One year after The Report on Building our New Economy was released to Nova Scotians, the One Nova Scotia Coalition is making headway on the 10-year plan it was tasked to create by this December.
It is also identifying, endorsing and supporting opportunities for sectors to come together and begin taking action. Some examples are:
— university presidents are working to improve the role of post-secondary institutions as incubators for innovation and entrepreneurship
— more sandboxes, places where entrepreneurs can experiment with new ideas and access mentors, investors and other support, are helping entrepreneurs hone their skills
— several sectors are working together to expand capacity to incubate startups
— private-sector business leaders are advocating for Nova Scotia immigration priorities at the national level
— industries like the fishery are working to expand into Asia
— innovations in tidal power and forestry are being sought, and planning for an Ocean Innovation Centre is taking place
— partnerships and programs are helping youth and newcomers transition into 21st century workplaces and feel more included
— groups such as think-tanks, students, business networks and community groups are discussing issues and generating ideas
— new investment funds, including a new $50-million private equity fund, are available for Nova Scotia small and media-sized businesses seeking opportunities in Asia
“As we travel around the province and speak with people, I see how deeply Nova Scotians care about our province and I am optimistic,” said Rankin MacSween, coalition member and president, New Dawn Enterprises Ltd.
“We have never been better positioned to undertake the kind of transformation that will give our kids a real chance at staying here. Now is the time to embrace the role we each play in building a better future.”
In addition to supplying ideas, skills, networks and funding, groups are also coming together to take action and encourage change.
“Pictou County 2020 was born because we wanted someone to do something,” said Jaime Smith, who co-founded the group with Janice Fraser, Nancy MacConnell-Maxner, Sally O’Neill and Susan MacConnell. “It didn’t take long before we realized that we were that someone, so we started looking for ways to create meaningful change.”
Pictou 2020 has hosted community discussions to encourage new leaders and projects.
In the private sector, businesses are accelerating plans, and looking for ways to expand their markets or increase innovation or diversity.
“We want to create an environment where entrepreneurs and access to global markets can grow because we believe One Nova Scotia is us,” said Jim Lutes, managing partner, Ernst and Young. “We’re locating one of only two of our Centres for Advanced Analytics here because the quality of our people is a world-class resource.”
Nova Scotia’s economic and demographic challenges require a broad, collective and sustained effort.
“Since 1934, there have been at least 10 reports identifying similar problems. We need to try something different this time,” said Henry Demone, coalition member and CEO, High Liner Foods Inc. “More communities and sectors need to galvanize. But more than that, we need to continue to examine any attitudes and behaviours that may be holding us back.”
The coalition meets Tuesday, Feb. 10, in Millbrook to discuss workforce participation. Chief Bob Gloade of Millbrook First Nation, Mike Wyse, CEO of the Black Business Initiative, and Bob Bennett, executive director of Summer Street Industries, will share thoughts on how to assess and remove barriers and achieve One Nova Scotia workforce participation goals.
An update to Nova Scotians and fact sheets are available at http://onens.ca/about/update-to-nova-scotians/ .