Contributors:

Mina Atia
Communications Coordinator

Halifax is known for being an affordable, mid-sized but major city on Canada’s east coast. It’s friendly, welcoming and enjoys a laidback atmosphere with a strong support-local mindset. Halifax offers a balanced lifestyle that is both relaxed and simple. When you want to escape the downtown hustle and bustle, the rest of the city or suburban life for an afternoon, you don’t need to go far.

With beautiful scenery, tons of green space, lakes, hiking trails, wilderness, clean air, ocean breeze and incredible beaches minutes away, Halifax delivers the best of both worlds!

In the past few years, Halifax has become a tourism and relocation destination with growing markets for business development and expansions. The city offers inclusive economic growth by continuously developing infrastructures for enterprises to start up, grow and prosper.

Businesses here are provided with opportunities to be globally competitive. They have access to global markets, highly skilled talent, and endless innovation opportunities, not to mention the cost-saving incentives. With a growing economy, a strong relationship to the environment and a booming social scene, business owners are choosing to move to Halifax to join its thriving business community.

Photographer feels welcomed with open arms

For Jay Fisher, when the pandemic hit and the event industry in lively Toronto came to a grinding halt, most in-person photography work followed suit.

“I realized there was very little keeping us where we were other than what had been an abundance of work,” says Fisher, Photographer, Designer and Owner of Capture It Photography. “My partner had always wanted to spend more time on the east coast, and I was ready for a big change.”

After discussing their situation and looking at different options, they packed up and headed east. It was a different lifestyle, having lived in Canada's biggest urban centre for a while. “We still wanted opportunities in events, arts and for my business to grow, but we also wanted a change of pace,” says Fisher who found Halifax to be a great compromise– –in the best way!

“Many people here have really made an effort to welcome us and make us feel a part of the community. They seem a little more open and willing to at least have that initial conversation,” says Fisher. “Also, we love being 15 minutes away from any number of lakes, forests and other natural beauty.”

Based out of Dartmouth, Fisher’s photography is his lifelong passion. He takes joy in capturing special moments and pride in presenting clients with cherished memories. When holding the lens, he aims to capture a snapshot that speaks, inspires, provokes and tells their story.

Capture It Photography was founded on Fisher’s photo-philosophy: “The person in the photo needs to look like the person walking in the room. More than that, the personality of the photo needs to scream ‘you!'

Fisher’s current business focus is headshots. He believes they’re a vibrant, dynamic glimpse into personalities. They portray personal brands, provide initial introductions, and tell your side of the story. He is becoming known as the "Headshot photographer for people who think they hate having their photo taken" instilling confidence and comfort in his prospective clients.

“I know many people hear ‘headshot,’ and their head goes in the sand, or the eyes get wide with fear,” he says. “But I’ve made it my goal to change that and bring back the fun, enjoyment, and empowerment that comes with owning it in front of the camera.”

Within a year of living on the East Coast, Fisher discovered a lot of potential in Nova Scotia. He's also currently donating a portion of headshot-session fees to Make a Wish, NS Chapter, to sort of give back to the community that welcomed him with open arms.

Yet, he feels some more forward looking thinking is needed.

“Moving forward and adapting is critical,” he says. “There needs to be some new thinking about infrastructure, housing, transportation and health care. Demand for products and services is increasing, and there's opportunity in having things more readily and quickly available, as with the larger centres.”

“But overall, we're very happy we made the move here. My partner and I both feel happier here than we have in a long time,” says Fisher. “There's more optimism and hope for building a new life for us, and I can't wait to see how Nova Scotia grows, develops and innovates in the next few years.”

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Jay Fisher of Capture IT Photography was hired by the HCC to capture its first in-person event, State of The Municipality with Premiere Iain Rankin, back in April. It was his first in-person event back to shooting since the lively Toronto scene shuttered

Automotive company seeks the East Coast for climate change action

Solutions Serafin is one of the leading pioneers in the vehicle electrification aftermarket based in Montreal. It’s actively collaborating with several North American and European manufacturers on a range of technologies to electrically propel vehicles.

The automotive market is shifting towards zero-emission vehicles, such as electrical, magnetic, hydrogen and solar. And Solutions Serafin’s goal of supporting the reduction of fossil-fuel consumption aligns with Halifax’s low-carbon emission targets. They naturally gravitated towards an East Coast expansion.

“One of our major focus points for the East Coast is to maintain clean growth and respond to climate change,” says Maser Ibrahim, Operations Manager Responsible for the Atlantic Canada Region at Solutions Serafin Inc. “Because our new business division specializes in the mass integration of electrification and transport automation, we are working to support the development of these technologies in Atlantic Canada,” says Ibrahim.

The automotive industry is going through a massive transformation. There is a shift from conventional drivelines to electric vehicles, which is putting pressure on transport fleet owners who need technical support. At the same time, fleet owners must also be prepared for the next generation of electric technology, requiring a high level of expertise.

“With the increasing demand in the region for these services, we are striving to continuously provide the best and fastest support for our customers,” says Ibrahim. The current situation in the auto industry has led to the expansion of a new Solutions Serafin branch located in Halifax, functioning as a regional hub for Atlantic Canada.

“Our objective is to be close to our customers and ensure we meet their needs,” he says. “Having a regional hub in Halifax will allow us to provide our customers with fast, efficient services, in addition to certain services like fleet monitoring, health checks and trainings are best performed in person by experts, while supporting them when they require assistance at any given moment.”

Solutions Serafin also offers complete technical solutions, including genuine spare parts and the corresponding technical support for customers from the truck, bus and off-highway applications. “We service transmissions, axles and beyond as well as representing brands such as ZF, Dana, NTN, Meritor and many more,” says Ibrahim.

Upon moving to Halifax for the new branch, Ibrahim discovered what makes his East Coast relocation even more special. He’s continuously in awe of the
the Atlantic Region, as he finds people more open to new ideas and ready to execute them. “They already come to us with a unique ‘let’s do’ attitude,” he says.

“And after the long period of lockdowns and setbacks due to the pandemic, I hope to see more networking opportunities, which would allow me to meet like-minded people to share Solutions Serafin’s expertise with,” says Ibrahim.

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Solutions Serafin is supporting the reduction of fossil-fuel consumption, which aligns with Halifax's low-carbon emission targets and made them naturally gravitate towards an east coast expansion

Global company chooses local culture

A financial technology company that provides simulated trading environments to its members, Funding Talent is one of the most highly respected forex prop firms in the world with over 8,000 members in 120 countries.

This very successful and well-established company had the opportunity to move anywhere in the world but chose Halifax as its home base. “The quality of the innovation culture and Halifax’s rich history have their appeals, because there’s an undercurrent of innovation that just keeps growing,” says Wade MacCallum, Vice President of Marketing, Funding Talent.

Started in December 2019 by Jessica Ghaney, a 26-year-old self-taught trader and influencer running the Instagram page Forex Tips 101, Funding Talent provides a simulated environment for traders to develop their skills.

“Because we're a global company, we're not necessarily held in one place like the Halifax market; but our Founder Jessica and her partner Anthony, the COO, are extremely loyal to the Maritimes and Halifax,” says MacCallum. “And that culture of innovation and excitement are hard to beat; I don't know of anywhere else in Canada that has that today.”

Recognized globally by many high-profile magazines including the Wall Street Journal, Ghaney has grown the company worldwide. It’s one of the fastest-growing proprietary firms that enjoys a gold standard in service and member support.

“The government and officials in power have really taken innovation on board 10 years ago and driven this to a place where Halifax now is one of the leading cities, not just in Canada but in North America, on the tech front,” he says. “Exciting organizations like Volta have really helped cultivate that culture too.”

When it comes to innovation and trying to go global, MacCallum believes some businesses are still struggling with the new technical side of doing business because individuals, boards and organizations have challenges keeping up.

“The drawback right now is the conflict between the old way of doing things and this new shift through innovations,” says MacCallum. “It's been interesting to watch how, in any period of transition, the traditional method of doing business sometimes goes against the new technical way of doing business.”

He hopes the government steps in by holding more integrated sessions to support those business with their growth and global expansions.

“The traditional way of doing business can learn a lot from being innovative and learning more about how to get your business on the internet, especially with e-commerce,” says MacCallum. “And Halifax could do a better job of integrating systems and making it worthwhile to both parties.”

Looking forward, Funding Talent is projecting to exceed 20,000 traders by the end of 2021. To continue providing the best solution for its members, the company needs to hire skillful talent.

“We can find talent quickly in Halifax, and world class talent at that everywhere from tech development to marketing and support,” says MacCallum.

Funding Talent is operating with only 43 employees, 28 of which are in Halifax, but is planning to add to the team by hiring up to 50 more by the end of this year. The company is taking over a large piece of real estate, building a new office right across from Alderney Landing, to allow for more sustainable growth and expansion.

“We're really, really happy to be here,” says MacCallum. “We love being a part of Halifax, and we're looking forward to being a bigger part of Halifax and Nova Scotia .”

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Projecting to exceed 20,000 traders by the end of 2021, Funding Talent is hiring up to 50 more employees to continue providing the best solution for its members.

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