“Economic development is a team sport.”

Economic development is a team sport. Citizens, business and the public sector are all key contributors and essential partners in shaping the local economy. Like any great team – we need to work together towards a common goal.

With a vision of communities working together to create a prosperous region, the Valley REN has identified three key themes to drive our economic development strategy: our people, our sectors, and our assets.

Our strategic goals are to support strong local businesses and attract investment, make better use of our infrastructure, and develop our “workforce advantage” (the region’s loyal, stable and productive workforce, which is supported by strong education and training programs and employer/employment services).

People, sectors and assets: Our focus on people covers entrepreneurship, immigration, and youth/student retention. Our priority sectors are agriculture, sustainable energy/clean tech, information and communications technologies (ICT), manufacturing and tourism. Our region’s natural and built assets, which can support economic growth, include the Bay of Fundy (fisheries, tourism and tidal energy), our transportation infrastructure (road, air and port), and telecommunications (especially the Valley Community Fibre Network running alongside Highway 1, from Middleton to Halifax).

People, sectors and assets: Our focus on people covers entrepreneurship, immigration, and youth/student retention. Our priority sectors are agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, information and communications technologies (ICT), and sustainable energy/clean tech. Our region’s natural and built assets, which can support economic growth, include the Bay of Fundy (fisheries, tourism and tidal energy), our transportation infrastructure (road, air and port), and telecommunications (especially the Valley Community Fibre Network running alongside Highway 1, from Middleton to Halifax).


With our strategy in hand, the Valley REN has a clear mandate for the coming years and a team to implement it. In summer, I was pleased to welcome two economic development officers and a communications officer to our staff.

Here are some of the highlights for the year.

We are creating five sector tables (advisory groups) to identify two or three priorities for development in each key sector.

Through our BusinessNow suite of services, we are connecting businesses with people and resources to help them grow and to overcome barriers.

We have launched our upgraded website, featuring a business directory, stories of successful businesses, a digital library, and a monthly newsletter (launching in September). We invite you to explore the site and contact us to tell us what you think.

Working with the Valley Business Leaders Initiative, we have supported the Live Work Grow television and digital media campaign, which has been running for three months.  More than 120,000 impressions on social media and more than 800 clicks have generated 80 requests for information. You can view the 30-second commercial here.

In August, we co-hosted a second “Smart Valley” event with i-Valley (you can read about it here). We have also teamed up with two of our fellow regional enterprise networks – the Western REN and South Shore REN – to redefine the boundaries of the “Smart Western Valley” designation. And we will continue to support the broad-based initiative to establish our region as a “Smart Valley,” where improved access to broadband can unlock opportunities for businesses and communities.

We want to hear from you. Be part of the Economic Development team. How do you think the Valley can become an even better place to do business and invest? Tell us in the comment section under this blog, and we’ll share your views in future blogs.

To stay informed about our activities, please sign up for our new newsletter.

Cheers,

Kelly

(This is the final blog in a three-part series where CEO Kelly Ells explains how the Valley REN created and launched an economic development strategy for the Annapolis Valley region. You can read parts 1 and 2 here and here.)

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