New grads driving business growth in Cape BretonNovember 17, 2023

Story provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills & Immigration

Business has been booming for Anchored Ideas. The marketing and communications agency, based in Cape Breton, connects local companies with global audiences through creative and robust campaigns that help businesses tell their story.

Anchored has also recently expanded to include Recruitment so they’re not only helping businesses tell their story and reach new markets, they’re also helping to attract and keep more people on Cape Breton Island.

Co-founders Danielle Patterson and Danielle Johnston, also known locally as “The Danielle’s”, –– attribute this success to the fresh talent on their team.  

“Having a young, motivated, energetic team of recent grads has benefited us tremendously,” says Danielle Patterson.” It’s allowed us to grow and offer so many more services and bring on more clients.”

Like other small businesses, Anchored Ideas explored different grants that could help them grow their team while saving money. They asked their peers for recommendations. “The name- Graduate to Opportunity (GTO)- just kept coming up” adds Danielle.” After hiring two recent grads through the program, I can understand why.”

Using GTO, the company hired Victoria Chapman, a CBU grad, for a Social Media Coordinator role and Emily MacLennan, a MSVU grad, for a Marketing Manager’s role.

Employers who are eligible for GTO can receive 25 per cent of the graduate’s first-year salary, (35 per cent if the graduate is a member of a diversity group), and 12.5 per cent of the second-year salary. To be eligible, an organization must be a small business of fewer than 100 employees, a start-up, a non-profit, a charity, or a social enterprise. 

Applying for GTO is easy, and most employers find out if they have been approved within five business days. 

Both Emily and Victoria are grateful to be able to work in their chosen fields and grow their families in Cape Breton. “It was my dream to work with Anchored Ideas and stay in Cape Breton.” says Emily.” It’s crazy to think that my dream came true.”

Anchored Ideas’ other GTO employee, Victoria Chapman had the opportunity to showcase her skills when a colleague took another opportunity. “Victoria instantly took on her tasks with grace and pure happiness.” says Danielle Patterson.” We are still simply blown away.” 

The opportunity has been great for Victoria, as well.  “It gives me a chance to learn all the different aspects of the industry,” says Victoria.

Anchored Ideas has shown appreciation for their young staff by giving them a raise. “It’s a competitive market and we just really wanted to give them the fair wage that they deserved,” adds Danielle.

Since 2018, GTO has helped around 2,400 graduates find jobs they love, in the communities where they want to put down roots.  “Having the opportunity to offer meaningful jobs to fresh talent, here on the island is extremely important,” adds Danielle Patterson. “Recent grads are the cream of the crop, and we are grateful for programs like GTO that help us bring them on.”

Learn how Graduate to Opportunity can help you hire fresh talent and save money.
Left to Right: Anchored Ideas’ Danielle Johnston, Emily MacLennan, Victoria Chapman, and Danielle Patterson.