September 2014 Month Theme: Start-up Ecosystems and Driving Youth Entrepreneurship

Below you’ll find a monthly update from the oneNS Coalition. Here is a quick word from one of our Coalition members, Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed on initiatives she is excited about.



This is our first update as a Coalition, so here is a bit of background on us and our work.

The oneNS Coalition is a multi-sector, all party group formed to take collaborative, collective action while working on a 10-year, province wide collaborative plan to meet the population and economic renewal goals identified in the Ivany/oneNS Commission Report.

We understand that Nova Scotians are eager for action. We are too.

Action must come from all of us and be aligned with the goals of the Report. The kind of change the oneNS Commission called for cannot be accomplished by the Coalition, government or any single organization or person working alone. Collective action is required. Change must be driven by the private sector and every Nova Scotian.

And, as the Report notes, there are “no quick fixes or magic solutions.” The Coalition is pursuing opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors, businesses, post-secondary institutions, social enterprises, industry organizations, diverse communities, individuals and all levels of government to work together to make progress on the Commission’s goals.

Haven’t had the chance to read the Report yet? Click here to access it online.

Doing Things Differently

We recently met on September 16 and a work plan has been developed. We have also identified a way to approach our work called Collective Impact. Any group needs a plan for action, especially when the task is broad ranging, complex, and has never been tackled this way before.

Collective Impact occurs when organizations from different sectors agree to solve a specific social problem using a common agenda, aligning their efforts, and using common measures of success. Read more about Collective Impact here.

To see an example of Collective Impact in action visit Memphis Fast Forward. The seeds for Memphis Fast Forward were laid in 2005 when Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton and Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton approached Memphis Tomorrow to discuss their concern that the Memphis region did not have a strategic agenda to accelerate economic growth and improve the quality of life of the Memphis region.

Our Work

We have broken down the elements of the OneNS Commission Report into the following six areas of focus in our workplan:

  • Renewing Education and Our Future
  • Our Universities and NSCC as Strategic Opportunities
  • Energizing Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Rebuilding our Trading Economy: Going global
  • Responsible Development of Our Natural Resource Advantages
  • Adapting to a Changing Demographic: Retaining youth, attracting and retaining immigrants, enhanching workforce participation and aging well

Three working groups are now up and running. They spent the summer speaking with experts across the province and are working on plans in three priority areas:

  • Retention and Immigration
  • Start-ups and Entrepreneurship
  • Global Competitiveness and Trade

September’s Focus: Startup Ecosystems and Driving Youth Entrepreneurship


Each month, the Coalition will focus on a specific theme related to an area of focus intended to lead us to a common agenda on how to collectively address the challenges and pursue goals set out in the Report. In September, the Coalition looked at ideas to help foster a start-up ecosystem. The Startup Empire Conference — put on by non-profit Halifax start-up house Volta — showcased five promising local start-ups and hosted excellent discussions to provide the mentorship needed to move Nova Scotia start-ups forward.

The oneNS Commission Report said Nova Scotia needs more new business start-ups and growth-oriented enterprises. More of our young people must come out of their education and training with the skills and confidence to create jobs for themselves. To succeed in this, we all need to come together on specific actions to increase start-ups and new businesses.

We believe we have to fuel the growth and development of entrepreneurs at all stages of life, and this month we looked at several projects doing just that. A great example of people, sectors and institutions coming together to support a common cause is Brilliant Labs in New Brunswick.

If you know of another example of people working together to foster entrepreneurship at a young age happening in your community please let us know! We will be starting a public outreach campaign and engagement activities to give Nova Scotians a voice and a clearer role in our work. In the meantime, please join the conversation on Facebook.