Many small business owners travel a tough road to get from product development to marketing as they work to create a loyal customer base.
Sometimes for a new start-up business success is dependent on professional advice, particularly in the early stages of development, to set a solid foundation for future growth.
Recently, seven small to medium businesses in Colchester County were awarded productivity and innovation vouchers, or credit notes, for professional support and advice from Nova Scotia universities and colleges, as part of the province's Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program.
The program began in 2008 and since has provided similar assistance to more than 240 businessES. This year, 51 small businesses will benefit, 41 of which are first-time recipients.
Businesses cover a range of sectors, including industrial and consumer manufacturing, information and communication technologies, life sciences and agri-foods.
These Colchester County businesses are now entitled to $15,000 for advice and services from academic experts in areas such as applied research, engineering services, field testing, prototyping, product design and feasibility studies to help move a new product or service to market.
This is a huge boost for these local business people. Evan Price, president of FiddleHop Farms in Glenholme, was one of the voucher recipients. He plans to use the funds to work with a chemical biologist at St. Francis Xavier University, aiming to improve product quality, which could benefit the local microbrewery businesses.
This is one more example of how the program could boost our local economy.
Along with supporting business, however, the program also engages academic experts at universities and colleges.
Dalhousie University, including its agricultural campus in Truro, is one of the voucher program partners as is the Nova Scotia Community College.
This type of program is an excellent example of how industry and academia can work together to bring innovative ideas to fruition and build economic growth in the province.
These vouchers maximize opportunities by encouraging beneficial partnerships within the community and will aid business people as they explore new marketing opportunities, improve existing products and refine operations.