Ben gave a brief review of his first year as MLA, noting it has been an interesting one and time has gone by quickly. He expressed thanks to the community for all of the support and engagement experienced this past year.
Ben continued with talk on successes and his role in engaging Nova Scotia businesses. A strong effort has been made In the community to circulate and attend various organizational meetings. A number of businesses have contacted him and asked for assistance in dealing with certain situations which has been discussed in meetings with various caucus members.
The Apprenticeship program initiative (which is an enhancement to the Credit Union Small Business program) was explained. The available amount of funds has doubled from what was previously available.
As the Business Association is working on a strategic plan, and working on a plan of betterment for the community, Ben assured the organization he is here to participate and would like to act as a resource and provide assistance wherever he can.
Ben explained that in the past there has been a previous lack of opportunity for younger people to access internship and co-op opportunities within this business community. He would like to see businesses come together and try new things which provide the business community with a service. This is in the infancy stages right now, but is a concerted effort that is being pursued
Some upcoming items involve the completion of the tax regulatory fee review (which is being conducted through finance) and is in the writing phase right now. Thanks expressed to the individuals that participated in the town hall meeting some months ago. Another ongoing matter is the initiation of the government accountability website. It is accessible now for viewing the information regarding investments of public funds.
Steven Moore from the Premier’s Office continued the presentation and explained how he gets to meet a lot of entrepeneurs and business owners in his role.
He continued with the explanation of three eligibility programs available to businesses (out of 36 available) through Economic Development and Tourism.
Small Business Loan
Some changes have been made to what was the Credit Union Small business loan program. Government increased the guarantee from 75 to 90%. Upon having completed a credit check, a business case study is completed (if help with this is needed, they work with the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council). A lot of support is provided from the beginning of the process to the completion. There has been tremendous success with this program accomplished thus far. In the 11 yrs of the program 9600 jobs have been created in the province. The Maximum guarantee you can get in this program is 500,000.
Small Business Development Program
This program will be transitioned to NSBI (Nova Scotia Business Incorporated). It is designed to help a small business get started or expand. This is done by funding of 50% of the start-up cost, to a maximum of $15,000 per year. This program involves having a Marketing strategy completed, and/or a plan to make the business more efficient, or an interest to expand a business operations outside of Nova Scotia.
Community Development and Investment Fund
CDIF is a way for businesses to access money. It must be a business that is based in Nova Scotia. When companies use this, it is easier to get money and encourages entrepreneurship in the area. CDIF is a security, and involved selling shares in a business. It was strongly advised to consult and check with the experts on this one. In his department there are two great experts that have helped businesses be successful through this program.
There is information on the Nova Scotia website for people considering starting a small business, which provides guidelines and questions involved that assist in the start up.
Ben concluded this presentation in expressing an invitation to business owners, or anyone with concerns, to come knock on his door and bring their matters and questions to him.
Doug Poulton commented that the Provincial Government needs to get more involved with and support “Local”. Ben’s reply explained a plan to facilitate an initiative (sometime during the next year) in which local businesses are invited to a forum where joint concerns and issues are discussed and brought to the table.
Brian Murray addressed that the government has been hiring a lot of civil servants and as such, more rules and regulations are in place governing small businesses making requests for changes very difficult. Brian noted that in Europe the Government is scaling back on rules and regulations for businesses to make it easier for people to start businesses and expand. Here in Nova Scotia it is becoming too difficult to get past the rules, when as one of the poorest provinces we need to promote growth.
Approval of May 22nd minutes:
MOTION: Doug Poulton motioned to accept the minutes of May 22nd as presented, seconded by Shaun MacIntyre . Carried
Additions to, Approval of Agenda:
MOTION: Shaun MacIntyre motioned to accept the agenda as presented, seconded by Doug Poulton . Carried
Brian reported that a lot of things were worked on during the summer Board of Director’s meetings, and provided an explanation. A meeting with the natives has been scheduled for the next morning (Friday), which is a positive thing for the business association, in building communications with the First Nations people.
Shaun reported in Anthony’s absence. Expenses incurred total $1,039.66, with our net income at $600.34. We currently have $218.34 in the bank.
MOTION: Doug Poulton motioned to accept the Treasurers Report as presented. Seconded by Deborah Fradley. Carried.
Directors Summer Meeting Follow-Up:–
Deb presented the current brochure that was prepared by Kohoot Media, with the explanation that this is the first version and the brochure will be further developed when the Strategic Plan is defined for the association.
Brian explained how this is an important requirement for the association, in defining where we are going, why we exist, etc. Shaun MacIntryre is overseeing this process
Shaun then explained how this is being dealt with over the course of two board meetings, with the first one having gone very well. The second meeting will deal with specific actions and initiatives that we want to focus on. We aim to have something to show the members at the next meeting in October.
Website/Social Media/Newsletter Update
Debbie gave a brief account of on-going communications with Kohoot media regarding the progression of the website, email accounts, and social media accounts for the Business Association. HPABA is developing a newsletter (currently in infancy stage) which will be going out on a regular basis. Members were asked for future material contributions, including useful and interesting information as well as celebratory items to share with the membership.
Brian explained that there are four advertising opportunities available to businesses on our HPABA website, for which we will have a draw tonight. Eligibility requires a paid membership renewal. These spots will be maintained until the spot is purchased, and then they will be withdrawn.
Membership Benefits Program Initiative * Parked
Although parked, this item was briefly explained by Brian and how it was initiated at the last Board Meeting.
Notices have been sent out, but Anthony is not present to discuss the current status of memberships.
Upcoming Meeting Presenters –
October – Marilyn Cummings, All Smiles Dental Hygiene Clinic
November – Matt Whitman
Reg Jones requested that members respond to the Secretary by email with concerns and items they would like Matt Whitman to address at his presentation in November.