June 3, 2005

Greater Halifax community receives international recognition for supporting business

Halifax, Nova Scotia – June 3, 2005 – Last evening, the Greater Halifax community received international recognition for efforts designed to help retain and expand existing businesses in the area. 

The Greater Halifax community was awarded Outstanding Large Community Business Retention and Expansion Program by Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI) at its annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee.  Halifax Regional Municipality Councillor Reg Rankin accepted the award on behalf of the community.

“This is all about the community, rallying to support our existing businesses,” said Stephen Dempsey, President and CEO, Greater Halifax Partnership.  He added, “we recognize that 80 per cent of an area’s growth comes from existing businesses.  The SmartBusiness retention and expansion initiative is designed to identify growth issues for business, remove these barriers and create the most competitive business climate in Canada.” 

SmartBusiness, led by the Greater Halifax Partnership, relies on an Action Team of 25 public and private organizations (see attached) that respond daily to business issues.  Over the last 11 months, the Greater Halifax Partnership has met with 700 businesses, representing over 60,000 jobs or 31 per cent of the workforce, driving economic growth one business at a time.

“SmartBusiness is very valuable,” said Dan Clarke, Vice President, Operations, Helly Hansen Canada.  “We didn’t have to spend time trying to figure out what business resources are available in the community.  SmartBusiness is an effective and efficient link, bringing the right people together for business growth.  In our case, it led to direct dollars back in the form of a tax credit.” 

Some recent SmartBusiness success stories include:

· SmartBusiness facilitated the process that allowed a local company to obtain a letter of credit required to secure a five-year contract.
· A number of drywalling companies couldn’t find enough skilled workers to meet demand.  Through SmartBusiness intervention, the Nova Scotia Community College developed a drywalling course to help alleviate some of the demand issues.
· A local business was preparing to enter the export market. SmartBusiness connected them with an organization that will assist them with developing their first international export strategy.

In the months to come, the focus of SmartBusiness will be to better understand the more complex issues that are common to many businesses.  The plan for the next three years will help to address the issues through further research, by continuing to work with partners, and by engaging community stakeholders in resolution.

BREI is a professional association of economic development professionals who are working to advance of business retention and expansion as an economic development strategy for communities. 

The BREI outstanding large community business retention and expansion program award is given to a unique program that is based in an urban or large city.  Submissions are judged on: community collaborative efforts, special resources for business enhancement, support or resources follow-up strategies, and means of acknowledging or appreciating businesses within a region. 

The Greater Halifax Partnership is the economic growth organization for Greater Halifax focused on retaining, expanding and attracting business.  It is among the most innovative and successful economic development partnerships in North America.  SmartBusiness is co-funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Nova Scotia Department of Education and the Nova Scotia Office of Economic Development.

SmartBusiness Action Team Members - As of June 3, 2005

Aliant Inc.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Black Business Initiative
Business Development Bank of Canada
Canada/Nova Scotia Business Service Centre
Centre for Women in Business at MSVU
Cornwallis Financial Corporation
Credit Union Atlantic
Eco-Efficiency Centre, Dalhousie University
Export Development Canada
Greater Halifax Partnership
Halifax Chamber of Commerce
Halifax Regional Development Agency
Halifax Regional Municipality
Halifax Regional Municipality - Business Parks
Human Resources & Skills Development Canada
International Trade Canada
Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA)
Nova Scotia Business Inc.
Nova Scotia Community College
Nova Scotia Department of Education
Nova Scotia Office of Economic Development
Nova Scotia Power Inc.
Saint Mary's University Business Development Centre
Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia

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