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Kerry Brown of the NunatuKavut Business Centre.

Yaffle.ca is Memorial's online connecting tool. One of its most significant jobs is to provide a way for people from outside Memorial to ask for research help from within the university. With hundreds of community-suggested opportunities to choose from, your next project is just a click away. Here's one . . .

By Rebecca Cohoe

The opportunity:
Southern Labrador is experiencing some major changes these days. The opening of the Trans-Labrador Highway and potential large scale hydro and mining projects mean potential business opportunities. However, the challenge is figuring out how to take advantage of them. According to Kerry Brown, business development officer with the NunatuKavut Business Centre (a program under Nunacor), figuring out what kind of new businesses might be viable is essential for regional development.

"There are a lot of questions about future opportunities that the community can't answer right now," she said.

Many community members aren't entirely clear on how the new developments will impact the region, so they're hesitant about investing in new entrepreneurial ventures. As Ms. Brown explains, it's a matter of figuring out what the new visitors to the region are actually looking for.

"We need to know more about why people are visiting," she said. "How much of the new traffic is tourists and how much is truckers? Are they looking for bed and breakfasts or are they looking for gas and snacks?"

The project:
Ms. Brown believes an inventory of new business opportunities could help Southern Labrador entrepreneurs make the most of the new developments along the highway. She believes the will to invest in new ventures is strong, but a lot of small businesses are run by one or two people and they're very involved in the actual day-to-day.

"It's very hard to get that groundwork done when you're running a business," she said.

That's where a researcher from Memorial could help. According to Ms. Brown, the perfect candidate for the project would be someone with a business background and an appetite for adventure. Given the nature of the project, the researcher would probably spend some time in Southern Labrador, meeting community members and getting the lay of the land.

So, what should a Southern Labrador researcher expect? Ms. Brown chuckles.
"Big boots and a shovel will come in handy! The people here are so accommodating and so open to sharing what their communities have to offer. It's a real treasure actually."

Interested in learning more about this project? Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre, would love to tell you more. Call him at 709-864-2120 or email him at bfurst@mun.ca.

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