Nova Scotia

Cashing in on big projects touted at N.S. workshop

About 70 businesses hoping to cash in on energy megaprojects and the federal shipbuilding contract are mulling over suggestions made at a workshop in Halifax.
The Irving-owned Halifax Shipyard won the bulk of the federal shipbuilding contract last year and many local businesses are now looking for a piece of the pie. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

About 70 businesses hoping to cash in on energy megaprojects and the federal shipbuilding contract are mulling over suggestions made at a workshop in Halifax.

Tuesday's workshop at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel was the first in a series organized by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, in partnership with law firm McInnes Cooper.

Representatives from dozens of small and medium-sized local businesses were given advice on how to win part of the billions of dollars of business expected to flow from the federal shipbuilding contracts, hydroelectric projects and offshore oil and gas exploration.

Cyril Meagher, who employs 30 people making circuit boards at Allendale Electronics Ltd. in Lockeport, said he'll go to every session he can for the prospect of becoming even the lowest supplier to a subcontractor.

"We do electronic assembly so we want to know who we can talk to, to be able to approach — maybe put a part on one of these ships or one of these other projects," he said Tuesday.

Meagher said his company's best lead on shipbuilding work may be tied to Industry Canada's industrial and regional benefits policy, which requires companies that build ships' components offshore to spend the same amount of money in Canada.

Ann Janega, the Nova Scotia vice-president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will advocate for companies in the region while Industry Canada has the final say.

"We heard the importance of getting to know your ACOA representative for regional benefits," Janega said of the workshop.

"That person needs to know your capacity so that he can present you to the prime contractors who have the big deals."

The second session will focus on safety and is scheduled for April 25.

Three additional workshops are planned over the coming months and are expected to cover other topics including financing and certification.

Janega said one of the goals of the workshop is to encourage businesses to look for opportunities not only on the megaprojects themselves, but in related construction and other development.

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