Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) today announced its new business resolutions for 2003 aimed at helping businesses reach their growth potential and enhancing provincial economic growth. NSBI also released research findings on economic attitudes, and preliminary results reflecting activity since its inception in November 2001.
During our first year of operation, we met with business leaders throughout the province to identify areas where we can add value and impact economic growth. Their feedback, as well as independent research, confirmed three key areas where NSBI can have the greatest impact: improving access to capital, helping companies export and bringing new businesses to the province, said Stephen Lund, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc., at a breakfast meeting with more than 100 business leaders today in Halifax.
In a recent study on economic attitudes, 92 per cent of businesses said they are optimistic about the outlook for their business over the next three years. Almost two thirds of Nova Scotia businesses believe that new businesses from outside of the province are needed to strengthen the economy. In addition, more than 85 per cent of Nova Scotian businesses plan to increase sales in the coming year, while almost half plan to introduce a new product or service and invest in new facilities or equipment. Yet, almost two thirds believe that gaining access to capital is still challenging.
Our findings provide valuable feedback that enables us to stay on target and continue to develop the kinds of services and initiatives that effectively respond to the needs of Nova Scotia businesses, said Lund. We have an aggressive and proactive business development team in place that is focused on generating opportunities for business growth both here and outside our borders.
Specifically, NSBI introduced three new initiatives: Capital Ideas Roadshow, Export Prospector pilot project, and a Regional Business Case Analysis.
The Capital Ideas Roadshow is a series of seven high-level, hands-on information sessions throughout the province to help businesses better understand the financing options and strategies available to them. The sessions will involve representatives from finance, legal and export institutions, including KPMG, Export Development Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada, ACOA, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, National Research Council-IRAP and Boyne Clark Barristers and Solicitors.
Export Prospector is a pilot project designed to help 20 potential exporting companies with their individual exporting needs to generate sales abroad. NSBI staff will work individually with clients to identify and develop export opportunities in the markets that make the most sense for their products and services. Participant companies will be connected with potential prospects to convert leads into sales. This pilot project builds on NSBI's client-focused approach to increasing export activity and is being funded through the Canada-Nova Scotia Cooperation Agreement on Economic Diversification.
NSBI will also approach communities throughout the province in the coming months to better understand their comparative advantages and further strengthen the rationale for doing business in Nova Scotia. This will involve identifying regional assets and further understanding regional strategic planning priorities so that NSBI can better tailor business proposals to the specific needs of prospects.
Lund also highlighted NSBI's achievements to date: NSBI authorized $15 million in financing for 19 clients, and attracted new business investment from four companies by authorizing up to $10.7 million in financial support through the payroll rebate program. Annual economic impacts expected to result from NSBI client activity include: $95 million in total payroll, and $13 million in tax revenue back to the province. The initiatives will also help NSBI's clients create or maintain 3800 jobs.
Our efforts to date and in the future are aimed at building and supporting strong, sustainable businesses in the province, said Mr. Lund. These efforts not only provide employment options for Nova Scotians, but generate revenues back to the province for areas like health care and education. Essentially, NSBI is an investment in Nova Scotia's health and well-being.
Nova Scotia Business Inc. is the province's business development agency, an organization that works with companies to provide business solutions. The private sector-led agency works to attract new businesses to the province and help those already in Nova Scotia expand through services such as export development and financing.