Contributors:

Patrick Sullivan, President & CEO, Halifax Chamber of Commerce

Startups and innovation are defining Halifax’s next generation.

When I first took this position at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, I knew I would be entering a community full of well-established businesses — in a city that’s more than 250 years old and full of organizations that have been around for just as long. What I did not expect was the new era that Halifax was entering, one that was filled with startups.

Over my time at the Chamber, the sheer number of startups that I’ve come face-to-face with has surpassed my expectations. Each of them with their own mission and purpose and desire to grow their businesses. Many of these entrepreneurs got their start in larger organizations and now have stepped out on their own to take their idea and turn it into a reality.

Nova Scotia Community College prides itself on aiding students from a variety of backgrounds to develop these ideas from incubation to fruition. It’s compelling to see. You can catch a glimpse of some of their work on page 16 of this issue.

Dalhousie University’s Creative Destruction Lab is another excellent initiative that connects the most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in Atlantic Canada to mentor the most promising science and technology-based startups in the region through a ninemonth objective-based program. You can find more about their program on page 22.

I’m impressed by this type of collaboration happening at our post-secondary institutions and I encourage them and their many startups to keep going. From my perspective, if you keep at it, continue to grow your network and pivot accordingly, Halifax really will meet its full potential. As I write this President’s message, it comes merely days after learning of the passing of Ron Hanlon, the President and CEO of the Halifax Partnership. He was a leader in our city and knew what Halifax could become. Needless to say, the Halifax Chamber community is deeply saddened by his passing.

Ron regularly contributed to Chamber publications. Inspiring and encouraging our members to lift Halifax to its fullest potential. Ron’s last article can be found in our June issue of Business Voice and focused on the power of innovation and immigration.

Our thoughts and support go out to Ron’s family, his colleagues and many friends. We will not forget his passion and commitment to Halifax. I hope learning more about Ron will inspire each of you to do what you can to move his dream forward and never stop working towards a brighter tomorrow.

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