ACOA – a bright spot on many Hori­zons


Since its cre­ation in 1987, the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency (ACOA) has had a pos­i­tive im­pact on the eco­nomic evo­lu­tion of hun­dreds of busi­nesses, com­mu­ni­ties and non-profit en­ti­ties through­out New­found­land and Labrador.

The cur­rent sta­tus of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and the huge ar­ray of new op­por­tu­ni­ties for New­found­land and Labrador are cap­tured suc­cinctly in Transcontinental Me­dia’s re­cent ‘ Hori­zons’ sup­ple­ment, which ap­peared in news­pa­pers through­out the prov­ince in March.

This an­nual busi­ness and in­dus­trial fore­cast and re­view pro­filed a sig­nif­i­cant cross-sec­tion of the prov­ince’s cur­rent busi­ness, in­dus­trial, tech­nol­ogy and com­mu­nity-based ini­tia­tives.

The ex­ten­sive Hori­zons sup­ple­ment un­der­scored the scope of ACOA’s in­volve­ment with and sup­port for busi­ness and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment in New­found­land and Labrador. In fact, in ex­cess of 80 of the busi­nesses, as­so­ci­a­tions or com­mu­ni­ties pro­filed in Hori­zons through ar­ti­cles or ad­ver­tise­ments are ei­ther cur­rent or past clients of ACOA.

From tourism to in­no­va­tion, to sup­ply ac­tiv­i­ties for the off­shore and marine ser­vices sec­tors, to the aqua­cul­ture sec­tor, ACOA pro­gram­ming is con­tribut­ing to the growth and de­vel­op­ment of com­pa­nies in th­ese re­spec­tive fields and more.

ACOA is proud to have ac­tively helped in the suc­cess of th­ese New­found­land and Labrador com­pa­nies and com­mu­ni­ties, while rec­og­niz­ing it is the ef­forts of each in­di­vid­ual busi­ness or en­tity that should re­ally be com­mended. The agency sup­ports ini­tia­tive, by work­ing with part­ners in all lev­els of gov­ern­ment, the pri­vate sec­tor, academia and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions.

In 2010, the ex­tent of ACOA’s in­volve­ment in help­ing to move New­found­land and Labrador for­ward is re­flected in the over 900 cur­rent ACOA clients in the prov­ince re­ceiv­ing the ben­e­fit of tar­geted, fo­cused busi­ness loans, re­search fund­ing or com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tions.

From its Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram (BDP) to the In­no­va­tive Com­mu­ni­ties Fund (ICF) to the At­lantic In­no­va­tion Fund, (AIF) – ACOA plays a part in vir­tu­ally ev­ery facet of the pro­vin­cial econ­omy.

On the busi­ness front through BDP, ACOA to­day has over 450 com­mer­cial clients in­volved with over 600 projects through­out the prov­ince, with a to­tal loan port­fo­lio of $81 mil­lion.

In the Agency’s work to help build com­mu­nity ca­pac­ity, 159 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in New­found­land and Labrador have re­ceived fund­ing for in­fra­struc­ture and civic en­hance­ments, in­clud­ing 59 com­mu­ni­ties that re­ceived al­most $35 mil­lion in stim­u­lus fund­ing un­der Canada’s Eco­nomic Action Plan, which was man­aged and de­liv­ered in At­lantic Canada by ACOA.

And in re­search and in­no­va­tion, as noted in the Hori­zons fea­ture, just this Jan­uary our gov­ern­ment an­nounced $13.8 mil­lion in fund­ing for seven New­found­land and Labrador re­search projects through AIF, build­ing on the al­most $70 mil­lion ACOA has in­vested in 27 New­found­land and Labrador projects un­der AIF since our gov­ern­ment took of­fice in Jan­uary of 2006.

The Gov­ern­ment of Canada fully ap­pre­ci­ates and sup­ports the out­stand­ing work be­ing done by the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency, par­tic­u­larly in the field of in­no­va­tion, which was a fo­cal point of our Jobs and Growth Bud­get tabled by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Jim Fla­herty Mar. 4.

ACOA’s strong and his­toric com­mit­ment to New­found­land and Labrador and At­lantic Canada as a whole was re­cently reaf­firmed by the mea­sures an­nounced in Bud­get 2010. Our gov­ern­ment is pro­vid­ing per­ma­nent, con­tin­u­ous and sus­tain­able fund­ing for ACOA to main­tain its cur­rent level of pro­gram­ming for the suc­cess­ful At­lantic In­no­va­tion Fund (AIF) and In­no­va­tive Com­mu­ni­ties Fund (ICF), which were orig­i­nally de­signed to have five-year life spans.

This means ACOA has $60 mil­lion an­nu­ally, con­sis­tent with his­toric fund­ing lev­els, but now made per­ma­nent and on­go­ing through Bud­get 2010, to con­tinue with th­ese two strate­gic ini­tia­tives, par­tic­u­larly the trans­for­ma­tive in­no­va­tive re­search sup­ported un­der the At­lantic In­no­va­tion Fund.

AIF is just one of the ve­hi­cles through which ACOA de­liv­ers its man­date to help the re­gion make the tran­si­tion to a more in­no­va­tive, pro­duc­tive and com­pet­i­tive econ­omy.

When read­ing the Hori­zons sup­ple­ment through an ACOA lens, the agency can take great pride in the breadth and scope of its role in New­found­land and Labrador’s growth and de­vel­op­ment, as re­flected by the num­ber of com­pa­nies, com­mu­ni­ties and as­so­ci­a­tions with ACOA ties.

With the pos­i­tive news for ACOA, through out gov­ern­ment’s Jobs and Growth Bud­get, it’s a role the agency looks for­ward to con­tin­u­ing for may years to come.

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