Erin Elaine Casey
Erin Elaine Casey, Writer. Editor. Writing coach.

When I first started my business about three years ago, I had a lot of help: from CEED, from my dad, and from lots of people I didn’t even know. I also joined the Chamber pretty much right away. That first winter was really hard, and I didn’t know if I could keep going. I even took on a tiny part-time “joblet” to make ends meet.

One of the most important things I learned during that long, lean winter was how to ask for help. I asked people I knew for names of people to talk to. I called strangers and asked for advice. I asked them to introduce me to their colleagues. I asked them to work with me.

And you know what? Nobody ever said no. NOBODY. Every single person helped me in some way. Happily, cheerfully, and generously.

In this post about Grow Halifax, the Chamber’s new initiative to bring businesses closer to the resources they need to grow, I’m going to tell you about some of the partners, collaborators, and supporters – the sponsors who’ve signed on to build the program and help businesses at all stages get what they need to thrive.

I had a chance to meet most of these sponsors at the Entrepreneurs Rally on October 13th. You can read about the Rally here.

First, let’s meet the partners. Brenda and Dan Fay of BrenDaniel Productions Inc. provide project management and leadership training both through the Chamber and independently. The Dalhousie University Faculty of Management and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education have also signed on at this top sponsorship level.

Dan tells me that he and Brenda have a special understanding of what small businesses need, as small business owners themselves. For Dalhousie, being part of Grow Halifax is a way to strengthen ties with the business community and drive regional prosperity. Having alumni who’ve been nurtured by the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship showcased at events like the Entrepreneurs Rally is just one of many ways to do this. For the Province of Nova Scotia, Grow Halifax dovetails nicely with their programs and services that help workforces access training and give companies a more competitive edge.

Next, the collaborators. Tangent Strategies educates people about the art and science of selling. Caliper Canada supplies pre-employment, talent development, and team analysis services all over Canada. Nova Scotia Business Inc. – or NSBI – focuses on helping entrepreneurs build their businesses and get outside the province with their product or service. Symplicity Designs is a group of organizational designers who work with enterprises of all sizes to help them improve, innovate, and grow.

There are also many supporters of Grow Halifax. They include BDC, Coldwell Banker Supercity Realty, Cox & Palmer, Cushman & Wakefield Atlantic, Eastlink Business, Efficiency Nova Scotia, News 95.7, RBC, and Waterfront Development.

If you look at that list, it’s clear that a lot of different people, organizations, and companies believe in Grow Halifax – AND they bring major helping muscle with them. So if you need education, export advice, hiring support, an organizational overhaul, help leveraging capital, communications services, and a whole bunch of other stuff, Grow Halifax likely has a resource just for you.

My favourite quote of the night at the Rally comes from Peter Skakum, owner of Tangent Strategies: “When Grow Halifax was explained to me, I was immediately taken with it. It was like a piece of fine art. Some art you pass by, some it just sort of reaches out and grabs you and you know it’s a piece you want to have. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

If I had to identify a thread that runs through every conversation I’ve had about Grow Halifax – with sponsors, participants, and Chamber members – it’s this: We all need a hand sometimes, and we’ve all given a hand to somebody else. Grow Halifax is a way to leverage something we’re already really good at in Halifax: Lifting each other up.

So relax. You’re among friends. 

Erin Elaine Casey is a writer, editor, and writing coach living and working in Halifax. Her passion for clear communication helps you refine your message and connect with your customers and clients online, on paper, and in person.