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October 2014 Month Theme: Competitiveness and Trade

This month, the oneNS Coalition is focused on a critical area: Global Competitiveness and Trade. The Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy said our private sector must generate significantly more exports to achieve lasting economic turnaround. To delve into the challenge and potential collective solutions, the oneNS Coalition heard from several experts.

All echoed the same message: the global economy and Nova Scotia must change with it.

Until earlier this year, Nova Scotia’s traditional exports to our traditional markets have been falling behind. This is damaging because of the critical importance of trade considering small size of our domestic market.

The Honourable Kevin G. Lynch, Vice-Chair, BMO Financial Group explained that the economies of Nova Scotia’s two biggest trading partners – the US and Europe – are the slowest growing in the world, but that significant opportunities exist in emerging markets in Asia. Services and agriculture, aqua foods (including seafood and aquaculture) are two of the most promising exports for our region. To capitalize on these opportunities, innovation, development and expansion on a scale large enough to achieve critical mass are required. According to Ian Smith, CEO Clearwater Seafoods, two of the most prosperous and competitive countries in the world, Switzerland and Singapore, are achieving success and it is not based on natural resources. Instead, he suggests, the critical factors for success on a global scale, are the conscious selection of ‘champion’ sectors and broad coordination across public and private sectors and academic institutions.

The Global Competitiveness and Trade Action Team led by Jean-Paul Deveau President of Acadian Seaplants Limited, believes Nova Scotia needs a strategic, coordinated, and collaborative plan to get a foothold in these new markets and that the private and public sectors must work together to implement it. The team is developing a strategy based on three pillars:

  1. Improving the quality of the business environment
  2. Cluster development
  3. Policy coordination among multiple levels of geography and government

The Team also believes that the private sector could contribute in this area, not only through scaling up existing exports and the introduction of new ones, but also by providing mentorship, enhancing leadership, becoming more organized, and supporting the 4Front recommendations. In November, the Coalition will turn its attention to Youth and International Student Retention. Read more…

This month we’re inspired by Nova Scotia companies taking their products and services to the world:

HB Studios’ new virtual course plays well in the snow

Halifax’s DHX to help produce new U.K. kids series

Saint Mary’s degree program in China innovative, shapes leaders

Nova Scotia, Canada—We’ve Got Momentum 1.3

Nova Scotia is a hotbed of business brilliance in key sectors that are driving the world’s economy. True story. See how companies like IBM, Lockheed Martin and Citco Fund Services are finding success in Nova Scotia along with the home grown talent, innovation and commitment to education that makes Nova Scotia the right ecosystem for business growth in Canada. Watch Nova Scotia, Canada—We’ve Got Momentum 1.3 video.. There are many more out there, let us know who and what is inspiring you

Already Underway

The Coalition is taking action to define a common agenda or vision for change – the key drivers creating the issues the Ivany report identifies and what we must collectively do to solve them. As action on many fronts is needed, it is also opening up collective conversations with groups in the private, not-for profit, post-secondary, and community sectors about how to encourage and align action to solve the issues.

Ocean Innovation Centre

Last month, the oneNS Coalition table looked at and endorsed a unique opportunity for many sectors to work together and capitalize on one of our natural comparative advantages – the ocean. The former Coast Guard Base in Dartmouth could be used to create an ocean innovation centre. This idea holds a great deal of economic growth potential in areas including offshore oil and gas, maritime security, shipbuilding, ocean sciences, fisheries and aquaculture. Such a facility would co-house post-secondary schools, researchers, start-ups and an accelerator, creating a world-class innovation and commercialization centre. Read more….

The Nova Scotia government took two important steps this month:

Global Business Accelerator Program

Through a new Global Business Accelerator Program, 26 companies will receive help to export their products. “These are innovative, leading-edge businesses that want to do business around the world,” said the Honourable Michael Samson. “Government understands that sometimes there are barriers to this kind of expansion, and we want to partner with our ambitious entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to create the conditions where they can grow and be successful.” Read more…

Aligning Higher Education

Over the next several weeks, Nova Scotians will also be asked about how the province’s universities can work more closely with the private sector to grow the economy, and help more young people to live and raise families in Nova Scotia. The consultation will involve students, parents, businesses, the international community and university faculty, staff and presidents. “As the oneNS Commission has said, our post-secondary institutions can model and be a catalyst for the kind of economic, social and cultural change needed in Nova Scotia,” said Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advance Education. “This is an example of how universities, students, business and government can take collaborative action toward the goals of the oneNS Commission and work together to build a stronger economy and create opportunities for our youth.” Read more…

How Can I Get Involved?

Communities of concerned citizens are taking matters into their own hands. They are banding together across the province to generate ideas and take local action. We can all commit to taking one step toward the Nova Scotia Commission goals and a brighter future for Nova Scotia. Please share your stories with us.

Share Thanksgiving

In the true spirit of welcoming people to our province and Thanksgiving, established Nova Scotia families invited newcomers into their homes to share this meal. Over 900 people participated and enjoyed this opportunity to experience a Canadian tradition together to learn about each other. Get involved at www.

One Nova Scotia – Pictou County

One Nova Scotia – Pictou County hosted a community conversation this month to discuss how local businesses, organizations, community groups and residents can take action and build a brighter future for the county. “We have spent the last six months at least really talking about the negatives and there’s been a lot of focus on things that are not going well. So the idea of talking about possibilities … is really the motivation for us. We have amazing people here and amazing skills,” Susan MacConnell, one of the event’s five organizers, said in an interview with the Chronicle Herald. “From our skilled tradespeople, farmers’ markets, artisans and musicians, to our national and multinational businesses, we have proven our success in the local and global economy. This conversation is intended to look at where we go from here.” Read more…

Now Lunenburg County

Now Lunenburg County showcased 16 exciting projects on topics including entrepreneurship, education, youth engagement, and politics at an event inspired by the oneNS Commission report. In an interview with, one of the organizers Elspeth McLean-Wile, said: “In the room were a lot of people that saw a positive future, believed that we could change and that we as individuals could lead action here.” Read more… Get involved at