The world is changing, and NSBI is leading to succeed
Thursday, August 16, 2018
By Laurel Broten, President and CEO, Nova Scotia Business Inc.
Nova Scotia Business Inc.’s mandate is to drive economic development. We do this by attracting investment and by supporting businesses in communities across Nova Scotia to become more successful exporters. Our work is grounded in the OneNS Coalition and Ray Ivany’s words of wisdom: our province needs to grow exports to grow the economy.
When I first began my role as President and CEO of NSBI in 2015, one of my first priorities was to hit the road and make my way across our province to hear first-hand from the businesses and partners NSBI works with every day. We heard about the strengths, challenges, and opportunities from the province’s many exporters and with their insight, we knew we had to make some changes.
To keep pace with the constant change in global markets, we realized that we needed to reinvent ourselves for a changing — and challenging — world. NSBI has since refocused and updated our programs and services so that we have more tools in our ‘business development toolbox’ to help Nova Scotia companies of all sizes to develop their export capacity and diversify their markets.
For small businesses who want to increase their export capacity, our Small Business Development Program provides support to help companies gain expertise to improve their capacity, competitiveness, and trade knowledge. Companies like Sales Beacon, a Chester-based company that is making waves as one of Canada’s Top 100 Small and Medium Employers (2018). With women making up 80 per cent of its executive, the company is also a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, qualifying the company for supplier diversity opportunities — something with which NSBI can help with as part of our mission to make economic development more inclusive.
Businesses who are already exporting can take advantage of our Export Growth Program to help grow their exports and access new markets through participation in trade missions, and inbound and outbound client visits.
The Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program connects small and medium businesses with post-secondary educational institutions to conduct research and solve problems in order to make their businesses more productive and innovative by supporting projects that contribute to the development of a new product, service, or process. With access to leading researchers we’re seeing companies like North Sydney’s Copol International partner with Cape Breton University’s Verschuren Centre leveraging the program to innovate and create new, valuable products.
To strengthen global competitiveness we have also launched productivity projects in partnership with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), Department of Labour and Advanced Education, and ACOA across the province. Participating companies learn how to implement sustainable LEAN manufacturing methods, leading to significant productivity and quality gains and increasing efficiency.
For high-potential, established exporting businesses we launched the new Innovation Rebate Program. This program provides a 25% rebate on capital investments of $2 to 15 million to companies investing to develop their export operations in Nova Scotia. We launched this program in Meteghan River at A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd which is Nova Scotia’s oldest and largest family-owned shipyard. A.F. Theriault & Son knows that capital investments for infrastructure will keep customers satisfied, but are also important for their employees, and their community — to keep A.F. Theriault thriving in rural Nova Scotia. And as a result of the innovation rebate, we look forward to many more capital projects taking hold across our province.
Accessing the US market is a continuing priority and another pilot project we started last year — the NSBI Scale-up Hub in Cambridge, Massachusetts — is helping expedite and scale export growth for technology focused high-growth Nova Scotia companies who are working hard to increase the scale of their businesses by being in the New England market and leveraging the intensive connections, mentorship, and business development services for a one-year term.
Although we are a small province, we are rich in connections and that’s an asset we have been strategically building through our ConnectNS network, which has more than 2700 members and spans more than 40 countries. Building on this network, the ConnectNS Global Advisors Program is an online digital matchmaking platform for Nova Scotia exporters to gain exclusive access to 107 Global Advisors here and around the world — a number we’re proud to say continues to grow. We’re seeing some great results from the resulting connections.
At NSBI, it’s our privilege to work with Nova Scotia companies across many industry sectors doing amazing things. Every day, my team and I are inspired by our clients. I invite you to see for yourself an example of inspiring change and innovation from a company Nova Scotians already know well: Just Us Coffee Roasters — Canada’s first fair-trade coffee roaster and Productivity Pilot participant: