Sea Change: A startup awakening in Atlantic Canada

Jeffrey Larsens career trajectory is a common one where hes from: after growing up in Halifax, he moved away for university before starting his career in Toronto. About 10 years into his legal profession, once his 20s had passed, Larsen began plotting his Maritime return. I had really exciting work in Toronto; it was a positive experience, he says. But it wasnt where I wanted to be.

Like so many young people who leave the East Coastand so many, myself included, doLarsen, now the executive director of innovation and entrepreneurship at Dalhousie University, had always planned to come home. I wanted to be in a liveable place, he says. A place where you can, in a half an hour, be surfing, or in wine country or at your cottage.

He also wanted to be somewhere where he could have a fulfilling and lucrative careercriteria that, at first, were harder to achieve; criteria which drive many people from the east away in the first place.

Atlantic Canada has always struggled economically, its industries characterized by fits and startsminiature booms and busts in resource sectors like lumber, coal mining and steel production, hydropower harvesting and oil drilling. At first, Confederation and the Canadian National Railway were expected to open the region up to the markets and a new era of prosperity. The advent of internet, more than a century later, promised to do the same by eliminating physical distance between the region, the rest of Canada and the world. Those ideals never quite panne....

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