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Breakfast with P.E.I. premier event draws Summerside chamber members

Deb Calviello, executive director for CBDC Central on P.E.I., speaks at the Breakfast with the Premier event.
Deb Calviello, executive director for CBDC Central on P.E.I., speaks at the Breakfast with the Premier event Wednesday, Oct. 17. - Millicent McKay

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – The businesses may be small, but the impact is large.

That was the message Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Breakfast with the Premier event, hosted by the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce.

The event drew about 80 people, looking to discuss recent business development in the province with Premier Wade MacLauchlan.

“For the first year, roughly, that we were in government, we didn’t see much growth or increase in jobs. It was in mid-2016 that we began to see the pick-up in the P.E.I. economy.

“In 2016 and 2017, P.E.I. was third in the country, after B.C. and Ontario, for our growth,” said MacLauchlan. 

It’s interesting that, in that time, people said it was due to the electrical cable project in the Northumberland Strait, he added.

“And while that project was a big one, things have picked up. The Conference Board (of Canada) has P.E.I. projected to lead the country. And that has to do with an innovative economy, small business, job growth, leadership in the business community and more.”

The Conference Board is a not-for-profit think tank that analyzes economic trends, policy issues and organizational performances.

“There have been some big business moves in Summerside with a number of small, medium, large businesses coming to the area over the last number of years. And I think many believe it will breed success in the future.”
-Thane Smallwood

It’s about understanding the meaning of the Island’s growth, MacLauchlan said.

MacLauchlan explained a series of charts to attendees outlining the various increases and decreases of debt, population age, weekly income rates and full-time job growth.

“None of it happens by accident and it’s all very important that each of us in the business community understand what it means to have our balance sheet in good shape, our population getting younger, and know that the more people we can attract to come here or come back, the better are our chances of starting off the morning (positively).”

Chamber vice-president Thane Smallwood noted there are a lot of things happening within the business community of P.E.I.

“There is a lot of effort to grow the Island economy and certainly balance budgets. The efforts being put forward by businesses to take those risks and the opportunities to move forward, actions the government is taking, as well as organizations like the chamber, all marry together and hopefully will help the Island succeed in the long term.”

Smallwood says there is a “good” level of optimism among the business community when it comes to the Island’s economy.

“There have been some big business moves in Summerside with a number of small, medium, large businesses coming to the area over the last number of years. And I think many believe it will breed success in the future.”

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