A who’s who of New Brunswick businesses were gathered in Saint John Thursday, and though they say jobs are coming to New Brunswick, that’s now that they were talking about.
Rather they were here to support the launching of a new initiative from Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB) aimed at spurring economic growth.
It’s called ONB Connects and it calls on businesses to mentor, generate connections and promote the province.
“Those that want to give back and offer their help, those that are looking for help and third, people that have an interest in just moving our province forward,” said Stephen Lund, C.E.O. of ONB.
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This initiative already has a few well-known names, like like Irving, Mccain, Ganong and McKenna, recruited.
Arthur and Jim Irving were among those at today’s event. Jim Irving says everyone has to do their part to make the province a success.
“Everybody working makes the load a lot easier and that’s what we all have to do,” said Irving.”You know we say the harder we work the luckier we get so we work hard every day and make out own luck.”
Luck hasn’t been on the province’s side of late.
The Picadilly Mine closure, SWN Resources essentially leaving the province and Repsol putting a hold on converting the LNG plant in Saint John to an export facility, are just a few of the blows to the province lately.
Lund says it’s not the time to sit back and say “Woe is us.”
“I’m not going to sugar coat it and say that ‘Oh my god where everything is rosy.’ We have a lot of work to do. Big projects are great when they happen and some of them I think will happen but a lot of it is in the trenches every day talking to companies.”
Former New Brunswick cabinet minister Aldea Landry says any negative publicity should be seen as a challenge.
“We can look at that opposition and say ‘Hey you’re not going to beat us…we’re going to win.’”
Aldry is now President of LANDAL Inc., a knowledge broker company.
Lund summed up the initiative by calling ONB Connects an ambassador program on steroids.
“We’re going to go hard, we’re going to go strong, we’re going to make connections, we’re going to help our companies grow, we’re going to bring new business here. Guaranteed,” he said.