Being an entrepreneur or opening a business comes with many firsts but after the first title search or first tax registration few want to find major hurdles on the road to success.
Regardless of the sector there will be inspections and compliance regulations. Navigating it is not always easy, and if the business looks to move beyond provincial borders, it can be almost defeating.
Enter Nova Scotia’s Business Navigators.
The team are a spinoff from the creation of the Nova Scotia Office of Regulatory Affairs in 2015, and help businesses cut through the so-called red tape and focus more getting to work. According to corporate strategist Nick Langley, including navigators at the beginning stages instead of later will save both time and money.
“I would highly recommend it when people are even at the earliest stages. Even when people are working with an idea prior to registering their business,” Langley said. “What a business navigator can know, depending on the industry they are looking at starting a business in, is providing them with the information that they need to create a checklist. They can be with them throughout the whole process.”
These navigators, Langley, are not a one-time resource, but instead work with startups getting their business off the ground and become career-long resources when questions about trade barriers arise.
Langley was in Amherst this month at the invite of the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce as part of small business week in the province. Speaking at the Cumberland YMCA Oct. 12, Langley identified some common forms of red tape his office has helped overcome, and the impacts they have on the province since streamlining some services and expectations.
One-in-six jobs in the province are connected to trade, Langley said, so part of the office’s role is to measure outcomes of streamlining things between provinces. As trade barriers are overcome, those savings go back into the businesses. Here, Langley says, those savings can mean a lot more to the local economy than elsewhere in the county.
“Here, interprovincial trade is more important to Atlantic Canada than the rest of Canada. It’s more costly, though, for our businesses to do interprovincial trade,” Langley said. “We have such a fragmented market here in Atlantic Canada.”
The reason comes down to size and numbers. Atlantic Canada as a whole is 15 per cent the geographic size of Ontario. However, that 15 per cent in Ontario holds a market six-times larger than the Atlantic Provinces and with only one set of provincial rules to adhere to.
With New Brunswick just next door, many businesses in Amherst and northern Nova Scotia’s stand to benefit in some way as the office finds partnerships between provinces in Atlantic Canada.
“We have saved, last year, $5.3 million to Nova Scotia businesses and that is going to be on an ongoing basis,” Langley said.
To learn more about Nova Scotia Office of Regulatory Affairs and its Business Navigators, visit www.novascotia.ca/businessnavigators.