Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Louise Blais and Guy Tessler, consultants at The Pendleton Group, and published as part of the firm’s annual partnership with Global Atlanta.
Historically, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have dominated Georgia’s trade relationships with Canada. But the eastern province of New Brunswick is quickly becoming a go-to partner for Southern U.S. companies. This is the direct result of investments made by the New Brunswick government through its economic development agency to help companies in multiple sectors focus on Georgia and the Southeast United States.
Opportunities New Brunswick (ONB) is focusing on the Southeast as a target market and, with The Pendleton Group’s help, is scheduling programs to introduce New Brunswick (NB) companies to regional partners, including in Atlanta.
As a member of the SEUS-CP alliance of Eastern Canadian provinces and Southeast U.S. states founded in 2007 under the leadership of then Governor Sonny Perdue and then-Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Craig Lesser, the team at ONB was already familiar with the region. Yet, it was during the first post-pandemic gathering of the alliance in 2022 in Savannah, Ga., that the New Brunswick team was struck by the rapid economic growth of the state.
Just as Atlanta has been developing various innovation industry clusters, New Brunswick is rapidly building a solid infrastructure around digital health, advanced manufacturing, agritech, cybersecurity, energy innovation and information and communications technology (ICT). The province is developing a reputation for its expertise in these and related industries, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and more.
Recognizing the complementarity and immense economic potential of a stronger partnership with one of the fastest-growing regions in North America, ONB identified the Southeast as a top priority and enlisted the assistance of the Pendleton Group to connect NB companies with Georgian enterprises.
Connecting New Brunswick and the Southeast U.S.
New Brunswick exported more than $166 million in goods and services to Georgia in 2022. The small Canadian province that shares a border with Maine is home to a mix of global brands like J.D. Irving Ltd. and McCain Foods Ltd. and has a thriving startup culture with access to low-cost manufacturing facilities and top talent.
The province’s smaller size is an asset that facilitates a close-knit, connected and agile community that helps businesses grow.
ONB, along with its federal and Atlantic Canadian partners, recently brought a cohort of high-growth ICT companies to Atlanta for the “Scale-up Hub Atlanta” program.
One New Brunswick company that participated in Scale-up Hub Atlanta in June, VeroSource Solutions Inc., is pursuing partnerships in the Atlanta area with the help of ONB and Pendleton.
VeroSource, which means “source of truth,” is a digital health company offering cloud-based solutions that give users access to their healthcare information, including medications, lab tests, exam records and diagnostics, as well as enabling healthcare data analytics. Beginning with a staff of eight, the company grew to 45 employees during the pandemic, as its success with moving data rapidly and securely increased exponentially.
VeroSource intends to expand its sales into the U.S., according to CEO Mark McAllister. He thinks Atlanta could be a great jumping-off point for the U.S. market because of the city’s advanced hospital and university networks, which he likened to NB’s networks that produce world-class talent in the healthcare technology space.
While in Atlanta, VeroSource toured the ATDC incubator at the Georgia Institute of Technology and saw synergies with multiple Georgia companies. “We got excellent feedback. We met a lot of people who were willing to talk and engage,” Mr. McAllister said.
He noted the same community-building spirit of cooperation, rather than competition, exists in Atlanta as in New Brunswick.
“VeroSource has fantastic products, but we can’t sell them with just billboards; we have to get connected in Atlanta’s ecosystem. When we visited, we felt welcomed and met decision-makers who seemed genuinely interested in building relationships with us,” Mr. McAllister said.
VeroSource will return to Atlanta in September to follow up with the companies they met in June. They will be available for additional meetings with other potential Georgia partners.
Building on this success, the agency is planning several upcoming events that will enable New Brunswick companies to further explore business opportunities in Atlanta:
- Launch Export: Early-stage NB exporters will come to Atlanta in September to connect with potential partners.
- Fintech South 2023: NB companies will participate in the Sept. 12-13 global financial technology summit at the Georgia World Congress Center.
- Next Generation Manufacturing: ONB is exploring bringing a delegation to attend the 12th annual Next Generation Manufacturing Signature Event on Oct. 19 in Atlanta. Participating NB companies will be available for meetings with potential Georgia partners.
Business cultures in the Southeast and New Brunswick are well aligned. Both regions value relationships and appreciate the art of developing connections. For ONB, the key to success is staying the course over the long term.
“By fostering stronger linkages between New Brunswick and Atlanta, we believe both jurisdictions will benefit,” said Steve Milbury, VP Business Development, ONB. “The capabilities of New Brunswick companies are second to none, and we are confident that our partners in Atlanta will soon recognize that.”
Efforts to make the previously little-known New Brunswick a brand of innovative excellence and top-of-mind for local companies are gaining momentum. In fact, the rest of Canada has recently taken note, and New Brunswick is now home to the single fastest-growing city in the country, Moncton. By presenting the friendly business culture and unique potential of the region to Georgia partners, New Brunswick has become a place to pay attention to.