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  • Writer's pictureThe Varanda Network

On The Varanda | A Business Newsletter

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

Issue n.3 | September 2019


I'm Bernadette and this is my happy place, on the varanda… welcome! The word varanda is Portuguese, just like me. As with the English definition of veranda, a varanda is seen as a point of entry, a place to gather, relax and balance our lives. This is our varanda, open to all, to share news, to collaborate for growth and celebrate our successes together...but this is not your grandfather's newsletter; so, grab a drink, put your feet up and enjoy! Oh, and let us know what you think and what you'd like to see next month


Our Story

Our Story is Our People and Our People are Our Purpose. Get to know our Creative Director

Zoe Bell-Smith in her own words..

I think I’ve always been creatively minded and enjoy being a little different from the rest. In kindergarten everyone had brought in pumpkins to carve for Halloween, of course, as you would expect for most 5-year-olds. Each pumpkin was carved with a face complete with triangle eyes and wobbly teeth. Not me. My pumpkin was carved with just my name, ZOE, in large bubble letters. My teacher, ever supportive, told my mum that I was someone who “marched to the beat of my own drum”.

By middle school, I began expressing my creativity through my clothing and hair colours - so many hair colours. The desire to express myself creatively followed me into high school where I spent a lot of time in the art room being exposed to different forms of art.

Singing was another creative outlet for me for a good part of my childhood. I got involved in the school musicals and sang in school choirs which gave me some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life and brought me to many wonderful places meeting other students from all over the world. Not many people can say they got to sing in the Parliament building in Ottawa, the Duomo in Venice (which is practically unheard of), the Canadian War Memorial in Rome or for families of Holocaust survivors at Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial in Germany.

After high school I focused my creative energy at UNB Fredericton and the College of Craft and Design in Media Studies and Graphic Design. That brings me to present day. After a period of searching for work, a little company with a big heart known as The Varanda Network took a chance on me and here I am today. Utilizing my design and media skills I've been able to create a social media presence for our business , update our website and create multiple marketing flyers as well as outsourcing my skills to help develop the brands of other small businesses around the city. I feel so lucky to be working with such wonderful people and for a company that values diversity and uniqueness.


Market of The Month: Slovakia

This Issue we are featuring the market of the home country of our Project Manager , Denisa Prdova, as curated by her.

Canada-Slovakia bilateral diplomatic relations go back to 1920 when Czechoslovakia first appointed a consular agent in Montréal. Since then, Canada and Slovakia have signed treaties that cover social security, the avoidance of double taxation, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the promotion and protection of investment, youth mobility and much more. A number of Canadian companies have recognized the rich investment potential in Slovakia from Colliers International to Corinex Group, Windsor Machine & Stamping and others.

As the history goes, Slovakia’s economy suffered from a slow start in the first years after its separation from the Czech Republic in 1993, due to the country’s authoritarian leadership and high levels of corruption. But economic reforms implemented after 1998 have placed Slovakia on a path of strong growth. In 2006, Slovakia reached the highest economic growth among the members of OECD and the third highest in the EU (just behind Estonia and Latvia). Market reforms made the Slovak Republic one of Europe’s rising economic stars. It entered the European Union and NATO in 2004 and the eurozone in 2009. 

The country’s favourable location in the heart of Europe, steadily growing infrastructure, large selection of industrial land and offices available for purchase or lease, harmonized investment incentives and high innovation potential for R&D projects makes Slovakia an ideal investment destination.

According to the latest OECD Economic Outlook, released earlier this year, Slovakia is set to become the fastest growing developed economy in the world in 2019 and 2020. Real GDP growth reached 4.1% in 2018, which was one of the fastest growth rates among all EU countries with anticipated growth of approximately 3.8% in 2019.

Currently the best investment opportunities are observed in sectors of R&D, Design & Innovation, Technology centres, ICT & SW development, BPO - Regional headquarters, High-tech sectors and Tourism centres. Additional opportunities can be found in traditionally strong sectors with the growth potential like; Machinery & Precision Engineering, Automotive, Metallurgy & Metal processing, Electronics and Chemistry & Pharmacy.

Since 2007, Slovakia has been the world’s largest producer of cars per capita. Only last year, well over one million cars were manufactured. Imports from Slovakia are dominated by Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche Sports Utility Vehicles that are manufactured at the Volkswagenplant in Bratislava. The country is using its short, but robust, automotive history to push innovation too. One of its most advanced tech startups, AeroMobil, recently attracted major Chinese and Israeli investment to launch its 4.0 version of a flying car.

Even though Slovakia is a small country it is also home to many highly interesting companies boasting of a world-wide presence like ESET (software company known for its highly-reliable anti-virus technologies such as the NOD32, Smart Security or their smartphone security software), Slovnaft (Refinery, refines nearly 6 million tonnes of crude oil per year and produces a wide variety of motor fuels, oils and other petrochemical products), Golden Pheasant (Brewery) and Sygic (world-famous online GPS navigation system).

Also few interesting companies to remember from the world stage of Start-ups. Specter Hockey was selected for premier early-stage startup accelerator program, MassChallenge Boston and Danubia Nanotech won first place in this year’s InnoEnergy’s PowerUp! competition from over 300 start-ups from 24 countries across Central-Eastern Europe.

Like other post-Soviet countries, Slovakia has been highly dependent on energy imports from Russia. However, the energy mix is beginning to diversify, with balanced representation of coal, nuclear, natural gas and a slowly rising share of renewable energy sources. Just recently Slovakia approved a new national environmental strategy, ‘Greener Slovakia’, covering the protection of water, biodiversity, climate change and air protection, as well as the green economy. The country recently voted in favour of EU plans for a 2050 zero-carbon goal, despite its nearest neighbors blocking the initiative. It’s, therefore, no surprise that Slovakia ranked in the top 10 biggest risers in terms of perceptions of Environmental Friendliness over the last 5 years.

The uptick in the nation’s brand perception has been seen in rates of tourism too. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Slovakia is one of the top 20 fastest growing tourism destinations and experienced a record number of tourists in 2017, surpassing the number of citizens in the country itself (5.435 million).

By any measure, it has been a remarkable year in this small Central European nation as lawyer and anti-corruption candidate Zuzana Caputova won Slovakia's presidential election, making her the country's first female head of state. Ms Caputova gained national prominence as a lawyer when she led a case against an illegal landfill lasting 14 years. Her campaign to close the site earned her a prestigious Goldman Environmental prize in 2016, along with the nickname "Erin Brockovich of Slovakia." She hopes her victory will inspire women in Slovakia and the wider region to enter politics, which remains heavily male-dominated.

In Canada, representing President Caputova, we are fortunate to have His Excellency, Vit Koziak, Ambassador of Slovakia, celebrating one year in Canada and eager to meet Canadian companies looking to establish a presence in Slovakia or to partner with Slovakian companies.


Individuals Who Measure Up

We think these people are pretty awesome and we want you to know how awesome they are too!

Congratulations to veteran investor and General Partner of Halifax-based venture capital firm Build Ventures, Rob Barbara, the first Atlantic Canadian selected by Kauffman Fellows for Class 24, a two-year program that brings together innovative minds in venture capital.

Normally we're talking about the great stuff Faisal Kazi does as President and CEO of Siemens Canada, and all around good human, but this month we're shouting out about our newest Canadian citizen and how happy we are to have him with us! Welcome and Bienvenue Faisal!

Melissa May, a Canadian realism painter from New Brunswick has had her art chosen to be part of ony 17 other works from around the world to be auctioned off for the Jane Goodall Institute, a global organization that focuses on the research and conservation of wildlife and their habitats. Way to go Melissa! Happy 85th Dr.Jane Goodall... you really measure up too!

The Order of New Brunswick named their 10 recipients and one of them was our friend Robyn Tingley "for her extraordinary achievements in leadership and her commitment to women's equality in New Brunswick." We are proud of you Robyn! As a company working with Indigenous communities, we are also sending a special shout-out to Chief Patricia Bernard of Madawaska Maliseet First Nation. Congratulations to all recipients of this prestigious Order!

Jolene Johnson, owner of Wabanaki Maple has been invited to sit on the Women in Business Panel for the Cando Conference in October. Cando highlights and recognizes the significant impact that Indigenous women entrepreneurs have on the Canadian economy. We are proud of you Jolene for representing the Indigenous community , New Brunswick and female entrepreneurs!


Remembering Lieutenant-Governor Jocelyne Roy Vienneau

We fondly remembered New Brunswick's Lieutenant Governor, Hon. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau this month as an inspirational "trailblazer" and passionate advocate, who championed the need for "new sense of pride" in the province. Her Honour will be dearly missed by all.


Companies We Know & Love

We just love shouting out about companies we admire and telling them how proud we are!

On The World Stage

Microsoft Canada, led by Kevin Peesker, partnered with CNIB to launch Soundscape in Canada, a free app that empowers people who are blind or have low vision to explore the world around them through a 3D audio experience. Thank you for putting accessibility and inclusion first!

Our very own InteliSys Aviation Systems has signed Malaysia's SKS Airways on a multi-year agreement for use of its ameliaRES Passenger Service System (PSS). Now that's world stage!

Frequent award winner, and long-time corporate friend, ISU Corp, recognized as the Most Innovative High-Tech Enterprise Software Company 2019 by Acquisition International! Congratulations David Mansilla!

Duke Creative Collective, otherwise known as This is Duke, won not one but three 2019 Summit Creative Awards, two silver and one bronze, selected from more than 4500 entries from agencies and designers in 27 countries. Good things do come in threes!

Buffalo's 43North has culled the list of 528 North American applicants to 129 semifinalists and our eChart Healthcare was on it! Not the first time a New Brunswick company has won the $1M... go get'em Amanda!

Canadian company Tilray has leased 20 hectares of land near Évora in Portugal to an agricultural company by the name of Esporão, in order to produce medicinal cannabis, which was planted in July. This makes our Portuguese CEO, living in Canada, bilaterally happy.

Metamaterial Technologies Inc., a Nova Scotia-based developer of smart materials and photonics, is going public via an amalgamation agreement with Continental Precious Minerals Inc. Way to go Dr. George Palikaras!

One Tuna , a tuna buyer in North Lake, P.E.I., has just opened Canada's first federally-certified bluefin tuna processing facility.  This will allow the company to sell their tuna to any country around the world... from right here in Atlantic Canada. Another Atlantic first!

LuminUltra Technologies has been named a finalist at the Seatrade Cruise Awards in the Environmental Initiative Awards category. We love it when that happens... again & again!

As a socio-economic agency, we like working with aspiring social enterprise like The Farmers' Truck who recently had their first sale of the new mobile market truck in California. Our Fred Laforge is working hard to bring fresh produce to communities all over the world! California, here we come!

Patriot One has been selected as the security technology partner for Bleutech Park, a $7.5 billion Las Vegas Mini-City project that will be the World’s First Net-Zero, Smart, Connected and Safe City. Now that's smart! And our James Stewart is pretty smart too!

In Our Own Backyard

Former 43North grand prize winner, SomaDetect, has closed a US$2 million (C$2.6 million) round of funding to help it build out its databank and technology. Our friend Bethany Deshpande's company was also among the women-led startups receiving funding through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES)

The federal government announced it will invest around $2 billion in small and medium-sized enterprises that are women-owned or led, with $10 million going to those in Atlantic Canada. The WES program aims to double the number of women-owned businesses across the country by 2025. In addition to SomaDetect, Atlantic Canadian companies receiving non-repayable funding are iTacit, Edmundston Truck Stop – which is also Indigenous-led, South Ridge Maple Co. Ltd., MASITEK Instruments, Resilia Inc., and Mrs. Dunster's.

Introhive, one of the larger tech employers in Fredericton, has received almost $1 million in funding from the federal government to increase its foreign sales through international market expansion, product development, and global sales training.

QUBER, a Moncton company whose smartphone app helps people save money, has raised $450,000, in equity funding led by a $200,000 contribution from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. Thanks NBIF for your continued support of New Brunswick innovation!

McCain Foods plans to further invest C$12 million in its potato processing facility in the french fry capital of the world, Florenceville, New Brunswick. They're also sponsoring 20 teen girls on an 8-week leadership & personal development program, STEP-UP by Cathy Simpson of UP+GO. Way to go... and grow!

Distillerie Fils du Roy, an award-winning spirits maker from Petit-Paquetville, N.B., is expanding again, this time building New Brunswick's first-ever Malt House and producing their own yeast.


We Don't Know Them....But We'd Like To!

Here's to the people we saw doing amazing things this past month. We may not know them, but we'd sure like to!

Newfoundland Distillery Company has created a new gin called "Seaweed Gin" that will "capture the sensation of walking along a rocky beach on Canada’s eastern coastline" and is "The essence of Canada's eastern coastline, distilled." We love seeing fellow Eastern Canadian companies innovate!

Saltwater Brewery, a craft microbrewery in Delray Beach, Florida has developed cardboard 6-pack rings that are designed to feed sea turtles instead of killing them. We love this sustainable solution that will also help our ocean life!

Grupo Nabeiro, a Portuguese company, will be launching the first plastic-free biodegradable, 100% organic coffee capsule. "The sustainability path is a priority for the group and for all it's brands. With these initiatives we continue our work in the social area and for the community".

Fionn Ferreira, an 18 year-old Irish Teen, won the grand prize at the 2019 Google Science Fair this month for creating a method to remove micro plastics from the ocean. Glad to see such an amazing young person doing their part for our planet!

Ashton Grigg and Vardaan Malhotra have been named the University of New Brunswick’s recipients of the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship. Out of a pool of more than 300,000 potential candidates across Canada, 1,400 students were nominated, of which 50 received this celebrated award.

New Zealand parliamentary speaker Trevor Mallard held and fed the one-month-old son of lawmaker Tāmati Coffey while presiding over a debate this month. We loved seeing such an affectionate display incorporated within the country's government and to see New Zealand leading in embracing the importance of family!


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Sep 06, 2019

Great newsletter for September. I love the new format and it contains a lot of wonderful information.

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