Island Advance, an economic development initiative on Prince Edward Island, released a new study at Invest Atlantic on Wednesday that highlights the strengths of the province’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The key finding in the report is the remarkable “quality of place” in P.E.I. that makes it easy to connect with the right people and support programs, said a press release issued by Island Advance.
Island Advance, a province-wide initiative of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, commissioned the report to examine what’s in place now to support entrepreneurship and what could be improved. It assessed the Prince Edward Island entrepreneurial ecosystem inventory, and conducted gap analysis and baseline data collection.
“Island Advance commissioned the report to help lay the groundwork for a potential entrepreneurship strategy that would harness the ingenuity of Islanders,” Wayne Carew, Island Advance Advisory Board Chair, said in the statement. “We need strong entrepreneurs to grow our Island economy, to strengthen and support the existing primary industries, and develop new areas of growth where we, as an Island, can become a center of excellence.”
The study looked at the entrepreneurial ecosystem in general and by sector. P.E.I.’s entrepreneurial ecosystem shows strong momentum in information communications technology, bioscience, and value-added food, as well as early momentum in advanced manufacturing and clean tech.
The report calls for more focus and investment in entrepreneur development (mentoring, pitch training, incubators/accelerators); increased involvement from the private sector in developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem; better measurement tools to track progress; and defined leadership.
In addition, the report recommends increasing support and investment in specific sectors – such as the need for private sector champions and an industry association in the ICT sector, and additional infrastructure in the bioscience and food value-added sectors – to further accelerate growth and economic outcomes in those areas.
The Island Advance report recommends that a group be mandated to seek agreement from businesses and ecosystem support organizations on a common set of metrics that are easy to understand and compile, and can be communicated with impact. This common set of metrics over time would help guide future investments in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Businesses such as Sculpin Interactive, a division of videogame development company Other Ocean Group, attribute much of their success to the unique connectivity in the province.
“The willingness to collaborate among the various levels of government, educational institutions and industry allowed the environment necessary to build a globally competitive videogame hub,”said Other Ocean Head of Operations Deirdre Ayre in the Island Advance statement.
“P.E.I. is known throughout the country and beyond as a gem - a mini hotbed of highly skilled talent and this has not happened by accident. It has happened because champions and stakeholders sat down together and carried out a plan to build the pillars necessary to make P.E.I. relevant in the highly competitive videogame space.”
Alex MacBeath, the Managing Partner of Island Capital Partners, on Wednesday also announced a new initiative to amplify the connectivity on the Island. PEI Bridge is a new project to connect the Island business community with executives in other parts of the world who have links with the Island. These may include expats, grads of the Island’s educational institutions or people considering a move to P.E.I.
Invest Atlantic, the annual conference that brings together Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs and investors, began Wednesday in Charlottetown and continues today.