Residents of the Cheticamp area celebrated the opening of a service centre today, Aug. 14, that will create new employment opportunities in Inverness County.
Premier Rodney MacDonald joined Marlene Usher, director general, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation; Roland Klassen, president of Acrobat Research Ltd.; Angus LeFort, chair of the Cheticamp Co-operative Council; and Stephen Lund, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc., for the official opening of Acrobat Research Ltd.
"Acrobat is a great example of how technology is creating opportunity and growth in communities across our province," said Premier MacDonald. "Technology is the equalizer, and our skilled and educated people continue to set Nova Scotia apart.
"I know this venture will be a success because the citizens of the area have invested so much of themselves in this project. I thank the people of Cheticamp and Inverness County, along with Acrobat Research and the other partners, for making this day a reality."
The new Acrobat facility is the result of nearly three years of work by the community, led by the Cheticamp Co-operative Council, and supported by its development partners and the company.
The co-operative council determined a contact centre was a good opportunity for the community. The council bought and renovated a former convent with support in the amount of $307,000 from the federal government through the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC).
In May, Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) announced a maximum payroll rebate of $850,000 over six years for Acrobat Research Ltd. The rebate will be awarded annually as the company creates as many as 115 full-time equivalent positions over the term of the agreement. The Office of Economic Development also committed a $350,000 loan to help Acrobat with start-up infrastructure costs.
"This grassroots effort is a testament to the strength of the community, the co-op council and its development partners," said Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and Minister responsible for Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation."Canada's government is committed to ensuring communities are given every opportunity to evolve and grow."
Acrobat has already hired and started training 17 area residents.
"The high-quality and bilingual workforce was a factor in the decision to locate Acrobat Research in Cheticamp," said Mr. Klassen. "The province's assistance will enable us to grow our workforce and continue our success in another rural community of Nova Scotia."
"This is an excellent example of collaboration between the community and multiple levels of government," said Richard Hurlburt, Minister of Economic Development. "Cheticamp is a model of community economic development in action."
NSBI provided a payroll rebate to Acrobat in April of 2003 to help it open a service centre in Canso, Guysborough Co.
"Acrobat's service centre brought jobs and opportunity to the Canso area, and Cheticamp decided it could support a similar operation," said Mr. LeFort, chair of the Cheticamp Co-operative Council. "It took a lot of work and planning to develop our business case, but the community pulled together to make today's official opening happen."
The new jobs created in Cheticamp complement existing seasonal and service sector positions, providing full- and part-time opportunities as well as a possible second income for many households.
"NSBI is proud to be part of this community-led initiative to bring Acrobat to Cheticamp," said Mr. Lund. "Technology and globalization are two of the key influencers that enable us to expand companies and reach the diverse workforces in rural locations."
Headquartered in Toronto, Acrobat was founded in 1994 to provide outsourced, outbound and inbound data collection services. The company has developed considerable expertise in operating and managing remote contact centre in a hub and spoke configuration.
Nova Scotia Business Inc. is Nova Scotia's private sector-led business development agency. NSBI is the investment attraction arm of the province and helps companies in Nova Scotia meet their growth potential through business advisory, export development and financial services.