October 2020 Update
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.

Tourism Now Webinar
The Cape Breton Partnership recently hosted “Tourism Now”, a webinar developed for Cape Breton Island’s tourism businesses. The webinar will introduce the resources available through the Tourism Seasonality & Labour Project, showcasing tools, training, and programs to help strengthen Cape Breton’s tourism workforce and visitor experience. The webinar included a question-answer period and a Tourism Rocks! presentation aimed at encouraging Nova Scotians to become local tourism ambassadors. Webinar hosts also tuned in live from the Lakes at Ben Eoin Golf Club and Resort. The recording is available here.  

Connecting Businesses
The Cape Breton Partnership recently hosted Develop Nova Scotia for an update on the Internet for Nova Scotia Initiative. This webinar features a presentation and update from Deborah Page, Director of Marketing and Communications with Develop Nova Scotia and a Question & Answer period for attendees. This update was held on Zoom on September 30, 2020, and a recording is available here.    

The Ways We Welcome
The Cape Breton Partnership’s Local Immigration Partnership (CBLIP) recently held The Ways We Welcome, a day for Cape Breton organizations interested in immigration and newcomer settlement to receive updates on the work of the CBLIP and its efforts around building welcoming and inclusive communities. Attendees came together to explore best practices in cross-sector collaboration to further improve the newcomer settlement experience in Cape Breton. The event also included a keynote address from Tareq Hadhad of Peace By Chocolate. For more information on the CBLIP, visit https://newtocapebreton.com/.   

Hire Me Cape Breton
The Cape Breton Partnership’s Connector Program recently launched an Island-wide pitch competition with virtual activities planned throughout the fall with a chance to win a top cash prize of $1,000. Hire Me Cape Breton will focus on highlighting the Island’s top talent through exposure to Cape Breton employers by inviting students approaching graduation, new grads, 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 will then upload video submissions to YouTube and submit the video link through the official submission portal at www.HireMeCapeBreton.com.    

Supporting Local Business
The Cumberland Business Connector has partnered with the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce to develop jiggity.ca as one means of helping local businesses adjust to the realities of operating in a world where COVID is still a risk.

Led and hosted by the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce, jiggidy.ca is a new online market with a local twist.  This virtual mall is focused on businesses and organizations doing business out of Cumberland County, NS and Westmorland County, NB.   This site combines “buy local” with the convenience and safety of online shopping.  Local businesses can take advantage of this whether or not they have an existing on-line presence. Launched in October, this virtual mall is rapidly bringing local businesses online. There is no cost to businesses getting set up, and there are no hosting fees for the first six months.

Welcome Home Guide
The Pictou County Regional Enterprise Network is pleased to announce the launch and availability of a comprehensive guide to Pictou County. This 92-page guide Welcome Home to Pictou County, Nova Scotia – A community guide to the place we call home, was developed by Healthy Pictou County, who received funding for the project through Communities, Culture and Heritage’s Healthy Communities Fund, the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores (DEANS), and the Pictou County Regional Enterprise Network.   The group solicited content from Pictou Landing First Nation, the six municipal units and community organizations, individuals and businesses.

The Welcome Home Guide takes a “live like a local” approach to introducing all aspects of our community – from community geography, to local lingo, to where to find business supports – we’ve got you covered! It is available online for anyone who wishes to use it on their websites, or for sending to those relocating to Pictou County.    

Truro Colchester Researches Delivery Gap
More consumers are buying online and local businesses are following suit by adopting eCommerce platforms. Through this shift, the Truro & Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity (TCPEP) has identified a key challenge – delivery.

In rural Nova Scotia, affordable transportation of goods to consumers is an important gap that needs to be addressed as markets shift online.   Building on emergency delivery services provided by the Town of Truro and its Downtown Truro Partnership at the height of COVID restrictions, the TCPEP is researching options to support more local SMEs who need to get product to local consumers. Two recent TCPEP surveys; one directed to past users of the emergency delivery service and one directed to prospective new users, have confirmed there is demand for this service and would likely support more local businesses if it was offered.    

Regional Workforce Development Strategy
The Valley REN is working on the creation of a regional workforce development strategy.  The purpose of the project is to research and develop recommendations to address emerging labour market trends and barriers/challenges to develop, attract and retain skilled labour in the region.  The project will specifically lead to an understanding of:  

– Current labour market supply/inventory based on industry and occupation
– Current and projected labour market needs
– Assessment of the labour market challenges for current and potential business
– Identify any gaps and barriers related to full participation in the workforce among diverse and marginalized groups
– Gaps between labour available and labour desired
– Development of strategies, actionable next steps and prioritized recommended projects.

It is anticipated that the project will begin towards the end of October 2020 and final strategy developed in May of 2021.  

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 Guide 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 Conduct sector solutions-focused brainstorming sessions with businesses in the tourism, ICT and manufacturing sectors
-Conduct solutions-focused brainstorming sessions with small business/entrepreneurs
-Creating an e-commerce online directory
-Connecting support organizations with information related to broadband/internet initiatives
-Developing a buy local campaign

For more information about the Taskforce, and for news and updates regarding the recovery plan, please visit www.valleyren.ca/economic-recovery-taskforce.    

Western Region Energy Investment Plan
Over the last few weeks, Western REN CEO Angelique LeBlanc and Economic Development Office Evan Nemeth have been presenting the Western Region Energy Investment Plan (WREIP) to our seven municipal units. The work outlined in the WREIP outlines multiple actions to strengthen our local economy, create green jobs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Some of these actions are focused on strengthening energy efficiencies, thereby lowering energy expenditures for residents and business.   Other actions focus on local green energy generation and storage. Energy efficiency and clean energy are huge opportunities for the region. They can help the economy recover from the COVID-19 downturn by creating new jobs and reducing energy cost. The transmission lines that enter our region are aging, and limit opportunities for new industries and local business expansions. These actions identified have the potential to overcome these limitations. The Western REN has recently hired consultants to assist in the implementation of these actions.      


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