Nfld. & Labrador

Regional economic development board survives funding cuts

The Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board has devised a plan to generate its own income.

The Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board has found a way to survive recent funding cuts.

Federal and provincial governments yanked funding from 20 regional economic development boards in Newfoundland and Labrador about a year ago.

Christine Snow, the board's executive director, said they had time to devise a plan.

"They gave us a year to transition out of [the] reliance on their particular funding," she said.

Snow said the board has found a way to generate its own income. It has developed a website, with a focus on helping newcomers settle.

The website, which highlights what the region has to offer, will sell ad space.

"Part of what we're doing for revenue generation is advertising," Snow said.

"So we're going out to our local business community, and we're promoting ourselves as: 'This is a new market, we're working to welcome them, they have questions, they need advice and suggestions.'"

The board will also help companies who bring in workers from around the globe. "What we're saying is that we can help in the settlement process for your new employees, so that they can focus on the work and we can focus on helping them settle," said Snow.

Leonard Lian, an engineering student from China, said this will help keep him and others here in the region.

"So it's very helpful for the newcomers," he said.

Snow said the board's next step is a name change.

"The regional economic development board name comes with some baggage," she said.

"We've talked to a lot of people, and the first response that you get is, 'I thought you were closing.' We want to get past that," said Snow.