(Originally published in Business Voice)
A city that is as attractive and diverse as the nature that surrounds us
By Paul Kent
A colleague recently said, “When people come to Halifax, they want to stay.” How true! The opportunity our unique size presents for work-life balance, our alluringly easy access to nature, creative culture, entrepreneurial spirit, deep academic and military roots and status as an economic hub distinguishes Halifax locally and internationally.
In our competitive world, the ability to tell our story to more people and in more places is a critical strategy to bolster and sustain growth. One part of achieving this success is linked to how we present ourselves.
Halifax’s five-year economic strategy clearly states a need for the city to have an internationally recognized brand that reflects our best qualities and what we aspire to be. The Partnership broadly consulted businesses, academia, not-for-profits and government during the strategy’s development.
These sectors verified the need for a brand which better positions Halifax as competitive and successful in the global market for jobs, talent, investment and tourism. Work is underway on brand development through a joint effort of HRM and the Partnership. Look for public and stakeholder engagement this fall, with our expectation of the new brand being ready for review and approval by HRM Regional Council in early 2014.
Another key way to tell our story internationally is through strategic partnerships and trade missions. On July 30, 2013, the Consider Canada City Alliance (CCCA), an alliance of Canada’s 11 largest cities of which Halifax is one, signed an agreement with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade to support increased trade and investment between our two countries.
CCCA helps international companies determine best strategies for business expansion in Canada and improves our country’s ability to attract new investment and trade opportunities.The first major trade mission took place in May, 2012 with a follow up mission in April 2013 to Hong Kong, Shēnzhen and Beijing where Halifax gained a number of qualified leads which the Partnership is actively working.
Halifax is also a member of the World Energy Cities Partnership (WECP), an organization of cities that have a core focus on energy (oil, gas, and renewable). Halifax and Aberdeen, Scotland, are among the 18 international cities that are members of WECP. In early September, Mayor Savage met with the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, George Adam, to sign an MOU between the two cities to pursue opportunities of common interest. Signing took place at the Offshore Europe Conference in Aberdeen.
While nurturing international relationships and attracting new investment is key to growing Halifax’s economy, so is facilitating the growth of existing businesses. Many of us do not realize that more than 850 companies in Nova Scotia export products and services around the world. Nova Scotia Business Inc. helps Nova Scotia companies enter international markets. This fall there are trade missions to Aruba and Brazil with many more on the horizon.
Part of our international success and long-term economic growth is also linked to each of us being ambassadors for Halifax — promoting Halifax’s competitive advantages and sharing our affection for our city and region. The Partnership has developed a suite of materials to market Halifax as a location of choice for business and talent. Your business is welcome to use the industry profiles, videos, success stories and GIS tool found at whyhalifax.com or contact us for customized or more in-depth information.
Working in partnership and with a common purpose, we can build on our strengths and make Halifax a truly international city that is as attractive and diverse as the nature that surrounds us.