© Wendy Elliott - kingscountynews.ca
Provincial Finance Minister Diana Whalen, right, had a budget discussion Monday with young entrepreneurs studying at the Acadia School of Business. Kings South MLA Keith Irving is to the left of the minister.
During her pre-budget engagement tour, provincial Finance and Treasury Board Minister Diana Whalen listened to some energetic young entrepreneurs at Acadia University.
On Monday Whalen said she wanted to hear the students’ thoughts on Nova Scotia’s business climate and economy leading up to the provincial budget.
Wesley Booth and Michelle Marcinkiewicz told Whalen about the business opportunities they had seized. Booth has a summer landscaping firm and Marcinkiewicz is a co-owner of Trail Flow Outdoor Adventures.
Jessy Gervais told the finance minister about volunteer work of the Acadia Entrepreneurship Association.
Kings South MLA Keith Irving said he had observed an increase in environmental and social consciousness among the student group.
Whalen said the students understand “that we need to be more innovative, we’re a little bit too cautionary.”
Taking a lead from the recent Ivany report, overseen by Acadia’s president Ray Ivany, Whalen said the government wants to foster small business as opposed to mega projects that can add one or two employees.
She said she tells her daughter, who is an Acadia music graduate, “that she’s a one-man business. More of us have to think that way.”
We want to promote the idea that young people can stay here and become part of the business community with innovation and partnerships, she added.
Irving said he understands the Valley has the lowest rate in the province of young business owners and he finds that puzzling when Acadia business student Alex MacLean launched his successful East Coast Living line of apparel here.
Whalen is touring the province and said she intends to continue the meetings following the spring budget to talk about its contents and discuss reaction with various stakeholders.
“I felt the budget affects more than just the business community,” she said. The notion of earlier budget discussions was one Whalen picked up at a national meeting of her peers across the country.
Whalen said feedback is focused on Nova Scotia's fiscal situation, demographic challenges, retirement security challenges, taxes, the business climate and youth retention.
She indicated these ongoing sessions are the start of a year-round, multi-year, transparent discussion about the province’s finances and how Nova Scotians engage with their government.
"A number of organizations and groups are traditionally consulted in the weeks leading up to a provincial budget," said Whalen.
Whalen’s discussions began Feb. 7 at Sydney Academy, where she spoke with high school students about how they envision their future.
Have your say
In the lead up to the budget, Whalen is encouraging Nova Scotians to be part of the conversation about the budget via:
- Website: http://novascotia.ca/finance
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/NSFinance
- Speaking to their local MLA
- Mail to Department of Finance and Treasury Board, P.O. Box 187, Halifax, N.S., B3J 2N3.