NSBI – A Good Model

Some of you might accuse me of a conflict of interest because I have done some consulting work with NSBI. Fair enough but I have worked with over 30 different economic development agencies and studied numerous more.

And I believe that Nova Scotia Business Inc. is one of the best models I have seen as a lean, successful, focused economic development group.

Yesterday the organization launched it’s new five year plan:

Nova Scotia Business Inc. set a new target of creating and retaining $800 million in total payroll by 2012 and said it wanted to reach a goal of $1 billion by 2013. “The first five years was all about creating jobs. Now it’s really about creating the right types of jobs,” CEO Stephen Lund told an audience in Dartmouth.

Why do I like NSBI?

-Highly professional team. Their leadership team looks good in a room full of corporate executives. Some ED organizations look out of place, and even frumpy, when dealing with potential investors to their community.

-Lean team. NSBI’s budget is comparatively low and the functions the organization provides are quite tight. I am not a fan of economic development organizations (as I have said before) that claim to do a thousand different things on a budget of nine dollars.

-Ex New Brunswickers. A good chunk of the leadership team at NSBI are originally from New Brunswick. I think that this region’s economic development groups should attract talent from as far afield as possible. There are good ideas in New Zealand. In Ireland. Hiring only people from Minto or Sussex is so 1970.

-Limited government intervention. Now, let’s be frank, it’s funded by government so there is goverment involvement. But there is a private sector dominated board of directors and a leadership team with considerable private sector experience.