Building North-South Business Bridges

Nunavut is Canada’s fastest growing economy, offering many opportunities for growth through linkage with businesses across Canada. While headlines have focused on mineral and other non-renewable resources, many other sectors offer significant opportunities for those prepared to make a meaningful, informed, and sustained effort to enter this exciting marketplace.

Two provinces, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador, recognized these opportunities, and us to help identify and develop potential linkages between their respective governments and businesses and those in Nunavut.


Understanding Nunavut

We began by designing and delivering a series of workshops exploring the facets of Nunavut that make its economy unique – its key sectors, the relative isolation of Nunavut’s communities and their dependence on air and sea links, the limited infrastructure in key areas like broadband capacity, housing and power, and other issues. We also introduced the Territory’s complex governance structure, characterized by a territorial government in the midst of devolution exercises, and shaped by the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Nunavut Act.

Our team presented the “Doing Business in Nunavut” workshop to entrepreneurs and government officials in Halifax and St. John’s, creating considerable interest and much discussion of potential joint ventures, new partnerships, and the delivery of products and services to a new and exciting market.

The next step was development of plans for market entry for each of the provinces A “Strategic Entry Plan for Nunavut” was prepared for Nova Scotia on behalf of Nova Scotia Business Incorporated (NSBI) and Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA); the “Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Nunavut Engagement Strategy” was written for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (GNL), Departments of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development’s Ocean Technology and Arctic Opportunities Branch. Using these strategies to guide their market entry, both regions began making contact with various businesses and organizations in Nunavut.


Making Connections

Both strategies strongly encouraged participation by the provinces in Nunavut-based tradeshows, including Iqaluit’s Nunavut Tradeshow and Conference (NTC) and the Northern Lights Tradeshow and Conference (NLTC) in Ottawa. Delegations from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland/Labrador attended both shows, with NVision providing an orientation to the community and the event; introducing delegates to key participants, decision makers and potential business partners; setting up meetings; providing ongoing business and cultural advice; and helping to structure initial agreements, many of which have led to successful partnerships.

One of the first outcomes was a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Government of Nunavut, resulting in several specific initiatives. For example, Nova Scotia’s MacGregor Industrial Group, following a successful contract with Qulliq Energy Corporation, announced a partnership with the Sanikiluaq Development Corporation to establish an industrial supply business in Iqaluit.

Moving Forward

Building on that foundation, networking between the governments and businesses has continued and expanded with the support of NVision, most recently through a business development tour for Nunavut officials and organizations to St. Johns to establish connections and identify opportunities. An initial Industry Advisory Committee meeting for the MOU, chaired by NVision, began the process of moving the strategies forward, for the long-term benefit of businesses, communities and organizations in Nunavut and across the Maritimes.