Ris­ing to the chal­lenge

is year’s Chal­lenge NS ques­tion tack­les how peo­ple start­ing busi­nesses can put their ideas into prac­tice


Stu­dent teams in Truro joined oth­ers from around the prov­ince for Chal­lenge Nova Sco­tia, Fri­day.

Teams at the Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Truro and else­where had 12 hours to an­swer this year’s ques­tion of how to sup­port new busi­ness start-ups, posed on Nov. 23 by Pre­mier Stephen Mcneil and NSCC pres­i­dent Don Bu­reaux.

“In ef­fect, they could have im­pact on mak­ing changes to the so­cial is­sue that is faced by Nova Sco­tia,” said An­drea Fer­gu­son, one of the Truro cam­pus leads for Chal­lenge NS. “They have to come up with a cre­ative way to solve the so­cial chal­lenge in Nova Sco­tia.”

All teams must make a video out­lin­ing their so­lu­tions to the ques­tion and the top three will have their lms viewed by both Mcneil and Bu­reaux, and will win prize money of up to $2,000.

This year’s ques­tion on busi­ness in­no­va­tion stems from the 2013 Ivany Re­port, which out­lines steps Nova Sco­tia must take to im­prove its econ­omy, sup­port new busi­ness start-ups and at­tract more im­mi­grants to off­set its ag­ing pop­u­la­tion.

“It al­most could have been ‘ how do we ad­dress the Ivany Re­port,’” said Fer­gu­son’s col­league Matt Doucette.

Chal­lenge NS par­tic­i­pant Barb Pratt, one of five peo­ple on Team 89 in Truro, said the best an­swer was of­fer­ing grass-roots sup­port to would- be en­trepreneurs at NSCC cam­puses.

For ex­am­ple, a Syr­ian refugee could use of­fice space, com­put­ers and other tech­nol­ogy and also tap into the graphic de­sign skills of NSCC stu­dents to build a new web­site and sell his prod­ucts.

If Team 89’s idea is suc­cess­ful, refugees and other im­mi­grants, as well as peo­ple on so­cial as­sis­tance, could not only im­prove their own lot, but could jump­start the econ­omy.

“If it’s some­one on as­sis­tance or even some­one like a mi­grant worker, what it will do is give peo­ple a chance to stand on their own feet with­out hav­ing to rely on the gov­ern­ment’s money,” said Pratt.

“We have an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion of baby boomers that are even­tu­ally go­ing to be out of work, so what this will do is cre­ate more jobs for more peo­ple. It will boost the econ­omy of Nova Sco­tia. This will give the young peo­ple a chance to step up and grow some­thing.”

Mean­time, their ri­vals on Team 86 be­lieved that con­nec­tion was the key for a strong econ­omy that can cre­ate jobs. eir Chal­lenge NS group was an in­ter­na­tional one, in­clud­ing one per­son each from Canada, Peru, Chile and Brazil.

“We have to con­nect these peo­ple who have ideas with peo­ple from the pri­vate sec­tor that have money to in­vest through foun­da­tions, multi­na­tional com­pa­nies that have money to in­vest in re­search and in­no­va­tion and the gov­ern­ment of Nova Sco­tia. We have to con­nect all of these peo­ple to make these ideas be­come vi­able,” said Brazil­ian Quedma Ma­tola.

In Brazil, tech star­tups have pros­pered by tap­ping into a grow­ing mid­dle class and are now ex­pand­ing across Latin Amer­ica and even into Canada and Europe.

Many such com­pa­nies got started through sup­port from the Start-up Brazil gov­ern­ment pro­gram, while for­eign in­vestors can also re­ceive per­ma­nent res­i­dent visas to grow their busi­nesses.


Four coun­tries are rep­re­sented by the four mem­bers of Team 86 — Canada, Peru, Chile and Brazil. Com­pet­ing in Chal­lenge Nova Sco­tia at the NSCC in Truro, team mem­bers hope their di­verse per­spec­tives will help them solve the ques­tion of how best to sup­port new busi­ness in­no­va­tors in Nova Sco­tia. From left, Jarod Bab­cock, Ed­uardo Elor­ri­eta, Car­los Var­gas and Quedma Ma­tola.


Stu­dents Jenny Richard, left, and Barb Pratt, team mem­bers tak­ing part in Chal­lenge Nova Sco­tia, must an­swer a ques­tion on how best to sup­port busi­ness in­no­va­tors. The so­lu­tion put for­ward by their team in Truro is o er­ing re­sources such as o ce space to new en­trepreneurs at NSCC cam­puses across the prov­ince. From left: Jenny Richard and Barb Pratt.

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