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December 2016                                                  Volume 1: Issue 3
Valley REN Voice
Unlocking Opportunities

In November, we were delighted to host the Innovation in Culinary Tourism Summit in Wolfville. We’ve captured the highlights in our Business Insight report (see below).

We also partnered with the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce to co-host a seminar on business succession for small and family-owned enterprises. Dr. John Fast really touched a nerve in the farming community when he talked about family relationships and business succession at the Old Orchard Inn.

Read more in our weekly blog
We have also been actively connecting businesses with one another and with the services they need to grow. Through our BusinessNow initiative we have met with more than 50 businesses and made referrals for financing, advice, planning, and employment services.

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

Cheers,

Kelly R.M. Ells, Chief Executive Officer
Business Insight: Culinary Tourism

We’d like to share some business insight from our expert panel on culinary tourism, held Nov. 4 in Wolfville. We hope you will find some inspiring ideas here for your business or organization.
 
Click to read the report
Funding for rural high-speed Internet projects
Municipalities and community groups can apply to the provincial government for funding (up to $75,000 each) for small-scale projects that will deliver better high-speed Internet service in rural areas. Deadline is Dec. 31. This round of funding forms part of the government’s commitment to launch a long-term Internet strategy, to be announced in the new year.
Take our Internet survey
Survey results on entrepreneurship
In the last issue of Valley REN Voice, we asked: What do you think makes an “entrepreneurial community”?

One of the best answers was: “To be an ‘entrepreneurial community’ you need passion, drive, vision, and strong leadership. You also need to have people who believe in this community and want to see it prosper.”

We also asked: How do you rate the Annapolis Valley or your community? Is it an “entrepreneurial community”?

Not everyone agreed. One person suggested people in our region are too fearful to be entrepreneurial. Another person wrote: “The Annapolis Valley is an ‘entrepreneurial community’. To some degree it has had to be, otherwise it would fall apart. Gone are the days of big manufacturing jobs and other large employers. Without entrepreneurship, we would be floundering. More than that, however, people love this place. Whether they were born here or came from away, this Valley is a special place for so many. It is because of that the entrepreneurial spirit thrives here.”

Thanks for sharing your views.
Events

Building a Cross-Culturally Competent Workplace

Lots of practical tips at this FREE interactive workshop
19 January 2017, 1:00PM – 4:00PM 
Kings County building: 87 Cornwallis Street, Kentville


Immigrants entering the workforce are a source of labour market growth. They bring many benefits – think innovation, determination and connections – to potential partners, suppliers and customers. Retaining talented immigrant employees delivers a competitive advantage and is a key factor in becoming an employer of choice.
 
The Workplace Culture Program organized by the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia helps employers by:
 
● improving their ability to retain immigrant employees
● raising awareness of the benefits of cross-cultural talents and experience
● identifying ways to improve the cross-cultural experience

Facilitator
Paul Pickering has been assisting employers and individuals with issues of immigration, cultural competence, diversity and inclusion since 1995. He is the coordinator of workplace culture at Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia in Halifax (ISANS). 
Please register here: seats are limited
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 Valley region. 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 of Nova Scotia. 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 mission:
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 make connections for businesses and potential investors, while supporting the development of key economic sectors in the Annapolis Valley region. 

Making business-to-business connections

Our BusinessNow suite of services provides one-on-one support to the local business community. We provide information, make referrals, and can connect you with local businesses in the supply chain. As we gain insight into the regional business climate, we are bringing the collective concerns of businesses to our municipal and provincial partners.

UPDATE
We were recently contacted by an entrepreneur who wanted to establish a company in the Valley. We met to discuss the business model, business plan, and HR requirements, and through our network connections we helped the new company recruit directors and employees.

This is just one example of the kind of supports that we’ve provided to about 50 businesses since summer.
How can the Valley REN help your business?

For information or to set up a meeting:
please contact James Schofield,
Economic Development Officer.
Ph: 1 (902) 698-9192 | jschofield@valleyren.ca

Developing priority economic sectors in the Valley

On behalf of our regional partners and the province, the Valley REN is investing its efforts in developing five key sectors: agriculture, information and communications technologies (ICT), manufacturing, sustainable energy, and tourism. We do this by bringing businesses together to spark ideas and pursue innovative ways to build on our assets in the Valley region.

UPDATE
More than 70 people representing five core economic sectors have agreed to bring their insight and experience to our sector tables. Their analysis will help us frame our priority actions for 2017. We are excited to be hosting the first joint meeting of all the sector tables on Dec. 7 at the NSCC Kingstec campus.

For more information: 
please contact Emily Konrath, Economic Development Officer
Ph: 1 (902) 670-0542 ekonrath@valleyren.ca
Catch up on our past newsletters
November issue of Valley REN Voice 
October issue of Valley REN Voice 
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Questions? Suggestions? Send us a message.
Or visit valleyren.ca to learn more.
Copyright © 2016 Valley Regional Enterprise Network
35 Webster St., Suite 102 | Kentville, Nova Scotia B4N 1H4 | 1 (902) 670-2287
valleyren.ca | krmells@valleyren.ca

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