When it comes to starting a business, rural areas often provide unique advantages that urban centers simply cannot match. Nova Scotia, with its scenic landscapes and close-knit communities, offers a multitude of reasons to consider its rural locations for your entrepreneurial journey. In this post, we explore the top 10 reasons why rural Nova Scotia stands out as the best place to start and grow your business. 

1. Lower cost of living

Setting up shop in rural Nova Scotia comes with the distinct advantage of a lower cost of living compared to urban areas. Here, you can stretch your business budget further, allowing you to invest in essential resources, talent, and marketing efforts without breaking the bank. This advantage translates into a higher chance of long-term sustainability and growth for your business.

2. Skilled workforce

Nova Scotia boasts a highly skilled and educated workforce. The province is home to more than 10 universities and 13 community college campuses that nurture talent across various fields. In fact, Nova Scotia has more university students and graduates per capita each year than anywhere else in Canada. With a diverse pool of motivated individuals ready to contribute their skills and expertise, you’ll be able to find capable professionals to join your team. What’s more, with less competition for skilled professionals than urban centers, attracting and retaining top talent becomes more feasible.

3. Strong sense of community

The warmth and hospitality found in rural Nova Scotia are unparalleled. A sense of community is deeply ingrained in the local culture, creating a supportive and collaborative environment for businesses to flourish. Whether it’s through networking events, mentorship programs, or partnerships with local organizations, entrepreneurs are met with open arms and a willingness to help them succeed. Moreover, rural living provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs to not only experience a strong support system but also to stand out and make a lasting impact. In a small community, your presence and contributions are not lost in the crowd.

4. Natural beauty

Nova Scotia truly is Canada’s ocean playground – it even says so on our license plates! With more than 13,000 kilometers of stunning coastline, Nova Scotia provides easy access to stunning beaches, coastal trails, and exhilarating paddling adventures right at your doorstep. The serenity of nature not only enhances your work and living environment, but also serves as a draw for tourists and visitors. By capitalizing on the natural beauty, your business can tap into a unique selling point that sets it apart from urban competitors.

5. Innovative spirit

Don’t let the rural setting fool you – Nova Scotia is a hub of innovation. The province fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging new ideas and business ventures. From technological advancements to sustainable practices, rural Nova Scotia is at the forefront of innovative solutions. By starting your business here, you’ll be part of a vibrant ecosystem that thrives on ingenuity.

6. Community organizations

Beyond business, rural Nova Scotia is a hub of vibrant community organizations. From volunteer opportunities to arts, culture, and social events, there’s always something exciting happening. Engaging with these vibrant community organizations allows you to unlock a world of engaging opportunities, forge meaningful connections, and find inspiration that goes beyond your business.

7. Proximity to major markets

While rural, Nova Scotia’s strategic location ensures that major markets are within reach. The province is well-connected to major transportation hubs, enabling efficient access to global markets through air, land, and sea routes. Nova Scotia is two hours closer geographically by air to Europe than any other North American destination, and closer to New York and Boston than it is to any other major Canadian city. And with ports scattered throughout the entire province, businesses using shipping take advantage of being only a day’s sail to New York, which means Nova Scotia is an entire day’s sail closer to major markets in northern Europe than any other mainland North American port.

8. Diverse economy

Nova Scotia boasts a diverse economy that thrives on multiple industries. From traditional sectors like agriculture, fisheries, and toursim to emerging industries such as renewable energy and technology, the province offers an array of opportunities for entrepreneurs. This economic diversity provides ample room for collaboration, cross-industry partnerships, and market expansion. By establishing your business in rural Nova Scotia, you’ll tap into this diverse ecosystem and benefit from its resilience and adaptability.

9. Business supports

Rural Nova Scotia is home to a vibrant network of community organizations dedicated to supporting local businesses. Chambers of commerce, business associations, and industry-specific groups collaborate to provide resources, networking opportunities, and mentorship programs. At IGNITE, we aim to create a culture of innovation by engaging youth, communities, startups and industries to find solutions and create opportunities. With our partner organizations we host events, programs, and projects to help anyone learn the fundamentals of starting a business, how to use technology to grow your business, and where to find resources to help you transition your businesses. We welcome & encourage everyone to explore how they can make change possible in a rural community. 

10. Growing population

As Nova Scotia’s population surpasses 1 million, rural areas are experiencing a steady increase in population, with people seeking a fulfilling lifestyle away from the bustle of urban centers. This growth creates a thriving consumer market and expands the talent pool available for your business. By establishing your presence early in this evolving landscape, you position your business to capture the growing demand and secure a competitive advantage.

At IGNITE, we encourage everyone to explore how they can make change possible in a rural community by engaging youth, communities, entrepreneurs, and industry. Looking to start or grow your business in rural Nova Scotia? Visit our IGNITE Residency page to learn more about how IGNITE can help.

You can also check out our Events page to find out more about our upcoming programming.

Photo credits: @daveyandsky