PEI

PEI Network plans to link newcomers, graduates and employers

The PEI Network — a social program where newcomers to PEI and recent graduates are matched with established business people and workplaces — launched Wednesday in Charlottetown.

'It's the social side of business,' says manager of new networking program

Alana Walsh (right) program manager with PEI Network and Riley Aiello intern at Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce. (Karen Mair/CBC )

The PEI Network — a social program where newcomers to PEI and recent graduates are matched with established business people and workplaces — launched Wednesday in Charlottetown.

"It would be great if this was around when I was starting my first business as a recent grad … to have people introduce me to new people and new ideas and ultimately get new business." said P.E.I.'s Minister of Economic Development Chris Palmer.

Alana Walsh, the program manager for the PEI Network, said it will be her job take the sting out of cold calls through thoughtful targeted connections.

"It's the social side of business. When we're young or new to an area there's a piece that's missing — I don't know anybody, who do I talk to?" she explained.

She said there will be no cost to sign up, and hopes it will help employers connect with talent. To participate, you have to have a diploma or degree and must be able to speak English.

'Jobs through connections'

"Coming from somewhere else I've been able to make contacts and start to build my career," said Reilly Aiello, a business student at Holland College originally from Peterborough, Ont., who is currently doing his internship with the Charlottetown Chamber and PEI Network.

"With PEI Network I can keep generating more contacts."

"I'm hoping to meet mentors in my field and get advice," said Ama Lawson, a recent UPEI chemistry grad.

Lawson is from Nigeria, where she said finding work is very different.

Ama Lawson is a recent UPEI chemistry grad. The Nigerian hopes PEI Network will help her make connections in industry in P.E.I. (Karen Mair/CBC )

"In Canada if you have something to offer, you can prove yourself. In Nigeria you only get jobs through connections," she said.

PEI Network received $40,000 from the PEI Department of Economic Development and Tourism and $60,000 from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to help it launch.

The PEI Network is an offshoot of the Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce Connector Program. It is also partner to the National Connector Program, which has 21 other networks across Canada and the U.S.

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