Envision Saint John Fuelling Growth in the Region

News release

MP Wayne Long poses for a photo with representatives from Envirem
Left to right: Jillian MacKinnon; MP Wayne Long; Abigail Smith, young entrepreneur and owner of Haven Music Hall and Heather Libby, Co acting CEO Envision Saint John

June 27, 2023 · Saint John, New Brunswick · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Economic development agencies across Atlantic Canada like Envision Saint John: The Regional Growth Agency (ESJ) are driving the economy forward and helping communities and young entrepreneurs reach new heights, break barriers and innovate.

Programming to help foster start-ups and attract more visitors

Today, Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John-Rothesay, announced total investments of $660,000 through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) and Business Development Program (BDP) to ESJ. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

This support is helping ESJ deliver its Impact Loans Investment Fund, which helps young entrepreneurs access seed capital loans to start a business.  The Fund offers small business loans of up to $25,000 to young adults aged 18 – 39.  In addition to financing, the seed capital program includes access to business skills training, networking and coaching.

ACOA investments also helped ESJ implement a tourism marketing campaign throughout Atlantic Canada and Ontario called “Saint John & the Towns by the Bay”. ESJ’s campaign contributed to the Saint John Region seeing a 112% increase in overnight visitors from the Ontario market in 2022 over 2021 and a 12.8% increase in Maritime overnight visitors.  Currently, ESJ is building on the momentum of last year’s campaign with targetted ads to encourage even more visits to the region in summer 2023.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to support organizations that are helping to contribute to their communities and grow the economy.


“Organizations like Envision Saint John have a critical role to play in driving Atlantic Canada forward by helping to seize opportunities that can continue to grow our economy. The Government of Canada, through ACOA is committed to making investments like this one that are helping to build on our momentum here in New Brunswick and in the rest of the region.”

- The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

“I am so pleased to see ACOA delivering on ESJ’s efforts in the development of business start-ups by young entrepreneurs. These businesses are creating jobs and attracting talent and investment to our region. I am also excited that ESJ’s tourism campaign is having a real impact on attracting visitors to our incredible region.”

- Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John - Rothesay

”ACOA’s support has allowed Envision Saint John to expand the Saint John Region’s footprint into the Ontario market – taking our marketing efforts to the next level and attracting visitors to the region through innovative campaign tactics that drive engagement and conversion. As an integrated model, ACOA’s support has also allowed us to serve more entrepreneurs in the community via the Impact Loan program – providing the necessary capital for start-ups to succeed and grow.”

- Jillian MacKinnon, Acting Co-CEO, Envision Saint John: The Regional Growth Agency

Quick facts

Associated links


Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Ann Kenney
Senior Communications Officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Jillian MacKinnon
Acting Co-CEO
VP, Marketing Communications & Strategic Initiatives
Envision Saint John: The Regional Growth Agency

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