The power of innovation and immigration

The power of innovation and immigration

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Contributors:

Ron Hanlon, President & CEO, Halifax Partnership

Creating a vibrant city at a critical time

You can feel Halifax’s vibrancy and continuous growth all around us. Our residents, businesses and organizations are driven to succeed and evidence of their ambition, investment and hard work can be seen throughout Halifax.

In 2017, Halifax experienced another great year for population growth at 1.6 per cent, bringing our population to 431,700. Halifax’s GDP growth last year was 1.7 per cent — lower than the target of 2.9 per cent set out in Halifax’s Economic Growth Plan 2016-21, which means we are not growing fast enough to reach our five-year economic targets. Halifax is committed to becoming a region with a population of 550,000 and a GDP of $30 billion, to ensure our citizens enjoy the benefits of a robust economy.

Innovation and immigration are critical to Halifax’s growth and prosperity. Innovation — which means committing resources in the form of time, human resources and money to develop new products and services, or to find new ways to generate value — will be a catalyst to ensure our local businesses grow, especially if they have an eye to serving a global market. This increased productivity, alongside increased immigration, will fuel the prosperity we are striving for.

We are at a critical point in time, where all of our citizens, not-for-profits, corporations, academic institutions, risk capital and governments need to go all-in, so that we can reach our economic goals. It is integral that we all work together, passionately and collaboratively, to ensure the outcomes that we want. This includes more graduates staying here, more newcomers calling Halifax home, more local businesses growing and selling outside of our region, a thriving arts and culture scene, attractive job opportunities and supporting entrepreneurs.

With one of the highest concentrations of academic institutions in the country, we are connecting our students with local companies and providing them with opportunities to stay. We are also maximizing research and development assets at our post-secondary institutions by connecting them to businesses near and far to explore and develop new products, services and value with and for businesses.

At the Partnership, we will focus on strategies to be more inclusive of newcomers and young talent so we can become known as a welcoming place to live, work and study. One program addressing this is the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. Through this program, we will continue to work with business and post-secondary partners to support companies in finding the talent they need to grow.

Halifax’s Innovation District is also becoming a reality and exciting things are happening: the Volta expansion, COVE opening its doors, Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic, Dalhousie’s ideaHUB and Saint Mary’s University’s Entrepreneurship, Discovery and Innovation (EDI) Hub, to name a few. Funding for Atlantic Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is another great catalyst for innovation in our region.

New and viable product and business ideas attract funding, which in turn enables entrepreneurs to grow businesses and create jobs, which drives GDP — all of which is in line with the Halifax Partnership’s mandate to keep, grow and attract business, talent and investment.

If Halifax maximizes the power of innovation and immigration in an aligned effort to grow and prosper, we will all win.

We look forward to working with you toward a prosperous 2018-19.

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