Adaptation Needed: Innovating our Way to Success

A team of Western Nova Scotians are working to boost the region’s economy by increasing innovation-driven businesses.  Partnering with the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT REAP) is designed to grow community-supported businesses in the region.

Innovation is applying new processes, introducing new techniques, or establishing successful ideas to create new value for a product or service.

“Innovation is not new to rural Nova Scotians, we do it every time we find a solution,” says Western Team’s Champion, Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood, “Participating in the one-year REAP Nova Scotia will improve our understanding of the challenges and give us tools to use our innovative nature to grow the economy while keeping community at the center of the work.”

The made-for Nova Scotia MIT REAP Focus pilot program includes five regional teams across the province, all being supported by ONSIDE, One Nova Scotia, NSCC, the Province and ACOA.  Each regional team includes ten people from five groups, including entrepreneurs, businesspeople, investors, governments, and Universities and Community Colleges.  Each team will focus on their region’s needs, while also looking for opportunities to solve shared challenges across the province. For the rest of 2021, MIT professors will work directly with teams on solutions for overcoming economic challenges by building on our regional strengths.

Angélique LeBlanc, CEO for the Western REN and Team Western’s project manager points out that innovation is saving many businesses during COVID-19. “We are seeing many businesses increase their online presence or get creative with their service delivery. Post-pandemic recovery will be led by our current and future business community. We hope this process will fast track growth in our region.”

Starting on June 2, the Western Team will launch an online survey to get feedback on strengths and challenges faced by entrepreneurs. Engaging real businesspeople in the region, and hearing their stories, will be necessary to clearly understand and create strategies for overcoming the challenges to economic growth.

Members of the Team are:

  • Pam Mood – Mayor, Town of Yarmouth (Team Champion)
  • Angélique LeBlanc – CEO, Western REN (Project Manager)
  • Dr. Kenneth Deveau – VP of Academic Research, Université Sainte-Anne
  • Mary Thompson – Campus Principal, NSCC (Burridge, Digby, Shelburne)
  • Nick d’Eon – CFO, Scotia Harvest Inc
  • Angie Greene – Partner, Conrad Hurlburt, LeBlanc Inc
  • Natalie Smith – Director of Planning and Economic Development, Town of Yarmouth
  • Gilles Theriault – Managing Director, A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd
  • Doug Jones – CEO and Founder, IGNITE Atlantic
  • Rick Doucette – CEO, Coastal Financial Credit Union