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2020: A Year of Pivots

Friday, January 15, 2021

2020 was a year like no other – one filled with extraordinary challenges and countless changes. A year best summarized by the two words we keep hearing, “unprecedented” and “pivot.” But with the difficulties came determination and resilience, and the Nova Scotia business community continuously demonstrated its ability to innovate, adapt, and yes, pivot to the occasion.

As we kick off 2021, we’re reflecting on 2020: the highs and lows, the lessons learned, and the uplifting business community stories we shared throughout the tumultuous year.

Starting with Success

We started the year by celebrating the Nova Scotia business community’s accomplishments by sharing exciting success stories like the acquisition of Alpha Dog Games—an indie studio in Halifax—as well as the 20-year milestone reached by Larch Wood, a Margaree company that sells wooden end-grain cutting boards around the world.

Doing Business in the year of COVID-19

As we moved into March and the world grappled with the growing COVID-19 pandemic, we saw businesses of all industries rise to meet the changing economic landscape—and Nova Scotia Business Inc. pivoted too.

We spent the following months launching several new programs to help businesses adapt, including the Digital Adoption Program, which supports Nova Scotia businesses as they adopt or improve digital tools, from building an online presence to upgrading equipment and machinery with automation. We also launched the Digital Marketing Asset Development Program, supporting Nova Scotia businesses to develop digital marketing assets to promote their company in a virtual world.

Person using laptop, tablet and smartphone

We saw ecommerce become the focus for most businesses, whether it was adopting new technologies or supporting others through this transition to virtual. Able Sense, a small Halifax ecommerce agency, walked us through how their day-to-day operations were kicked into high gear with the growing demand for ecommerce solutions. Read more about their process throughout the height of COVID-19.

Along with ecommerce came a focus on virtual trade shows and companies learned how to translate their in-person tactics to digital platforms. Our team compiled our top 10 tips to help companies navigate and get the most out of a virtual trade show experience.

The Importance of Supplier Diversity

2020 also put a spotlight on the importance of supplier diversity. We caught up with Yemi Akindoju, President and CEO of Vanity Fashions and member of the Board of Directors for the Black Business Initiative, to chat about his export journey and how supplier diversity is just good business.

We also launched a campaign to draw attention to and support for businesses of diversity, encouraging eligible companies to become certified.

High Notes Not to Be Missed

Though the pandemic and its many challenges continued throughout the year, we found many success stories to share.

Paul Hill in Hill's Jamaican Jerk Sauce facility
Paul Hill of Hill's Jamaican Jerk Sauce showing us his co-packing facility

Hill’s Jamaican Jerk Sauce began exporting throughout Atlantic Canada. We chatted with founder Paul Hill about his business’s strategy for growth, including new product development and expanding into Ontario and beyond. Read more about Hill’s plans to bring Jamaican Jerk Sauce around the world.

REDspace office

REDspace celebrated 20 years in business, and shared their story of how they went from basement beginnings to becoming a trusted partner of some of the world’s biggest brands.

Picture of three women holding a basketball on a court
Tidal League's Court-Side Moms Podcast

Tidal League launched two new podcasts, and laid plans to launch many more. We caught up with CEO Kurt Benson, who told us about his journey to Nova Scotia and how he’s making it his mission to become the go-to organization in the sports media industry. Read more about how this Halifax-based company has linked the NBA and FC to Canada’s east coast.

We also saw several companies choose Nova Scotia as their safe harbour, investing and expanding to create jobs within our province.

And of course, we were thrilled to celebrate Laurel Broten, our President and CEO, for being recognized by Atlantic Business Magazine’s 2020 Top 50 CEO Awards.

Ending with a Celebration

We closed out the year with our 12 Reasons to Celebrate campaign, highlighting uplifting stories of Nova Scotia businesses who made a difference in this challenging year. From teaching literacy to helping fight the pandemic, Nova Scotia businesses were busy in 2020.

12 Reasons to Celebrate

In a year that tested our community in ways we never imagined, we did indeed pivot – we found new opportunities and created new paths for growth. We look forward to working with all of you in 2021!