International Business Internship Program launched

May 21, 2003

HALIFAX - The Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and Stephen Lund, President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc., today announced that the 2003 International Business Internship Program is being launched with the assistance of the Canada/Atlantic Provinces COOPERATION Agreement on International Business Development (IBDA).

Atlantic Canadian companies are increasingly proving that they are very good at competing in the international marketplace, said Minister Byrne.  The Business Internship Program provides a win-win approach: the internship students benefit from exposure to the international marketplace; the participating companies benefit from first-hand knowledge of their intended market; and our region's economy stands to gain from additional export opportunities.

Finding ways to ease the transition from classroom to boardroom helps clear the path for Nova Scotia's future business leaders, said Mr. Lund, whose organization is coordinating the internships of the four Nova Scotia students. In addition, the experience and contacts that these students will make will play a role in ensuring that international trade remains an important component of Nova Scotia's continued economic growth for years to come.   

The Internship Program was initially launched in 1994.  Its main purpose was to provide a work term for MBA students with career aspirations in international trade. 

Today's program has evolved to provide up-to-the-minute information to selected Atlantic companies in target markets.  Currently, 10 students are selected from five Atlantic Canadian Universities.  These students are matched with companies interested in acquiring new markets through appropriate and timely intelligence.  The students travel to selected Canadian Consulates or Embassies to gather information for the duration of their internship.  They present their findings to the companies upon their return to Canada.

This year's participants will be posted in Barbados, Iceland, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Stockholm, Dublin and Paris.

More than 100 companies and close to 80 students have benefited from this program.  Participating Canadian Posts abroad have included: Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, England, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Trinidad, US (Atlanta, Boston, California, Chicago, Dallas, Washington).

The IBDA is designed to increase exporting in Atlantic Canada by funding projects that help small- and medium-sized companies explore, enter and succeed in international markets. 

First signed in May 1994, the $13-million Agreement involves three federal departments  the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Industry Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the four Atlantic Canadian provincial governments.  ACOA provides 70 percent of the funding while the provincial governments provide the remaining 30 percent.