I am still supercharged from the inaugural Atlantic Youth Entrepreneurship Summit-Atlantic YES! held at St. Francis Xavier University from May 13-15.
I met young promising entrepreneurs from Atlantic Canada, listened to their dreams and successes, and learned about their challenges and frustrations. This summit is all about helping young entrepreneurs succeed by transforming their ideas into economic opportunities.
A variety of keynote speeches, panels an d workshops helped participants strengthen their entrepreneurship skills and create economic growth for their community and region through leadership and innovation. The youth delegates talked about issues like lacking connections, networking and employment opportunities.
The last day of the summit, each province developed an action plan to foster entrepreneurship and help youth realize their potential. The Nova Scotia delegation came up with a plan that included priorities like communication & awareness, collaboration, and youth retention and attraction.
As one of the presenters of the Nova Scotia Action Plan, I shared some of the great strategies and programs from Halifax that could be replicated in other cities and provinces to keep the best and brightest young people:
- The Partnership’s Halifax Connector Program model has been, and can be, replicated by other cities wanting to retain talented people. The International Student Connector Program connects International Masters of Finance, MBA, and co-op education students with business leaders to expand their networks and deepen their attachment to Halifax.
- Fusion is also about the "next generation" in Halifax. Created for young people, by young people, this group works to capture the voice, spirit and engagement of 20-40 year olds in shaping the future of Halifax and to inspire active citizenship, create dynamic networks, develop new friendships and generate great ideas in everything from business, to arts and culture to sustainable communities. Why not a Fusion Sydney or Fusion New Glasgow?
- The Y2E Project - led by Partnership staff in 2008 - worked with local employers, youth and service providers like the YMCA employment centre, to develop a strategy that would make the business connection between priority youth and employers in Halifax. The result was the Y2E Framework - a model that could be implemented by other cities looking to improve young people's employment prospects and connections to the community.
I was truly inspired by the young entrepreneurs’ passion to make a difference, their love for their communities and their hunger for success.
Together we can build a better Nova Scotia and region!
Jackie Guo is the Coordinator of International MBA Student Connector Program.