November 2016                                                  Volume 1: Issue 2
Valley REN Voice
Unlocking Opportunities

At the Valley REN, we’re unlocking opportunities for businesses in the Annapolis Valley.

With tourism expanding in the province, culinary tourism is an opportunity for growth – for new and existing businesses. This month, we are pleased to host the Innovation in Culinary Tourism Summit on Nov. 4 during Devour! The Food Film Fest. Wed love to meet you at this free event, which is designed for businesses engaged in tourism and for agri-food and artisanal food ventures, culinary enterprises, and producers of wine and craft beverages.

We hope you enjoy reading our November newsletter and we invite your feedback. Share your ideas for how the Valley can become an even better place to do business and invest in the future. 


Kelly R.M. Ells, Chief Executive Officer

All the right ingredients for culinary tourism

The Village of Port Williams is seeing significant new commercial development on the waterfront.
Photo © Paul Illsley (

The Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia has all the ingredients for entrepreneurs looking to produce or add value to a wide range of agricultural products.

Located on the Bay of Fundy and bordered by the North and South mountains, the foothills of the Annapolis Valley are the heart of the province’s wine country. Our wine-making climate has been compared with the Champagne region in France.

The region is also home to a growing cluster of craft-beverage makers, artisanal food producers, and other agricultural entrepreneurs. Together, they are adding value to our quality local ingredients, expanding the buy-local movement, and cultivating the region’s international reputation as a culinary tourism destination.

Read more here
Visit our website to read our weekly blog

Employment growing faster than Halifax in the Annapolis Valley

Growing the Annapolis Valley region, together

Bringing diversity to the ICT workforce

Unlocking opportunities in culinary tourism

What makes an entrepreneurial community?

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) recently named Kentville and surrounding areas of Kings County as one of Canadas top 10 “entrepreneurial communities.” They looked at the number and changes in business establishments, businesses per capita, activity in the information and culture sector, the rate of self-employment, life satisfaction, building permits, full-time hiring, property taxes, regulation, and government interaction with small business. What do you think makes an “entrepreneurial community” and how do you rate the Annapolis Valley or your municipality or community
Tell us what you think

Growing the economy by better use of broadband

In the last issue of the Valley REN Voice, we asked for your views on rural broadband. Not surprisingly, respondents wanted greater broadband capacity, better Internet service and cheaper rates. We received comments about the problem of using shared wireless services for business, the lack of access to broadband in particular communities, and the need to extend the reach of existing broadband infrastructure.

Thanks for sharing your views as we research the barriers created by the lack of adequate broadband. We know that local businesses need better rural broadband to reach more markets and grow. 
Events & Opportunities

Innovation in Culinary Tourism Summit

The Valley REN invites you to the Innovation in Culinary Tourism Summit on Nov. 4: 
11:00 am to 12:30 pm. 

Be inspired by good food, great places and new business opportunities at our free Innovation in Culinary Tourism Summit in Wolfville on Nov. 4.

This forum is open to all. Our presenters bring expertise and examples for innovation from across Canada. Find inspiration and idea-generation for your business with our panel of visiting speakers, all leaders in their respective regions.

Tourism operators, artisanal food entrepreneurs, wineries and craft beverage makers, culinary students, and all interested business owners are invited. We hope you can join us.

This free event takes place during Devour! The Food Film Fest
Please RSVP to
Troy Restaurant/Wilsons Home Heating Pavilion, 12 Elm Avenue, Wolfville
What is the Valley REN?
Who We Are:
The Valley REN was incorporated in March 2014 under the Municipal Government Act. We have a mandate to be the catalyst for economic development in the Annapolis Valley-West Hants region of Nova Scotia. Our partners in the Valley REN are the Glooscap First Nation, the municipalities of the County of Kings and the District of West Hants, and the Towns of Berwick, Kentville, Middleton, Windsor and Wolfville. We are jointly funded by our regional partners and the province. Our volunteer Board of Directors, drawn mostly from the private sector, delivers a wealth of experience in business and economic leadership. A Liaison and Oversight committee – representing regional partners and the province – ensures public accountability.

Our Misison:
To guide and navigate regional economic development, while providing support to businesses; operating as a connector among economic development partners; supporting business growth and retention; and providing leadership on economic priorities.

Our Vision:
“Communities working together to create a prosperous region.”
Our guiding values:
Community  |  Integrity  |  Respect  |  Excellence  |  Trust
How can the Valley REN help you?
We provide resources and connections for business owners and potential investors, while supporting the development of key economic sectors in the Annapolis Valley region.

Making business-to-business connections

The Valley REN can connect you with people and resources to grow your business. We provide one-on-one support and effective referrals through our BusinessNow suite of services. As we form valuable relationships in the business community, we can help you overcome barriers and pursue opportunities. As we gain insight into the regional business climate, we can bring the collective concerns of business to municipal and provincial governments.

We are excited by the business-to-business match-making we are fostering with local entrepreneurs as they build new relationships within the supply chain. Among the businesses we meet, we are seeing an interest in exporting. We are also connecting employers with the services they need to support their hiring.
For information or to set up a meeting, contact James Schofield,
Economic Development Officer.
Ph: 1 (902) 698-9192 |

Developing priority economic sectors

Through our strategic planning process, the Valley REN has identified five priority sectors that present significant opportunities for business growth and investment attraction. These are: agriculture, information and communications technologies (ICT), manufacturing, sustainable energy, and tourism.


In October, the Valley REN and the Nova Scotia division of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) jointly hosted a manufacturers’ roundtable. We heard about the key business advantages of locating here. They include: access to a loyal and productive workforce, the quality of life, and access to strong education and training systems. To continue to compete globally, we need to build our manufacturing base and ensure the essential transportation infrastructure is in place. Nova Scotia manufacturers can compete with the world in terms of productivity, but the high cost of energy is an issue.
Plans are coming together for our sector tables kick-off event. Check back next month for more details.

For more information, contact Emily Konrath, Economic Development Officer. Ph: 1 (902) 670-0542 |
Questions? Suggestions? Send us a message.
Or visit to learn more.
Copyright © 2016 Valley Regional Enterprise Network
35 Webster St., Suite 102 | Kentville, Nova Scotia B4N 1H4 | 1 (902) 670-2287 |

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