Third phase of initiative will strengthen immigrant retention, engage early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs

News Release

Third phase of initiative will strengthen immigrant retention, engage early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs

June 30, 2017 – Charlottetown, PE – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Since 2014, a comprehensive support network for entrepreneurs in Prince Edward Island has been building. Thanks to leadership from private industry, community organizations, and government, Island businesses are better equipped to reach their next stage, with improved access to capital, mentorship programs, and increased networking and partnership opportunities. The Government of Canada wants to ensure that all key elements are in place for businesses in Atlantic Canada to innovate and compete in the global marketplace.

Sean Casey, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and the Honourable Heath MacDonald, PEI Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, today announced federal and provincial support for Phase III of the Island Advance initiative.

Through its Business Development Program (BDP), ACOA is supporting the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce (GCACC) with a $299,547 contribution towards the implementation of Island Advance Phase III. The Government of Prince Edward Island is also providing $228,000 to Island Advance through Innovation PEI and a further $50,000 through Island Investment Development Inc.

Island Advance is an initiative of the GCACC which seeks to engage entrepreneurs, immigrants, investors, business support organizations, government and educational institutions in PEI to celebrate, support and encourage entrepreneurship throughout the Island. Phases I and II enhanced private sector leadership in the program, established a youth entrepreneurship symposium, strengthened immigration and retention supports, showcased successful local businesses, and increased access to capital, including the development of a new early-stage venture capital fund, Island Capital Partners. Phase III will see a further alignment of resources, increased measurement tools for success, and widened collaboration with partners in Atlantic Canada.



“We have a great legacy on PEI of successful, supportive business people. It’s been gratifying to see the successes Island Advance has had, building upon this groundwork, and furthering a culture of entrepreneurship. Our communities are stronger and more resilient thanks to this Island-wide initiative, as residents are better able to develop their skills and ideas in their home province, and newcomers make deep, lasting connections here.” 

  • Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown

“Prince Edward Island’s ambitious, innovative, hard-working entrepreneurs form the backbone of our economy. It’s very important that the province help create the conditions for entrepreneurs to be successful, such as supporting initiatives that provide advice, mentorship, networking, and partnership opportunities. The support offered by Island Advance is also assisting new immigrants who are interested in starting a business. We are optimistic that this kind of support will help improve immigrant retention rates while helping to grow our economy in the years ahead.” 

  • The Honourable Heath MacDonald, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism

“Island Advance is a vehicle for the private sector to show leadership and take action in three areas critical for growing PEI’s economy: entrepreneurship, immigration, and capital. We greatly appreciate this continued support from the federal and provincial governments. It allows Island Advance to tell PEI’s success stories, promote entrepreneurship to youth, and facilitate connections between investors, entrepreneurs, and immigrants.” 

  • Wayne Carew, Chair, Island Advance Advisory Board


Chris Brooks
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Andrew Sprague
Senior Communications Officer
Department of Economic Development and Tourism

Patti Devine
Project Director
Island Advance




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