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Society to connect communities, businesses and government

Cumberland Business Connector president Sue McIsaac and vice-president Mike Stack look over the organization’s action plan. The organization is closer to being functional and is presently in the market for a chief executive officer to lead it forward.
Cumberland Business Connector president Sue McIsaac and vice-president Mike Stack look over the organization’s action plan. The organization is closer to being functional and is presently in the market for a chief executive officer to lead it forward.

AMHERST, N.S. – Cumberland County’s new business connector society is closer to being functional.

The organization was officially registered with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies over the summer, a board of directors has been installed and the search is on for a chief executive officer.

The organization was officially registered with the Registry of Joint Stock Companies over the summer, a board of directors has been installed and the search is on for a chief executive officer.

“We are official now. We registered as a not-for-profit society over the summer and had our first board of directors meeting in November,” society president Sue McIsaac said. “We are hoping to have our CEO in place in February, if possible, and we have the funding agreements are in place and we have a mandate.”

The Cumberland Business Connector Society came from the Cumberland County Life movement that was formed around the time the Ivany Report on Nova Scotia’s economic future was released.

A small group of businesspeople began meeting to discuss how Ivany’s recommendations could be implemented in Amherst and Cumberland County. From there, with the help of Engage Nova Scotia, members of the business community were brought together in a brain-storming session at Emmerson Packaging.

McIsaac said the society’s job is not to compete with development work being done at the municipal level. She said society wants to provide a liaison between the business community and all levels of government to open the lines of communication and eliminate any gaps.

The society also wants to strengthen existing businesses and work with youth to create a job-ready workforce.

“Cumberland County is a wonderful place to live, to work and to own a business and to start a business,” society vice-president Mike Stack said. “You have business people here who are committed to this area and believe if something needs to be done it’s our responsibility to do it.”

Stack said some of the best jobs in Cumberland County are with various industrial operations such as Emmerson Packaging, Oxford Frozen Foods, IMP Aerostructures and Surrette Battery in Springhill. He said it’s important for young people to know they can have a future in Cumberland County.

He said the biggest thing is eliminating gaps and connecting the business community to government. It’s not about waiting for government to reach out or do all the economic development work – something the Ivany Report pointed out had to change.

McIsaac said it’s not the society’s intent to do it all, or replace municipal efforts.

“There are a lot of groups doing a lot of good work and some of the initiatives the town is taking, including engaging citizens and creating committees, has so much potential,” McIsaac said. “It’s our intention to work with any established group. We just want to make sure there are no gaps.”

Other key members include secretary Dave McNairn, treasurer Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, Anne Sharpe, David Hoffman of Oxford Frozen Foods, Jamie Surrette from Surrette Batteries, Stephen Emmerson from Emmerson Packaging and Carl Sparkes from Jost Vineyards.

It is operating on a $160,000 budget funded by the municipalities including $10,000 from Oxford and $10,000 from the county to cover Parrsboro’s share. The rest of the funding is coming from Amherst and the Municipality of Cumberland.

The society is operating out of the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre in office space provided by Amherst.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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