***As an incentive, all completed responses will be entered into a draw of two, $250 prizes! The draw will take place on November 16th.***

Building an Economic Future for Nova Scotia

"Making Shift Happen"


  • Answering the critical question: What needs to happen for Phillip, aged 24 years, and Elena, aged 31 years, to see a viable economic future for them to

In order to build a dynamic economic future for Nova Scotia, we need a deliberate and focused strategy that is built to coordinate our efforts and our strongest shared resources – our people.

Free of political and business agendas, there needs to be a collective vision and strategy, easily communicated and understood, that balances the tension between the need for short-term action with the benefit of long-term focus.

We propose developing a simple, coordinated and actionable economic development strategy for the Province from the unique perspective of young Nova Scotians - those aged 22 to 39 years. Why? These creative, committed and brilliant young people are the ones who will live in that economic future. They should really have the strongest voice in shaping what we are working to build. No other future planning has focused solely on this demographic.

The result of our initiative will be a concise working strategy that illuminates the answers to why young people will stay, come back, or move to Nova Scotia. The strategy will have the energy, optimism and openness of youth to create and capture the opportunity for Nova Scotia. It will also provide a detailed framework for people, in both the private and public sectors, to take tailor-made initiatives forward in a coordinated action, with the power to retain, return and welcome youth to the province.

How do we build a dynamic economic future for Nova Scotia? This is a wicked problem with complicated options and no simple answers. So, let’s bring in the crowd to gain perspective and ensure insights come from people in Shelburne, Amherst, Glace Bay, and all other areas of the province. When the answer is unclear, we want to be open to all possible input.

To clear the fog and see the brighter future that is possible for Nova Scotia, we will invest in these actions to gain the best possible outcome:

  • We will crowdsource the strategy via questionnaire to better address the wicked problem of turning the economy of Nova Scotia around – rather than closed-off committees and focus groups, people everywhere will be able to freely  share their unique ideas in support of the future of this province. Data from the questionnaire will provide context to the present challenges and possible opportunities. 

  • The strategy will be developed from the perspective of young Nova Scotians only, aged 22 to 39 years. We need youth to see a future here and in order to make that happen they need to be involved in its development.

  • There are no government, academic or business agendas here. We aim to facilitate the discussion only. This project comes with no strings attached – no concern about constituents, the next term in office, or financial opportunities for organizations. This initiative is truly multi-partisan.

  • The shaping of the strategic vision and focus will be developed from a Group of 20 young Nova Scotians, with diverse backgrounds. From the crowdsourced results of the questionnaire, this group of 20 will develop a deliberate and inspired framework for the future.

  • The Saltwire Network will be publishing the results of this initiative on an ongoing basis. With a platform for discussion and the largest distribution network of any media organization in Atlantic Canada, The Saltwire Network is the perfect meeting place for Nova Scotians from all corners of the province.


The Process:

The initiative will approach economic development for Nova Scotia based on a purposeful vision, wrapped in a business model (basically how the province can operate to create and deliver value for targeted audiences and then capture that value through economic growth), and takes action through a focused and cohesive strategy to achieve a bigger future.

The project will be facilitated by Michael DeVenney, founder of Bluteau DeVenney and Company, and, yes, he is young at heart although not in years. But Michael’s role is to make the project happen coordinating the steps of initiative and facilitating the discussion to develop the strategy,  not to be part of it.

We have constructed a questionnaire that accesses opinions on working values, lifestyle objectives, thoughts on the assets and trends for creating a competitive position for Nova Scotia, and where focus is needed to highlight the growth of our Province.

The questionnaire will be distributed through social media and online channels to gain as much coverage and participation as possible. The data from the questionnaire will be private and confidential. Data will then be organized for analysis.

The Group of 20 will have the opportunity to consider the data, add their own experiences, and craft a short and focused vision and strategy for building a dynamic economic future that they want to be a part of. The results will be published and the conversation and action will start.


Why are we doing this?

Driving to Windsor on a sunny Sunday morning, a story was playing out on the radio. Residents in a quiet community were alarmed and frightened by a sharp increase in physical assaults happening at night on a popular park pathway. Many people used this route. But as night fell, the area became dark – and now dangerous. People voiced the need for lights to brighten the path and deter crime. The answer from the local leadership was that a committee would need to be formed to study the problem, assess the liabilities of installing lights, discuss the responsibilities for the project, and on and on. Meanwhile, people would continue to be at risk. One caller to the program simply relayed that someone over the prior weekend had gone to a local hardware store, purchased a set of outdoor lights, and with the help of an electrician friend, installed the lights on the pathway. As the caller said, ‘someone just needed to put the lights up.”

Since the release of the Now or Never: An Urgent Call for Action for Nova Scotians report there have been committees and talk, all with good intent, although right now we feel someone should just put the lights up.

The young people of Nova Scotia matter, from students to professionals to entrepreneurs and all those playing in the ‘gig economy’. They are the future of our Province. It is time we heard their voice loud and clear.

We hope you take time to participate in the questionnaire and read on to see what shape the future takes.

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