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.

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0 Responses to NSBI – A Good Model

  1. NB taxpayer says:

    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.

    Great post. Two question Dave, (if you have time): what is the private to public funding breakdown for NSBI? Secondly, are they required to submit their monthly expenditures like all other gov departmments? Sorry to grill you this am, but I’m curious…

  2. David Campbell says:

    From their 2006 Annual Report, it looks like they get about 55% or so directly from the NS government and the rest from stuff like interest on loans, gain on property sales, etc. They don’t seem to get any direct private sector funding. As for expenditures, I believe they are grilled annually by an open government committee on their expenses.

  3. NB taxpayer says:

    Thanks Dave.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I believe that a group like this is necessary in a small economy such as ours. I doubt if it could be formed from the current civil service but maybe an aggressive recruitment program could be utilised to staff it from inside or outside the province. If it were me in charge I would head hunt some of the current NSBI team. However, the government input has to remain negligible and this group should be judged and paid on their results. It would, of course, require some up front funding but I think it could be self financing before long.
    Of course, there would have to be a setting aside of the current Irving agenda whereby everything that is considered as worthwhile investment has to not clash with the interests of our ‘generous benefactors’.