NSREN con­fer­ence stresses prov­ince wide co­op­er­a­tion in grow­ing Nova Sco­tia's econ­omy

The Victoria Standard - - Business - AN­DREW BROOKS

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Nova Sco­tia’s six Re­gional En­ter­prise Net­works (REN) met in Bad­deck on Septem­ber 8 for their first con­fer­ence since the net­works started form­ing three years ago. RENS are tasked by the pro­vin­cial govern­ment with pro­vid­ing eco­nomic lead­er­ship in re­gions of the prov­ince while work­ing to­gether to grow Nova Sco­tia’s econ­omy.

Keith Macdon­ald, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Cape Bre­ton Part­ner­ship (which man­ages the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional En­ter­prise Net­work (CBREN)), said the ses­sions were in­for­ma­tive for mu­nic­i­pal and fed­eral govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives and pri­vate sec­tor part­ners also in at­ten­dance.

“We heard from many may­ors and war­dens across the prov­ince that they ap­pre­ci­ated the up­dates and are now more aware of what the RENS are ac­tively ad­vanc­ing as projects,” stated Macdon­ald on Sept. 11.

Angélique Leblanc, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer for the Western REN (Digby and Yar­mouth Coun­ties), spoke at the con­fer­ence and also rec­og­nized the need for ed­u­ca­tion given ma­jor shifts in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Nova Sco­tia over the past five years.

“I think it's im­por­tant for us [RENS] to com­mu­ni­cate to all of our part­ners that we aren't about du­pli­cat­ing any­thing here, we're about lever­ag­ing all the re­sources we have for the ben­e­fit of the busi­ness com­mu­nity in the prov­ince. We must demon­strate that value to the pri­vate sec­tor. And if we're not demon­strat­ing it, I guar­an­tee you'll hear about it.”

Macdon­ald em­pha­sized the fact that “Re­gional En­ter­prise Net­works ac­tion plans are cre­ated through in­ter­ac­tion and feed­back from the pri­vate sec­tor on what pri­or­i­ties should be worked upon in their par­tic­u­lar ju­ris­dic­tion.” He said that the CBREN staff hold an­nual round­tables with busi­nesses, and meet one-onone with in­di­vid­u­als reg­u­larly.

Con­fer­ence speaker Em­i­lie de Rosen­roll is the for­mer Di­rec­tor of the Nova Sco­tia As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Author­ity, the or­ga­ni­za­tion suc­ceeded by RENS. She now runs a pri­vate sec­tor ini­tia­tive in Vic­to­ria, B.C., en­ti­tled South Is­land Pros­per­ity Project. Rosen­roll says that RENS are not just a re­place­ment for RDAS but a log­i­cal evo­lu­tion.

“The REN has been cre­ated to be a much broader re­gional or­ga­ni­za­tion. It builds on the work that the RDAS al­ready did. A rich his­tory and knowl­edge cap­i­tal ex­ists here in Nova Sco­tia, so I think you have a huge tra­di­tion to draw on.”

Rosen­roll also sees other rea­sons why Nova Sco­tia is well-po­si­tioned for growth.

“Nova Sco­tia has a great ad­van­tage in be­ing a smaller prov­ince with re­ally ro­bust part­ner­ships. It's some­thing that you can take for granted while you're here, but it takes a lot longer to build when there's no his­tory of do­ing it that way.”

Sen­a­tor Dan Christ­mas spoke about the de­vel­op­ment of the One Nova Sco­tia Coali­tion and how it mea­sures the health of Nova Sco­tia’s econ­omy.

In 2012, the Prov­ince of Nova Sco­tia, along with pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor part­ners, started re­view­ing the prov­ince’s econ­omy un­der the Nova Sco­tia Com­mis­sion on Build­ing Our New Econ­omy (now re­ferred to as the One Nova Sco­tia Coali­tion). Chaired by then Pres­i­dent and Vice-chan­cel­lor of Aca­dia Univer­sity Ray Ivany, the com­mis­sion iden­ti­fied de­mo­graphic and eco­nomic chal­lenges and 19 goals to build­ing a stronger, sus­tain­able econ­omy. A re­port en­ti­tled “Now or Never: An Ur­gent Call to Ac­tion for Nova Sco­tia” was re­leased in 2014 and is com­monly re­ferred to as the ‘Ivany Re­port’. Over the next two years, govern­ment and part­ners worked to de­velop a play­book en­ti­tled “We Choose Now: A Play­book for Nova Sco­tians.” Since Fe­bru­ary, One Nova Sco­tia has main­tained a web­site where ev­ery­day Nova Sco­tians can ex­am­ine the progress be­ing made to­wards each goal. Visit the web­site at http://onens.ca.

Photo by An­drew Brooks / The Vic­to­ria Stan­dard.

Sen­a­tor Dan Christ­mas speaks at the NSREN Part­ners for Progress Con­fer­ence in Bad­deck on Sept. 8, 2017.

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