AMHERST – Rural Nova Scotia is full of companies ready to take the next step by competing in the global marketplace.
Federal Innovation, Science Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains was joined by Nova Scotia’s minister of labour and advanced education Labi Kousoulis in announcing $1.2 million in funding for training and mentorship to improve the competitiveness of 32 small and medium-sized businesses in the province.
“This program will identify businesses that have the potential to grow whose employees need to have the right skills when it comes to LEAN manufacturing methods and it will enable them to compete in rural Nova Scoita, but also to compete globally,” Bains said after making the announcement at LED Roadway Lighting in Amherst on Thursday afternoon. “We expect this will create jobs and good quality jobs.”
The two levels of government are partnering with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The federal government is providing $951,516 to the program that will help participating companies learn how to implement LEAN manufacturing methods, meaning significant productivity and quality gains.
These continuous improvements to the manufacturing process will allow the companies to add value for customers by producing higher-quality, lower-cost products in shorter times.
The minister said the announcement builds on the federal commitment to the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy that supports strategic investments in initiatives that building on the region’s competitive advantages including strong export potential, a growing innovation ecosystem and a skilled workforce.
“This program will highlight the level of ambition. We need to aim high, think big and be bold. By investing in people, in processes and companies we can do that,” said Bains, who is also the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “It’s a genuine partnership between the federal government and the provincial government along with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, which is a key partner. This type of collaboration, along with ACOA, will really position us and the companies and the people to succeed in the long run.”
Kousoulis, who announced a $250,000 provincial commitment, said this program will help grow the rural economy of Nova Scotia. To him, a strong Nova Scotia economic future includes a strong rural economy as well as a strong urban one.
The labour and advanced education minister said success is not tied to location. He said companies outside Halifax have the ability to succeed, just as their counterparts in the city. To him, it’s about products, people and ideas.
Helping rural companies have to the tools to compete will help them succeed.
“This program is targeted to rural manufacturers. Not only will it help become more competitive, but because the program is only going to accept applications from rural manufacturers we’ll hopefully see more success stories such as what we have seen here in Amherst with LED Roadway Lighting with local companies employing Nova Scotians and exporting products all over the world.”
Bains said innovation happens everywhere.
“It’s not just about the big towns, it’s about small and rural communities as well and that’s what’s exciting about this because innovation is about ideas. If you have ideas we want to create the conditions where those ideas grow and succeed,” Bains said.