FREDERICTON'S CULTURE OF INNOVATION
Chapter 7 - Ignite Announces Innovative Initiative to drive Export & Startup Growth
As the steward of the community’s economic development strategy, Vision 2020, Ignite Fredericton reported the creation of 410 direct jobs (156 indirect) and 55 new startups since January 2015 at the Vision 2020 Progress Summit on June 8th.
Ignite also reported on key strategy deliverables including: the integration of Ignite Fredericton, Planet Hatch and Knowledge Park into one operational organization, driving the creation of an entrepreneurial hub, an investment attraction strategy and toolkit, new export acceleration program, and partnership with the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Business Administration program.
As part of the collaborative partnership with the University of New Brunswick, programming for the Activator programming will be incorporated into Planet Hatch enabling an experiential learning experience for the students.
Ignite Fredericton also launched its export acceleration program called Export Igniter. The Igniter will commence January 2017, and run as a 12-week program enabling export-ready companies to develop their export strategy to expand to new markets. This initiative is being executed in collaboration with UNB, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and OpportunitiesNB.
The Export Igniter is an innovative, new initiative designed to deliver comprehensive programming, mentorship and resources to export-ready companies to ensure operational readiness as they develop their market-entry strategy.
The program will be comprised of:
- An online self-diagnostic tool to assess export readiness;
- Three day bootcamp with programming presented by topical experts and stakeholders in the export realm;
- Ongoing mentorship from successful exporters; and
- Through the UNB partnership, the company will be teamed up with undergraduate students studying export to assist in development of their market entry strategy .
In a recent Ignite Fredericton blog, Investment Attraction & Growth Specialist, Adam Peabody, cited “2014-15 international trade, representing more than 60% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and approximately 1 in 5 Canadian jobs are linked to exports. It is estimated that without international trade, there would be 3.3 million fewer jobs in Canada and that the unemployment rate would jump to approximately 25%. It is safe to say that exporting is not only vitally important for employment in New Brunswick but across the nation.”
In addition to the positive employment impact, companies that export:
Stimulate Innovation - When selling in the competitive global marketplace, it is crucial to differentiate your product or service by continuous improvement / innovation. Exporters typically invest in research & development (R&D), which stimulates the knowledge sector and results in new partnerships and work opportunities at universities and research institutions. Often the new R&D can be replicated and applied across multiple industries.
Enhance the Workforce - Whether selling goods or services, most exporters require talent (high-value jobs) to develop their offerings, serve customers, establish global brand equity, and manage international regulations. Higher paying jobs result in increased economic spinoffs (new houses, vehicles, general consumer spending) in the local community.
Increase Global Brand Equity - Through global business networks, exporters are thus increasing not only the community brand but that of New Brunswick and Canada. This increased brand visibility can lead to attracting new investment, immigration, and tourism.
Support Economic Stability- Serving multiple geographic markets enables a business to better weather an economic downturn in one market. For example, a business only serving the Greek market would be harder hit with the Greek economic crisis than a company playing in several geographic markets. Also, the more exporters in a community, the less likely that community will face sudden layoffs, bankruptcies, or out-migration.
In summary, businesses that export have major economic impact: stimulating R&D, increasing global brand equity, creating high-value jobs, attracting talent, investment, and tourism.
With the impressive number of innovative companies coming out of the startup ecosystem in recent years, Ignite is focussed on nurturing their continued growth. By expanding our suite of services to include export acceleration, we anticipate significant job growth and return on investment.
In the coming months, Ignite Fredericton will be hosting information sessions about the Export Igniter, and opening the application process to export-ready companies. Stay tuned for more information.
Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS
Economic Development & Marketing Specialist
Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch