CONNECTING NEW ISLANDERS TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY
Immigrant entrepreneurs, skilled workers bring an abundance of experience, resources and access to new markets that are enormously beneficial to the provincial economy. However, they are challenged by a lack of familiarity with the local business and work environment, and the absence of professional networks. A welcoming support system is needed to help them succeed in business in PEI.
On the Island, skilled workers and immigrant entrepreneurs access this support through PEI Connectors, where they are introduced to established business professionals who help familiarize them with local business community. Known as “connectors”, they volunteer their time to provide knowledge, access and contacts to clients who are launching, purchasing and/or investing in businesses in PEI.
MEET OUR CONNECTORS
Garima Mishra, Scrum Master at Maximus Canada DeltaWare Division
Garima says PEI Connectors is a valuable source of help for newcomers, particularly when it comes to job-searching. “Finding a job is a critical part of settlement. For me, it was the main concern. To have people who can provide direction and share experiences on how to secure work is really helpful.”
Lee McKinley, Manager of People Development at Biovectra
Having experienced the other side of the program, Lee is no stranger to the challenges that newcomers face. “It can be difficult to crack into a market when you’re a newcomer,” she says, “but it’s nice to be able to share my experience with people and assure them that it will happen.” Lee always encourages newcomers to put themselves out there, noting that networking and community involvement helps people get to know you beyond your resume. “You really have to work on making connections and getting your name out there … That can make all the difference.”
She’s witnessed the benefit of connections first-hand having previously connected a client with their current employer. “It’s a great feeling to help facilitate that and to see the program come full circle.”
Vivan Beer, Manager of HR Strategy at PEI BioAlliance
As a driving force for the bioscience sector, PEI BioAlliance continues to generate jobs for Islanders. With a range of opportunities available, Vivian Beer, Manager of HR Strategy at PEI BioAlliance, says it’s important to know what talent is coming into the province. Since becoming a Connector, Vivian has connected with newcomers of all different backgrounds, ages and levels of experience. She helps newcomers tap into job opportunities while connecting Island companies with the talent they need.
Acknowledging the power of networks on PEI, Vivian says “whether you’re moving from another country or another province, PEI has a unique culture … being part of a network gives you more familiarity with opportunities and how to approach them.”
Vivian often meets with PEI Connector clients to help them gain a better understanding of the bioscience sector and the companies within it. “I encourage them to ask any questions they may not want to ask potential employers. That gives them more confidence because they have a better understanding of the industry and companies they’re applying to.” Vivian has found that networking ultimately helps increase newcomer’s comfort level which can be key to landing opportunities – something that benefits both companies and new Islanders.
Steve Reaman, Business Development Officer at Innovation PE
Be A Connector: A-OK Gardens and Papa Joes Story
Can You Be A Connector?
Connectors can be anyone with real work experience who are willing to share their knowledge. They could be the person you share a wall with or sit next to at lunch. They could be you or me. Whether you have a few years’ experience or are an executive, you have the potential to be a Connector.
As a Connector, what benefits
will you enjoy?
- Access to the newest talent group of skilled workers in the local community
- Satisfaction of opening doors and helping people succeed
- Pre-qualified candidates for reduced risk when hiring new employees
How does it work for Connectors?
- You meet with our clients – skilled workers, graduates, immigrant entrepreneurs
- You listen, ask questions and share knowledge of current market demands and the skills required in your field
- After the meeting, you provide them with other industry contacts
- You provide honest feedback to the clients through a PEI Connector Program Officers
- Our clients follow-up with Connectors and begin to develop their own personal network
Connecting new Islanders to the Business community
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their goals through PEI Connectors
at Cox & Palmer
Charity Hogan serves as a volunteer connector to make starting a business in PEI as easy and stress-free as possible for newcomers. As an associate with Cox & Palmer, she provides immigrant entrepreneurs with licensing information and other legal requirements related to their businesses. This reduces the likelihood of regulatory business interruptions in the future. “Being available to answer questions and advise entrepreneurs on their business endeavours helps to relieve some of the stress associated with starting a new company,” she said.
at Fitzpatrick & Co
When Jamie Arsenault, a partner with Fitzpatrick & Co., meets with PEI Connectors clients, he spends a lot of time discussing filing requirements, deadlines and general taxation issues, to help them gain some understanding and comfort with the Canadian system. “They’re coming to a new country and having to learn a whole new system,” he notes. “Things that we take for granted as common knowledge are completely new to them.”
Connector General Manager
at the Construction
Association of PEI
According to Sam Sanderson, general manager of the Construction Association of PEI, volunteering as a connector has helped him grow and diversify his organization. This has led to partnerships and opportunities, for current and new members. “It has allowed me to open up the world to PEI, and the construction industry locally,” he said. “It also allows us to search for that next group of skilled people for our sector.”