‘It mo­ti­vates us to drive the suc­cesses that we have’

Nova Sco­tia ‘ vir­tu­ally non-ex­is­tent’ among some global busi­ness peo­ple: re­port

Cape Breton Post - - PROVINCE -

A re­port com­mis­sioned by the Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ment says aware­ness of the province among some global busi­ness peo­ple is “vir­tu­ally nonex­is­tent.’’

It says many busi­ness peo­ple found that their in­ter­ac­tions with global busi­ness part­ners al­most al­ways ne­ces­si­tated an ex­pla­na­tion of where Nova Sco­tia is and why they were do­ing busi­ness in the province.

Quot­ing an in­ter­vie­wee, the re­port says: “I think the over­whelm­ing phrase is ‘ Where is it?’ and ‘ What are they do­ing up there other than fish­ing?’ ‘’

The re­port was com­mis­sioned by Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Nova Sco­tia for Nova Sco­tia Busi­ness Inc. and ob­tained by The Cana­dian Press through ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion leg­is­la­tion.

It says the province of­ten does not pass an ini­tial “on pa­per’’ eval­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially for site se­lec­tors, that in­cludes fac­tors like mar­ket size, in­fra­struc­ture and taxes.

But the re­port also says busi­ness peo­ple be­lieve Nova Sco­tia has great po­ten­tial, with an al­most un­wa­ver­ing belief in the suc­cess of the busi­nesses that have found their way to the province.

Lau­rel Broten, pres­i­dent and CEO of the arms-length Crown cor­po­ra­tion Nova Sco­tia Busi­ness Inc., said the re­port’s find­ings were not sur­pris­ing.

“Is it tough to un­der­stand and ac­cept some of the find­ings where it shows how much work we have ahead of us to put Nova Sco­tia on a global map? Of course it is,’’ Broten said in a re­cent in­ter­view. “But it mo­ti­vates us to drive the suc­cesses that we have.’’

Broten said Nova Sco­tia has many ex­portable prod­ucts that are mar­keted on a global scale, such as seafood, but in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses don’t al­ways know that the prod­uct came from Nova Sco­tia.

The busi­ness de­vel­op­ment agency is try­ing to boost aware­ness of the province by talk­ing to those busi­nesses and site se­lec­tors di­rectly, she said.

While Nova Sco­tia doesn’t pass the pa­per eval­u­a­tion used by site se­lec­tors, Broten said her team tries to high­light the re­gion’s other ad­van­tages, such as Hal­i­fax’s in­ter­na­tional ship­ping port, the high qual­ity of life and col­lab­o­ra­tion among key busi­ness lead­ers in the small province.

“We have to work hard to make sure we get on the radar screen of de­ci­sion mak­ers,’’ said Broten.

“When we get a chance to talk to them about ev­ery­thing that we have and some of the facts and fig­ures about what busi­nesses have set up in Nova Sco­tia ... it’s the type of ef­fort that has se­cured in­vest­ments in the past.’’

She pointed to the Royal Bank of Canada’s de­ci­sion ear­lier this year to open a fi­nan­cial ser­vices cen­tre in Hal­i­fax, which will cre­ate up to 500 new jobs over 10 years. Nova Sco­tia Busi­ness Inc. is giv­ing RBC up to $22 mil­lion in pay­roll re­bates to open the cen­tre. Broten said the re­port, which cost $36,800, helped form the agency’s busi­ness plan for 2015, which in­cludes a fo­cus on ex­ports.

“That’s how we will drive our econ­omy,’’ Broten said of ex­port­ing. “We’re seek­ing to sell to the world prod­ucts and ser­vices that have a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage, a unique­ness to them, so that they are glob­ally com­pet­i­tive.’’

The im­por­tance of boost­ing ex­ports is echoed in a ma­jor eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment re­port ac­cepted by the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment last year.

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