PEI

Tech magnate Google held a series of workshops in St. John’s, N.L. on Friday November 1 to help small businesses improve their digital skills. As the fifth stop of a six-stop Grow with Google tour, the company aimed to help entrepreneurs across Canada advance their economic opportunities by fine-tuning their tech skills. More than 500 local business owners, entrepreneurs and aspiring startups attend the sessions in St. John’s, which ranged from search engine marketing, website analytics and optimizing Google Search and Maps to support business growth.

Last week, Michelin North America Inc. announced two projects for the Pictou County plant, which means a $20-million injection and more than 150 new jobs for the area. These new developments also mean the 200 temporary jobs set to end in 2020 will now be made permanent. The impetus for the increase in staff is a new winter tire line along with the North American launch of new semi-finished products.

Miniso, the low-cost lifestyle store headquartered in Guangzhou China, is continuing its Canadian expansion with a new store in Halifax. The 4,200 sq. ft. store on Spring Garden Road will be in a good position to compete with other deal kings like Dollarama and Walmart as 70% of their products are under $5. Miniso opened its first Canadian store in Vancouver in 2017 with a goal of opening 100 across the country by 2019.

Chinova Bioworks, a company that makes a preservative called chitosan out of mushrooms for the food and beverage industry, has received $2 million investment money from DSM Venturing BV. Venture capital firm AgFunder and non-profit Natural Products Canada were also in on the round of funding that will go towards building Chinova’s team and scaling up manufacturing.

Friday marked the announcement that Saint John Port is now a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) point. This federal designation allows for companies to import goods, assemble and store them and then re-export them without any taxes or duties. Saint John is the tenth designated area in Canada and the port organization hopes this will open up doors to new business on international seas.

Irving Oil has announced they will buy 13 Ultramar gas stations across Atlantic Canada, currently under Couche-Tard’s ownership. Couche-Tard, the owner of Circle K convenience stores, will maintain ownership of the other 23 Ultramars across the region, but they will fly under the Irving banner with the transition starting immediately. Nine of the locations are in Nova Scotia, the other four in St. John’s, Charlottetown and Dieppe.

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