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  • Safe Harbour: Why investment in Nova Scotia is continuing during COVID-19

Safe Harbour: Why investment in Nova Scotia is continuing during COVID-19

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

There’s no sugar coating it. The global economy is in disorder and consumers, businesses, and governments are attempting to find new ways to do business.

But there are some safe harbours.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in March, many businesses have chosen to invest and create jobs here in Nova Scotia. These investments are the first signs of a change in the way businesses manage their workforces and investment decisions. They are also the first signs that Nova Scotia is well-positioned to attract foreign direct investment despite the chaos of COVID-19.

Invest where it makes sense

The decision to invest has always been about talent and costs. In 2020, however, there has been a major shift in how companies view their talent and cost equation. According to Gartner, “the location of talent is no longer geographically limited. New remote work norms mean talent is potentially available anywhere. As a result: the competition for talent changes radically. The options for acquiring higher quality and lower-cost talent are expanding. It’s easier to recruit diverse talent.”

As companies move from survival to adjusting to the new realities of business, they are moving to a new model, one based on virtual offices, remote working, and online collaboration.

Take Shopify for example. The company is experiencing tremendous growth and has adopted the work from home model as they move forward with recruitment. They have also been very strategic with recruitment and have worked with Nova Scotia Business Inc. to find talented workers with strong digital skills. 

It doesn’t end there. In the past few months, several companies, like Axis Capital and North Bay Solutions have chosen to invest and expand here because it makes sense for their business.

"Halifax provides a terrific environment for our Development Center due to the strong education system, excellent technical talent pool for employment candidates, favorable economic considerations and overall positive quality of life aspects for our future employees" - North Bay Solutions 

Selling Nova Scotia virtually

Investment attraction requires many touchpoints. Attracting a potential investor to expand in Nova Scotia has typically involved a lot of visits to international markets, face-to-face meetings, and site visits. For Nova Scotia, this is also an area where we’re at our strongest. Many businesses choose to invest here once they see first-hand our quality of life, the way we collaborate with one another, and our strong sense of community.

“When we started exploring cities for our HQ2, Halifax stood out immediately. It’s a city and community that is unmatched in Canada, with a thriving tech scene, world-class talent, and a business-friendly environment. For these reasons and more, Halifax was the perfect city for our HQ2 and a location where we can’t wait to grow our team.”  - Allen Lau, CEO & co-founder, Wattpad

Unfortunately, a lot has changed due to social distancing and travel restrictions. Face-to-face meetings are considerably more challenging and there are barriers to travel. Our new challenge as a province is to get together and find new ways to sell the province to the world.

In Nova Scotia, getting together and finding a way to solve a challenge is what we do best. NSBI team members and our government, academic, and business partners are working together (virtually) to come up with ways to connect with potential investors.

Some of the ideas, such as Zoom calls, are probably already familiar to you. But some of the other ideas, like using a virtual reality experience, are what we are really excited about. And we’re just getting started.

The bottom line

At the time of this article, global investment continues to change, and many companies are trying to decide what to do next.

When there’s change there’s always a challenge and an opportunity. Over the years, Nova Scotia has had great success in attracting new businesses, but there’s still lots of work to be done - especially in a changing digital environment.

Thanks to our talented workforce, our vibrant ecosystem, and our culture of collaboration and supporting each other, we are a safe harbour for investment and our team is ready to guide you through your next business decision in Nova Scotia. Contact us today to explore the advantages of doing business here.


Interested in Nova Scotia? Contact us today. At NSBI, we guide companies through the expansion process. From in-depth research, to connecting your company with business leaders and (virtual) site-visits, we offer a variety of resources to ensure Nova Scotia is the right choice.