Provincial government, meet Melanie. Melanie, meet the provincial government.
In the murky world of economic development we hear a whole lot about attract and retain - Lure businesses away from other places with financial incentives in the hopes that they stay here and hire a bunch of people, often for low wages. We also hear about extract and export - Bring back coal mining and export the coal because it doesn't meet our own environmental standards (true story). So, how about throwing a little love in the direction of the entrepreneurs that are already in this province? We can call it, Identify and Support. There's actually already a term for it. It's called Economic Gardening. Nurture what is in your own backyard.
I hear what you are saying. Yes, you are adorable and charming and we really love your little business, but you are too small for investment. Let's connect the dots between the importance of entrepreneurs to the future of Nova Scotia and the importance of supporting entrepreneurs in Nova Scotia.
Class, please pull out your dot to dot activity sheets.
Begin on dot number 1- Local businesses spend their money locally. They may be small, but one little sole proprietorship will hire a local accountant, a local printer and buy local supplies.
Proceed to dot number 2 - Local business owners own local homes, pay local property taxes, collect and pay HST, eat in local restaurants, and shop at local grocery stores.
Continue to dot number 3- Local business owners often have local children in local schools. They volunteer their time, donate to local charities and are invested in bettering their communities.
Drag your pencils to dot number 4- Local businesses attract tourists.
On to dot number 5- Small, local business owners do not have to be bribed to stay in Nova Scotia. They came for the life style and the beauty, not the economic incentives. When the going gets tough, they will try their damndest to tough it out.
Finish at dot number 6, -Supporting many small, local businesses that have already proven their ability and wish to grow is a much safer investment than pouring a lot of money into one large business that may very well high tail it out of the province when the incentives run dry. I don't know much about the financial world, but I think I have heard something about diversifying your investments. Please put down your pencils and look at your paper.
My, what a pretty picture you have drawn. It's a beautiful, healthy, local economy.
Did I convince you? If so, here's Melanie's web site. -Meversible Drop her a line. Tell her how the province of Nova Scotia would like to help her grow her business.
If you want to see how two hat makers battle each other to the death then click on this video and if you would like to read the article above, pick up a copy of this week's Lighthouse Now or subscribe online.