4Front Atlantic Conference

4Front Atlantic Conference

May 14, 2013 07:00 ET

Time for Action: Third Instalment of 4Front Atlantic Conference Set for May 30th in Halifax

- Five working groups to present action plan to enhance regional prosperity and solicit input from Atlantic Canadians

- His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and Dominic Barton, Worldwide Managing Director, McKinsey & Company among keynote speakers

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - May 14, 2013) - The third instalment of the 4Front Atlantic Conference (www.4frontatlantic.com) will take place on May 30th, 2013 in Halifax, bringing together over 200 Canadian business and thought leaders to advance actions that will help Atlantic Canadian companies and the region succeed in a challenging global economy.

"4Front Atlantic is about mobilizing for change and positioning Atlantic Canada as a leader in navigating the new global economic landscape," said Kevin Lynch, Vice-Chair, BMO Financial Group. "This year's instalment will focus on how we will move forward in unchartered waters with private sector led actions, drawing on ideas and feedback collected throughout the three years of the conference series."

Hosted by BMO Financial Group and McInnes Cooper, the 4Front Atlantic Conference is a critical undertaking to ensure Atlantic Canada businesses take concrete actions to leverage their competitive advantages, develop new markets, and enhance the value of their products and services.

"Conference participants will be asked to review and commit to actions and strategies to seize the best growth opportunities for the region, opportunities that will benefit all Atlantic Canadians," said George Cooper, Counsel, McInnes Cooper and President of the University of King's College. "This is a time for action," added Mr. Cooper whose shared vision with Kevin Lynch led to the establishment of the 4Front Atlantic Conference.

Stellar Speakers

This year's discussions will be moderated by Peter Mansbridge, Chief Correspondent, CBC News and Anchor of The National, and will feature prominent speakers, including:

  • His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada
  • John Bragg, President and Co-CEO, Oxford Frozen Foods Limited
  • Dominic Barton, Worldwide Managing Director, McKinsey & Company
  • Richard Florizone, President Designate, Dalhousie University
  • George Cooper, President of the University of King's College and Counsel, McInnes Cooper
  • Kevin Lynch, Vice-Chair, BMO Financial Group
  • John Risley, Director & Co-Founder, Clearwater Fine Foods Inc.
  • Ian Thompson, Associate Publisher, The Chronicle Herald
  • Karen Oldfield, President and CEO, Halifax Port Authority

4Front Working Groups

Five working groups, made up of business leaders, were established after the 2012 conference to develop action items aimed at leveraging Atlantic Canada's competitive advantages, developing new markets, and enhancing the value of the products and services that regional companies sell abroad.

Each group has a specific area of focus, and was chaired by a regional thought leader representing a variety of regional perspectives and sectors from small, medium and large enterprises:

  • Talent: Mark Sherman, General Manager, Refining, Irving Oil
  • Innovation & Productivity: Stephen Hartlen, Assistant Vice President (Industry Relations) and executive director of the Industry Liaison and Innovation Office
  • Going Global: Ian Smith, CEO Clearwater Seafoods Ltd.
  • Access to Capital: Gerry Pond, Chairman, Mariner Partners Inc.
  • Government: Cathy Bennett, President of Bennett Group of Companies.

The analysis and recommendations of the five working groups form the basis of "4Front Atlantic Conference: Issues, Recommendations and an Action Plan," the call to action that will be the focal point of this year's Conference and the path beyond.

The working groups have set the following five year targets for enhancing regional prosperity:

  1. Raise the proportion of economic immigration (0.21%) to at least the national share (0.45%), as defined by the percentage of Canada's population in the region.
  2. Double the percentage of Atlantic Canadian SMEs doing business globally.
  3. Increase business R&D and innovation spending to at least the national average helping to close the Atlantic Canadian productivity gap with the rest of Canada.
  4. Double the number of high technology start-up companies in Atlantic Canada.
  5. Triple the value of trade exports to emerging economies.
  6. Triple the number of interns, co-ops and apprentices in Atlantic Canadian business.

A preliminary version of their plan will be released on May 22, and the public will be encouraged to review, and share their ideas and input prior to the 4Front Conference on May 30.

While the conference is full, there are opportunities to join the conversation through live-stream at www.4frontatlantic.com, or by following Twitter.com/4Front Atlantic.

For more information on the 4Front Atlantic Conference, including past speakers, outcomes and the 2013 conference agenda, visit www.4frontatlantic.com.

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