At Digital Nova Scotia, we’re ending 2021 with our heads held high. Despite the continued impacts of the global pandemic, I’m very pleased to share that the last year has been one of unprecedented growth and positive impact for Digital Nova Scotia. Our digital community really stepped up and showed leadership and guidance over the last year, and thanks to that, many opportunities presented themselves.
Looking back on 2021, at Digital Nova Scotia we’ve more than doubled as a team to address our growing portfolio of programs and projects, and our membership base has grown by more than 20%, expanding our strong network of funding, industry, and community partners. As advocates of our sector, promoting our industry is a key component of what we do – and we promote it at every opportunity. This year through our various communications channels we’ve been able to get the word out about all the great things happening in our sector which resulted in an increase in our e-newsletter readership by over 55%, with 14,000 social media followers and almost 2 million social media impressions.
Over the last year, we’ve watched Nova Scotian companies grow beyond their three-year objectives. Our digital community has grown, global companies have set up centres for technology and innovation hubs, and we’ve seen our sector ready and willing to embrace new talent. Last year alone, our job portal at Digital Nova Scotia posted over 1,350 jobs in tech, and the demand for talent continues to grow. In order to help address this, we offered innovative programming designed to help individuals prepare for, and build a career in tech. Our Skills for Hire program, developed with our partner Bluedrop Learning Networks offered courses in web development, UX design, and cybersecurity to 270 participants and based on the success of the program and in collaboration with community and industry partners, we designed and launched the Get into It program. This exciting new initiative supports individuals who have traditionally faced barriers entering Nova Scotia’s tech sector, with digital and professional skills training at no cost.
We also offered 62 training opportunities to more than 2,300 people within our ecosystem, and our partner Infinitus Academy successfully continued to offer digital literacy training through the Tech Shy to Tech Savvy Program.
Through our various Digital Assistance Programs, DNS has been able to successfully connect Digital Service Providers across the province with almost 1,000 tourism and small businesses seeking help to build and/or enhance their online presence. These programs are truly a win/win, with local businesses receiving the digital expertise they need, and local digital service providers being hired and compensated for their services. Taking the burden off the shoulders of local businesses by connecting them with professionals can help businesses effectively connect with their customers, prospects, and other key stakeholders through an effective online presence.
Lastly, this year we delivered in partnership with the Discovery Centre, our Digital Discovery Camps that continue to increase exposure to digital technologies, and our sector for youth ages 9-14. This year throughout the province, we were able to offer a mix of in-person and virtual camps in Halifax, Spryfield, Bridgewater, Yarmouth, and Pictou County to 70 campers. The program is a one-of-a-kind experience, connecting youth to industry mentors to help build interest in our sector among our next generation of technology leaders. This year’s program was possible through our Gigabyte sponsor REDspace, Kilobyte sponsor Garvin Allen, Megabyte sponsor Lockheed Martin, Community sponsor NSCC as well as our partnerships with various community groups. Thank you to them!
It’s a privilege and great pleasure for each and every one of us on the DNS team to represent our sector, and the opportunity it affords us to engage in collaborative work with our valued members and with our other industry, community, and educational partners, backed by the tremendous support we receive from our Board of Directors.
Thank you for another tremendous year, and Happy Holidays from the DNS Team!
– Wayne Sumarah, CEO of Digital Nova Scotia