RENs). Together, we brainstormed and shared ideas to make the program as effective and successful as possible across the RENs.
To learn more about the program, please visit
Immigration Support for Businesses
The Cumberland Business Connector is working on different levels to address the growing labour force shortage in our region. Some businesses are reducing their hours of operation, while other businesses are not bidding on contracts or are turning down work, because they do not have the staff to meet their needs.

Immigration is one of the many ways to address this human resource need. The Cumberland Business Connector is partnering with the Pictou REN to increase our in-house expertise to support businesses who want to hire immigrants. Our goal is to help businesses understand and navigate the federal Atlantic Immigration Program, the Provincial Nominee Program, and support them through this process. Many businesses find the process intimidating. With a dedicated resource person only a phone call away, we will provide ongoing support to businesses throughout the Cumberland Region.
PCREN new brand launched at AGM
The PCREN launched its versatile economic-focused brand for Pictou County at its Annual General meeting on July 31, 2021, after a lengthy branding process. The process has resulted in an “economic-focused” brand approach with brand objectives, personality, position, tagline, and logo created. The brand speaks to Pictou County’s shipbuilding, railcar making, and steel production heritage, while showcasing “who we are now”, a new kind of maker. Its bold colors and adaptability help to redefine rural.

The PCREN invite local businesses, organizations, sectors, and associations to reach out the PCREN to further develop the use of the brand and to acquire its brand elements.
A holistic view to labour market gaps
The PCREN recently held a public presentation to two local refugee sponsorship groups and the YMCA YReach program to share with them more about the Labour Mobility project. Sponsorship groups, although not directly connected to this project, that matches skilled refugees to local employers facing labour market gaps, provide key knowledge about how to welcome newcomers to the area. This welcoming aspect is essential in ensuring that newcomers choose to come and to stay in our community. The event also had representatives from Refugee Point and the Shapiro Foundation, two of the many partners in the project that is now moving out of its pilot phase due to its success.
New Strategic Plan Development
The Truro Colchester Partnership, in developing its new Strategic Plan for 2021-22 and beyond will focus on building on the solid foundation that we have established in the Partnership’s first three years. Our unique public-private collaboration has seen us make great strides in a relatively short time, establishing ourselves not only as a preeminent catalyst for overall economic growth in our region, but as the go-to source for expert business growth advice, problem solving, navigation towards funding, and startup support.

Going forward, our focus will be on increasing community impact: exponentially increasing awareness levels of TCPEP within the community, greater engagement with existing businesses, encouraging and facilitating export, world-class marketing to attract people to our growing and exuberant communities, advocacy for local development, and driving for greater collaboration across our stakeholder group and  like-minded organizations. In this effort, we will draw heavily from the great learning and innovations that we have seen in other regions.
Regional Workforce Development Strategy
The Valley REN has been working on the creation of a Regional Workforce Development Strategy.   The strategy is a forward-thinking, multi-year plan which will assess current labour needs in the region and build an understanding of future needs.
Throughout the Spring, input was gathered from local stakeholders, employers, job seekers, high school and post-secondary students regarding workforce opportunities and challenges across the Annapolis Valley region. 
An Education and Training Roundtable Session was held in June for all stakeholders involved in education and training in the region. A Community Validation Session will be held in late August, with the final strategy completed and available in early September.

For more information, please visit:
Valley REN to Develop Strategic Tourism Plan
Atlantic Canada’s tourism industry is vital to the Annapolis Valley region’s economy and supports thousands of local jobs and businesses. That is why the Government of Canada is investing to help the Valley REN improve and expand local tourism experiences in the Annapolis Valley and identify new opportunities for tourism development.
This contribution will enable the Valley REN to hire a consultant through the Strategic Tourism for Areas and Regions (STAR) program to develop a tourism plan for the Annapolis Valley. The plan, which will be developed in collaboration with key industry stakeholders, will focus on growing the region’s high-end culinary, outdoor and cultural experiences. It will also identify new opportunities to establish the area as a year-round tourism destination.
For more information, please visit:
Virtual Advisor program
Since last spring, the Western REN has been delivering the Virtual Advisor program and has seen 20 local businesses matched with advisors. The advisors’ expertise has helped address the critical challenges faced in many aspects of the business environment, especially during the COVID-19 era. 

“The Virtual Advisor program was a great support. Having someone experienced in the industry with a broader view to bounce ideas off, connect with, and brainstorm with was invaluable. Especially within the whole pandemic where it seemed like all we were doing was pivoting, the support and mentorship was a huge help and a great way to bring ideas to reality and put downturns into perspective.” – Saskia, Sydney Street Pub.
The Virtual Advisor program that’s powered by BoomersPlus, is being delivered provincially by Regional Enterprise Networks.
Welcome Guide
In partnership with funding partners, local municipalities, and organizations, the Western Regional Enterprise Network has created a Welcome to Western Nova Scotia guide. This guide is a resource for those considering our communities, those who have recently moved here, and those who currently live here and want to rediscover their communities.
It takes readers through the need to knows; housing, healthcare, child-care, and education to volunteering in the communities, museums, and activities to check out within the region. This all-encompassing guide is now available on the Western REN website and is available in English and French.

As COVID-19 continues to be at the forefront of concern in our province, we have compiled some helpful resources to help keep you informed about the latest restrictions, public health measures and government funding and grants available to help businesses across our province. 

COVID-19 Resources

Nova Scotia’s reopening plan
Nova Scotia’s five-phase reopening plan was announced on Friday May 28.

Click through to read more about each phase, with details about each sector and activity.

COVID-19 fact sheet
The province’s fact sheet about the COVID-19 vaccine and how to get it has been translated into Arabic, Cantonese, Farsi, Mi’kmaq, Nepali, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrinya, and Traditional Chinese.

It is available in these 10 languages, as well as English:

The French fact sheet can be found here:

Centralized COVID-19 line and email 
Effective today, the Nova Scotia Health has a centralized COVID-19 information line and email. If you receive public inquiries that are related to services Nova Scotia Health services (including testing, exposure notices, and COVID-19 case management), you can direct them to:

Toll-free: 1-800-430-9557


COVID-19 vaccine update
Nova Scotia’s vaccination efforts are on track with almost 56 per cent of people in the province fully vaccinated.

If everyone who is eligible for their second dose moves up their appointment, the province will reach its minimum target of 75 per cent of the population fully vaccinated and move to the next phase of reopening by the end of August. 

The province is advising Nova Scotians about an uncommon event following immunization with mRNA vaccine called myocarditis and pericarditis, which has been reported in Canada, including in Nova Scotia.

The province will soon turn its attention to living with COVID-19 and that means adjusting how vaccines are delivered and removing restrictions and mandatory public health measures over the next several weeks and months.

The last day Nova Scotians can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a community clinic is Aug. 15. After that, COVID-19 vaccines will only be available in participating pharmacy and primary care clinics. Anyone who currently has a second dose appointment scheduled at a community clinic after Aug. 15 must reschedule their appointment or it will be cancelled.

For more details:

For information about vaccines and Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan:

COVID-19 information for employers and employees 
For information about COVID-19, including links to commonly asked vaccine questions, shareable social content, and an overview of Nova Scotia’s vaccine plan, 
 Information sheet for Employers and Employees

For vaccine resources:

Maritime Made Episodes
This season’s Maritime Made episodes have been sponsored by NSBI and focus on the export business. Watch all the episodes on Eastlink Community TV Channel 610 or on their YouTube channel linked below.

Fundy Textile is one of the largest screen printing & embroidery producers in Canada! And, one of North America’s ONLY laser cut appliqué manufacturers!

Canada Recovery Hiring Program
As a Canadian employer who continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible to apply for one of the two subsidies to cover part of your employee wages.

The CRHP and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) support wages you pay through different phases of your economic recovery. Each claim period, eligible employers can claim either CRHP or CEWS, whichever is higher.

For more details and to read about eligibility: Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) –

Federal Tourism Relief Fund
The Tourism Relief Fund supports tourism businesses and organizations to adapt their operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate their future growth.  

Contributions to businesses will be either a non-repayable contribution up to $100,000 for up to 50 per cent of eligible costs; or fully repayable contributions up to $500,000 for up to 75 per cent of eligible costs.

For more details and to read about eligibility: Tourism Relief Fund –

Small businesses can save big with efficiency Nova Scotia
Energy efficiency means more than just savings on bills – small businesses also gain a competitive advantage, with additional benefits such as: more comfortable space for employees and customers, savings on their bottom line, equipment that is more reliable, has a longer life and needs fewer repairs, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Until December 31, 2021, incentives for eligible small businesses have increased to cover up to 80% of the total project cost on select lighting and all Commercial Heating measures.

Learn more about the energy efficiency upgrades available to Nova Scotia small business here:

Other Resources

Provincial COVID-19 website:
Provincial News Releases –
Government of Canada:

The COVID-19 self-assessment

Business Navigators:  More information on this service is available Navigators are available by calling or 1-844-628-7347 , 902-424-4475 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by email

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)

Province of Nova Scotia Mental Health and Addictions: