Nova Scotia is known for lobster, blueberries, and the stunning Cabot Trail…
But did you know Nova Scotia also has a growing population and some unique business opportunities?
Major Industries in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s economy has traditionally been resource-based, consisting of fishing, coal mining, paper, mining, and agriculture. In the past several decades, offshore oil and gas has also contributed to the economy.
Newer industries in Nova Scotia include defence and aerospace, filmmaking, and information & communication technology.
Rounding out the province’s industries is tourism, which contributes over $2.5 billion to the provincial economy.
Best Business to Start in Nova Scotia: 11 Promising Industries
In addition to the traditional industries mentioned above, Nova Scotia has 11 priority sectors that build on the province’s existing strengths and are promoted by the provincial government:
These industries take advantage of the labour force’s existing skill set, the knowledge base of local universities, as well as funding programs offered by the provincial government.
If you’re thinking about starting a manufacturing business (especially one that’s focused on exports), these 11 industries are an excellent place to start.
If you’re thinking about starting a services business, consider how you can serve existing businesses that operate in these industries.
How to Start a Business in Nova Scotia: Step-by-Step Instructions
1. Brainstorm the basics:
2. Understand government requirements:
3. Write a business plan
A good business plan will give you a clear vision of the path you need to take to start and grow your business. Elements of a good business plan include a description of your:
4. Get funding
Start-ups need money!
Besides looking for a traditional bank loan, there are hundreds of government funding programs that you may qualify for. Check out our round-ups of the best funding programs:
5. Find business advice and support
Mentors and professionals such as accountants and lawyers can provide invaluable advice on the steps to set up your business and the mistakes to avoid.
Small Business Grants Nova Scotia: 10 Top Grants to Start & Grow Your Nova Scotia Business
Our database of financial incentives for Nova Scotia businesses in the largest, most complete on the market. Here is just a small sample of the incentives available right now:
Start-Up Grants for Nova Scotia Businesses
Business Grants for Women in Nova Scotia
Women entrepreneurs have lots of places to find support for their start-ups or growing businesses. Click here for a list of grants for women entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada.
Grants for Black Business Owners in Nova Scotia
There are also many federal and provincial programs available to black Nova Scotians to start and grow a business. Here are some grants for black entrepreneurs.
Small Business Loans Nova Scotia: 5 Loan Programs to Start & Grow Your Nova Scotia Business
Sometimes a loan is the quickest and easiest way to get funding to start or grow a business. Even better, there are low-interest (and no-interest) loans available to Nova Scotia entrepreneurs. Here are a few of the best loan programs:
Business for Sale Nova Scotia: Business Opportunities in Nova Scotia
Once you’ve decided the industry you’d like to enter, how do you get started?
One option is to buy an existing NS business. While it will cost you more upfront than starting a business from scratch, buying a business will get you up and running faster.
There a several places to find a business for sale in Nova Scotia:
Online Business Marketplaces
An online business marketplace is basically an online classified ads website specifically for businesses. The most popular businesses-for-sale websites include the following:
Real Estate Brokerages
More and more real estate brokerages are adding businesses for sale to existing inventory of homes for sale. Here are some online brokerage sites to check out:
Online Classifieds (For Sale by Owner)
Business owners who don’t want to pay a commission will often advertise on classified ads sites. Here are the most popular:
A business broker is the equivalent of a real estate agent – they act as a middleman between buyers and sellers.
The benefits of using a business broker to buy a business include:
Here are some top Nova Scotia business brokers to check out:
Business Licenses in Nova Scotia
Depending on the industry you’ll be operating in, you might need specific licenses and permits to run a business in Nova Scotia.
You can find out which NS business licenses and permits you need from the following websites:
Business Insurance in Nova Scotia
Insurance for a business in Nova Scotia might seem like a boring topic, but it’s critical for avoiding financial ruin (who hasn’t heard about a small business being sued when a customer slips on the ice outside their premises?).
While the Nova Scotia government does not require most businesses to have insurance, there are several types of insurance that are recommended to protect your business:
Business Taxes in Nova Scotia
Business tax is an important and complicated topic, and we recommend you seek the help of a professional to sort through it.
Here are some resources to get you started:
Current corporation tax rate in Nova Scotia: 2.5% – 14%.
Nova Scotia Business Immigration
To learn more about how to migrate to Nova Scotia as an entrepreneur, read our guide to Nova Scotia Business Immigration.
Small Business Resources in Nova Scotia
There are lots of support resources for small businesses in Nova Scotia. Here are some of the best ones: