Understanding and Supporting Rural Innovation in the St. Anthony-Port au Choix Rural Secretariat Region

Rural and northern communities throughout Canada encounter challenges and barriers to accessing technology, increasing competitiveness, and building networks due to factors of distance, population density, and cost. The influence of these barriers can be widespread, limiting economic development opportunities, the exchange of new ideas, and abilities of integrating innovative strategies to respond to local and regional priorities. In the St. Anthony-Port au Choix region studies and local experiences have demonstrated limited networking within and external to the region and geography of the northern region impedes regional initiatives.

This research builds upon the “Network Weaving for Regional Development on the Tip of the Northern Peninsula’ projects 2010-2011, sponsored by the Regional Collaboration Pilot in cooperation with Rural Secretariat – Executive Council, MUN and Department of Municipal Affairs. This project investigated if and how theories associated with social capital and social networks and their role in rural development apply in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly the St. Anthony – Port au Choix Rural Secretariat Region. The findings demonstrated a desire and a need to build networks to enhance innovation in the region. It also highlighted innovators in the region whose skills, attitudes and experiences could be further built upon, such as the Northern Peninsula Business Network.

The goal of this community based research project was to better understand past and current patterns of innovation and how innovation has been encouraged and supported (or discouraged) in the Northern Peninsula, to explore ways that rural innovation has been encouraged and supported elsewhere in comparable regions and to make recommendations for future initiatives in the region and for policy and programs in support of rural innovation.

Research Team and Partners

Project Resources