(St. John’s: 02 June 2014) As Ocean Technology companies in Newfoundland and Labrador continue to excel in foreign markets, they occasionally face expansion and retention issues domestically. Thanks to a collaboration between OceansAdvance and the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development (IBRD), companies can map a strategy to address and overcome inhibitors to growth and help strengthen the province’s ocean technology (OT) cluster at the same time.

IBRD, in collaboration with OceansAdvance, has issued an expression of interest inviting companies in the OT cluster to participate in an initiative aimed at facilitating the growth of existing companies in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) is an internationally-recognized economic development approach to fueling firm-level growth.  Running from June to September 2014, IBRD will work with 12 selected local businesses from the ocean technology cluster. As part of the process, owners and managers of those companies will be interviewed by an IBRD Economic Development Officer (EDO). The EDO will use a carefully planned diagnostic process to thoroughly examine each company’s business operations. The outcome for each company will be a complete business analysis highlighting issues that could be limiting retention and expansion.

Commenting on the program, Anthony Patterson, Chair of OceansAdvance and President and CEO of Virtual Marine Technology Inc. said, “We are delighted to collaborate with IBRD on this initiative. BR&E is a successful, highly innovative and award-winning program. By participating in this initiative, our member firms will be better equipped with the knowledge, tools and guidance they need to grow domestically and succeed globally.”

The BR&E initiative not only identifies issues, it maps solutions. This is a key part of the program says Barry Snow, OceansAdvance Executive Director “From experience, I know that the benefits that accrue to participants are significant, and we applaud IBRD’s focus on our local Ocean Technology sector.”  Business owners and managers  receive relevant data and information that facilitates their access to resources, programs and services that will help them address the limiting factors.

Once selected as clients of this service, each of the 12 businesses will receive:

  • One-on-one, on-site consultation sessions with the EDOs regarding marketing and sales, operations, finance and accounting, human resources, management and future plans.
  • A report provided by the EDOs including a prioritized action plan, developed in consultation with the business.
  • Follow up care, if required, by IBRD staff to provide an opportunity to the business to share ideas or feedback.

For more information on the Call  for Expressions of Interest CLICK HERE.

There is another broader benefit to this process too said Patterson. “While individual business confidentiality is protected, any common or thematic areas that could inhibit retention and expansion in the local ocean technology sector in general will be shared with OceansAdvance.”

Snow pointed out that targeting trends that limit the success of OT firms in this province has broader implications for OceansAdvance members.  He said that by using these insights, “OceansAdvance can develop policies and focused initiatives that lead to further diversification of our cluster.”  Snow said this new knowledge could help new and exitising firms grow faster and get the help they need when they need it. “That is why we encourage member firms of OceansAdvance to take advantage of the BR&E program. Not only will they find it valuable for their organization, but they may positively influence the growth and successes of our Ocean Technology innovation cluster.”    

Space is limited for this project–only 12 firms will be accepted. The anticipated start time is June 2014 running through until September 2014.

To Respond to the Call for Expression of Interest

For more information, please contact Shelly Petten, Economic Development Officer, Ocean Technology Branch, Innovation, Business and Rural Development at shellypetten@gov.nl.ca

or (709) 729-4208.

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