It’s not every day that you get to present your ideas to the premier of the province. But Premier Stephen McNeil was front and centre when international business students at NSCC’s Truro Campus presented their class projects on Now or Never, the One Nova Scotia Commission report on the future of Nova Scotia’s economy.
“It was pretty amazing the premier wanted to hear our ideas and pretty cool to actually present them to him,” says Pierre Almeida, a second-year international business student.
Students from two classes – contemporary business issues and international business – applied their learning to address the issues facing Nova Scotia’s economy. The premier, along with Education Minister Karen Casey and Mark Austin from the office of the One Nova Scotia Commission, travelled to the campus to hear what students had to say.
“I have a lot of ideas about exporting and the trade opportunities Nova Scotia has through our ports and our international airport,” says Pierre, who is hoping to stay and work in Nova Scotia after graduating. “If it weren’t for this class, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to speak directly to the leaders of the province. I think we need to work as a team to make Nova Scotia better. I really see myself as part of this and it taught me that I can be heard and I need to stay connected to the issues and share my ideas.”
Pierre’s group explored the possibility that Nova Scotia could become a Singapore 2.0. They talked about the similarity between the economic benefits to Singapore as the entry point of trade into Asia and Nova Scotia as the gateway to North America. The idea impressed the premier, who noted that such innovative thinking will help the province grow.
“We were a little nervous, but we learned a lot about the economy and about presenting our ideas,” says Lisa Fraser, a second-year business administration student.
Lisa’s group presented their ideas about helping business develop in Nova Scotia, including building more partnerships between government and business, as well as with individuals. They also looked at more mentorship programs for new entrepreneurs and succession programs for retiring business owners.
“I had my own cleaning business for two years, but had to close it because of costs,” says Lisa. “I want to stay here and eventually open my own accounting firm and we need to have an environment that encourages others to do the same.”
Fonda Smyth, the instructor for both business classes, knew this project would be a great learning experience. “There’s no better way to get interested and passionate about something than to get your hands dirty and work with it,” she explains. “This makes it important and meaningful in your life and that’s how I feel we try to teach people at NSCC.”
It seems Premier McNeil agrees.
“To ensure a strong future, we need to change our attitude and not be afraid to stick our chin out with new ideas and maybe take a whack now and then,” he said following the presentations.
“Your ideas really hit on the report and it was very inspiring to see. We need to use your passion, find that in everyone, and use it to help our province grow. Seeing you all today, I know we can.”