Island newcomers get chance to connect with rural businesses

Some Island newcomers recently got a first-hand look at the business potential in rural P.E.I. 

P.E.I. Connectors organizes bus tours taking newcomers across the province

Newcomers visited rural Island businesses such as Rossignol Winery to get a better sense of P.E.I. entrepreneurship. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Some Island newcomers recently got a first-hand look at the business potential in rural P.E.I. 

Business development bus tours are organized by P.E.I Connectors and the goal is to help newcomers find opportunities and inspiration from rural Island businesses -- and maybe start one of their own, says project director, Nicole Bellefleur.

"We want them to know that there are a number of businesses that are thriving in rural P.E.I."

P.E.I. Connectors is an initiative of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the program is to facilitate connections between immigrant entrepreneurs and the P.E.I. business community.

On Wednesday a bus full of 50 participants visited successful Island businesses in Eastern P.E.I. such as Vanco Farms and Rossignol Winery, Bellefleur said.

"We had a wait-list of 58 clients in addition to that so there's a lot of interest in learning what's beyond Charlottetown."

Bellefleur said people are keen to see what's possible every time they organize a tour.

Pankaj Shah was on the P.E.I. Connectors bus tour. He says he moved to P.E.I. from India to expand a software company he works for. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Pankaj Shah was on the tour and moved from India to Charlottetown about two-and-a-half months ago, he said.

"We came here to start a company here."

He said he is attempting to expand a software company that has already been in India for 20 years.

"We are specializing in robotics, we came here to start a company or expand the business here in North America through P.E.I."

He said the company has already started and has already got its first order while being here and the reason Shah is on the tour is to gain knowledge about the culture.

"We want to understand the Canadian culture and Canadian people and Canadian industry."

Shah said he saw potential uses for robotics while on the tour. He said a company such as Vanco Farms could benefit from increased automation. 

Bellefleur said P.E.I. Connectors does five tours each year across the Island and a different group will be in Western P.E.I. next week. 

More P.E.I. News

With files from Laura Meader


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