Opportunities NB (ONB) works with world-class companies both inside and outside New Brunswick to drive economic and workforce growth. The past year has been one of transition, with a new focus on government’s priority to energize the private sector.

As we prepare to enter our next fiscal year, it’s worth reflecting on what our team has accomplished over the past few months.

Navigating Red Tape

To support the ‘Energized Private Sector’ priority, ONB has led the implementation of the Business Navigators program. These Navigators provide one-on-one support to help entrepreneurs navigate the regulatory challenges associated with starting and operating a business in New Brunswick. In their first quarter, Business Navigators handled 77 cases.

Among those clients was Surface Float Inc. The Surface Float team had several questions: was their registration complete? Had they acquired all necessary licenses? Business Navigators worked with both SNB and the Department of Health to answer all questions – their case is closed, and the client is open as of February 2020!

Helping Companies Scale

Launched as an extension of ONB’s Business Growth portfolio, Scale Up Atlantic Canada brought a formalized approach to helping New Brunswick-based businesses reach their full potential. Led by the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship (TME) and created by Dan Isenberg of Babson College, Scale Up Atlantic’s first graduates saw incredible results. The cohort (13 companies) have seen $11 million in new revenues in the first year, created 116 new jobs, and created a 14% reduction in dependence on one major client.

“Scale Up Atlantic allowed us to make much-needed changes that we either didn’t see or saw but didn’t have enough time for. This program will open your eyes,” noted Bruce Gourley, Partner with The GAP Group.

Increased Investment in New Brunswick 

October saw HCL Technologies open its new office in Moncton, with plans to hire 300 employees over the next three years. Of its initial 50 workers, roughly 30 were new arrivals to the province from India. The HCL expansion directly supports objectives set out in both New Brunswick’s Population Growth Strategy and the Increase New Investments Initiative.

We hope to bring in a lot of talent from other parts of the world, so we can grow the talent pool in Moncton,” noted Senior Vice President Joelien Jose.

Whitby, Ontario’s 360insights opened its own new office Moncton in November. The company expects to have around 200 employees in Moncton within the first 18 months of operation. 360insights had considered Ottawa, Halifax, and other Canadian jurisdictions for this expansion before ultimately selecting New Brunswick.

We have a smaller team in the U.S. right now…and we’ve had some challenges recruiting the talent in that area, and so far, things have been very good in hiring here,” said CEO Jason Atkins.

Workforce Development

ONB’s Workforce Strategists continue to partner with clients, postsecondary institutions, and other groups to attract, retain, and repatriate the skilled workforce our province needs to prosper. Workforce Strategists supported the recruiting needs of 153 unique companies in Fiscal 2018–19.