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Business Advantages in PEI: An Interview with Premier Robert Ghiz

An exclusive interview with the Honourable Robert Ghiz, premier of Prince Edward Island, on the advantages of doing business on the Island and his government's plans for developing four high tech industries.

Business Advantages in PEI: An Interview with Premier Robert Ghiz Transcript


Q: Tell me Premier, what are you doing in Prince Edward Island to support small businesses?

A: we try to create a small business environment where our small businesses are able to thrive in our economy. We have done a number of things. We have the lowest small business tax rate in the country – I think we are at 1 %. We are also bringing in our HST which is going to be good for small business in the province. We try to do a lot to create the individual need for the employment. We work a lot with universities and colleges to be able to deliver programs that our small business and province are asking for.

Q: Give me your 30 second Elevator pitch. I am a small business, why should I go to PEI as opposed to any other province?

A: We have a great cost structure in PEI. It is cheaper to get space in PEI than it is anywhere else in the country. When it comes to doing business in PEI, employers have the lowest turnover rate in the country. Once you get a job in PEI, you are more likely to stay in that job than to move on. When it comes to setting up shop in our province you are able to sit down with the people to make this happen. For example, if you are looking to set up shop in PEI, you come in, you meet with the Premier, the minister of business development, a federal cabinet minister, the president of the university, the president of the college, all in one room so that we can adapt our programs to help them fit you. We are a great spot to do business, we’ve got some big companies there now and now it is just about selling our good story out there.

Q: It’s been said that there is not an innovation gap in Canada but a commercialization gap in Canada. Is PEI doing anything to help their companies commercialize like we have seen in New Brunswick which is kind of known for that?

A: Great Point. That is the next step we have to take. How do we get our products and how do we make them better so people can actually use them. We are doing that through our incentives that we have in place around building a bio-commons in our province for our bio-science industry so they are able to use one another and each other’s talents to help them find the products that they are going to be able to take to the market.

Q: Tell me about dealing with a seasonal business economy

A: We are always going to have seasonal industries. As long as agriculture and fisheries are still going – we hope that they are going to go for a long time and do extremely well. We need food on our table. We have to realize that those are industries that are extremely important. You can grow potatoes or catch lobsters in February so you need to be able to support those industries. What we are also trying to do is diversify our common. We have really picked four key sectors – aerospace, bio-science, IT and removable energy. 20 years ago, those sectors didn’t really exist in the province of PEI and in the last 20 years they have grown quite a bit – there will probably be at least 10,000 working in those sectors. The more we can get out and tell people about what we are offering in PEI and the business we have, the more opportunity there will be for growth. Still today, if you ask someone about PEI, they are going to say Anne of Green Gables, beaches, and potatoes and that is why I am here today trying to promote out province and letting them know how we are into the modern economy as well. 

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