The province is launching a pilot program to help small businesses get started and existing businesses expand. The Nova Scotia Business Development Pilot Program will encourage business start-ups, and provide help through qualified consultants for business operators to review and assess their practices and develop new approaches to ensure success. This program will run from Nov. 1 to June 30, 2009, with an estimated budget of $600,000. “The government’s commitment to sustainable prosperity for Nova Scotia, means helping small and medium-sized businesses grow and prosper,” said Richard Hurlburt, Minister of Economic Development. “This program will provide additional help to encourage business start-ups and ensure businesses continue to thrive.” Government assistance for eligible business activity includes: training and recruitment; market research and business-plan development; advertising and promotional plans; visual-merchandising techniques and fiscal-management tools. “We are excited about this program, particularly for communities in rural Nova Scotia that have a lot of talent and expertise, but sometimes lack the necessary resources to encourage start-up business,” said Sandra Phinney, co-owner, Parnell-Phinney Productions, Yarmouth. “I expect that this program will compliment and strengthen business initiatives such as mine, across Nova Scotia.” Rebates for approved services for start-ups and existing businesses will be made at 50 per cent of total costs, to a maximum of $10,000. Special rebates of 75 per cent of total service costs, up to a maximum of $12,000 per applicant, will be made available to groups participating in the same activity. To apply for the program or for more information, visit your local Department of Economic Development office or www.gov.ns.ca/econ . Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis.