St. John's: a Research Hub

Research and development generates knowledge, spawns new industries and provides new opportunities supporting economic growth. With Memorial University’s annual Research Week completed, it calls attention to the range of internationally renowned and leading research capacity that happens in St. John’s and the province.  

At Memorial University more than 30 research centres undertake research ranging from social and economic insights, to public health, offshore safety and ocean engineering and with total sponsored research income in 2022-23 valued at $143 million and contributing $627 million to the provincial economy.  

Memorial’s Research Innovation Office fosters a progressive culture of technology transfer and commercialization encourages students, faculty, and staff to work with the business community to bring research ideas to market.

With over 40% of its research being ocean-related, Memorial is a global leader. The Fisheries and Marine Institute, one of the most respected facilities for marine learning and applied research in the world, is home to a variety of specialized centres that conduct world-leading research on ocean technology, aquaculture, fisheries ecosystems and offshore safety. Read about Memorial’s competitive edge when it comes to ocean research, in the latest issue of Luminus magazine.

The National Research Council’s Ocean, Coastal and River Engineering Research Centre offers six specialized research and testing facilities to support private and public sector partners. It helps develop next generation marine transportation, improve the resilience of coastal infrastructure and waterways, and develop sustainable technologies for use in harsh marine environments. 

Non-profit Energy Research & Innovation supports collaborative research, development and demonstration (RD&D) opportunities and facilitates projects on behalf of the province’s offshore petroleum industry. With a focus on sustinabilty, digitization, development and safety, Energy Research & Innovation assists the offshore industry’s sustainability through technology development and innovation.

Building research capacity and brokering important connections among partners in healthcare, government, community, and university is within the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research in its Research Exchange Groups.

At the College of the North Atlantic, the Office of Applied Research and Innovation, is dedicated to supporting local industry and communities has a focus on applied research collaborations leading to solutions to real-world problems.

Overall there is a wealth of research expertise, facilities and technologies in St. John’s helping to grow new innovations, businesses, employment and address challenges.

City Initiatives

City Influencers Survey Results: Business Ownership

City Influencers is an online space where young people - aged 18 to 30 - can provide feedback to the City on topics of interest to them in a quick and easy manner. Starting a business and awareness of business supports for entrepreneurs was the latest survey topic. Key findings from the survey include:

  •    62% of respondents consider owning a business a viable career option.
  • The top three resources used to learn more about starting a business include: speaking to other local business owners; business support agencies; and friends and family.
  • Respondents indicated they would prefer learning about challenges or opportunities in starting a business directly from young entrepreneurs.
  • The St. John’s Business Information Centre sees opportunity to raise awareness of our business information resources with this age group. 

Read the full report:

News Briefing

Newcomer Loan Program

Community Business Development Corporations recognize the role that newcomers play in economic development in Newfoundland & Labrador. The Newcomer Loan Program is designed to provide financing to those who would otherwise not receive support because of their resident status. The program offers repayable loans of up to $20,000 for newcomers to create a start-up or buy  an existing business in Newfoundland & Labrador. Eligibility would be for individuals 19 and older who do not have permanent resident status, with all sectors being eligible, as well as all communities in Newfoundland & Labrador. All loans are repayable and offer competitive repayment terms and costs of borrowing.  Contact Metro Business Opportunities for further details at 709-738-1MBO (1626).     

Westjet connecting St. John’s and London

WestJet announced it will launch a direct flight three times a week between St. John's to London's Gatwick airport starting May 1 and ending on Oct. 25. This flight marks the reestablishment of a connection between Newfoundland and Labrador and Europe – the first since 2019.

The City of St. John’s welcomes today’s announcement and is thrilled to have a direct route to the United Kingdom once again. This announcement is not just about a new flight route; it’s about opening doors to exploration, fostering economic growth, and strengthening the bonds that connect us globally," Mayor Danny Breen.” 

Full news release:

Applications for 2024 Canada Summer Jobs now open

The application period for the federal government’s Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program open November 21. Employers from not-for-profit organizations, the public sector, and private sector organizations with 50 or fewer full-time employees in Canada can apply for funding until Jan. 10, 2024, to hire young Canadians next summer. Full-time job placements will become available starting in April 2024. Employers interested in applying for CSJ 2024 funding are encouraged to submit their applications electronically on the Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS) portal.

At a Glance

Toronto-based Shaughnessy was awestruck by the tight-knit community of St. John’s after a company retreat. After an additional trip to the city, the matter was settled and St. John's became home.

Hayley Shaughnessy standing in front of her “very Newfoundland-y” clapboard home St. John’s. (Photography by Johnny C. Y. Lam)

Check out this awesome playlist featuring all Newfoundland and Labrador artists. Our music #ecosystem here in #stjohnnl generates rich social, cultural and economic benefits: 

The City of St. John's Development Team is available to meet with potential applicants at the initial stages of a project helping to ensure it starts out on the right foot.


DYK? the City of S. John's Census Metropolitan Area has expanded to include Holyrood? The Northeast Avalon's hub is getting larger. View the Census profile:

Point 2 Homes 2023 City Readiness Index for Gen Z indicates, "St. John’s, NL is the star city of the young generation, raking in the most points in the 35 categories that together embody the ideal lifestyle for a Gen Z-er".

Government of Canada Business Supports

Get funding to grow your business online

Established in 2022, the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) provides grants to small-and medium-sized business owners to obtain the expertise and tools they need to integrate new, digital technologies into their operations. The government of Canada is using private sector advisors to deliver CDAP. The initiative is available to any for-profit company with between one and 499 employees with reported sales in one of the last three years of over $500,000. The two-phase process begins with a $15,000 grant to a business to work with an advisor In St. John’s.

Search for a CDAP Digital Advisor at:

Upcoming Courses and Events

Book your spot!

Dec 7 NLOWE Passport for Growth: Business and Trade

Dec 11 MNL Regional Economic Development Workshop

Dec 12 Social Impact 101 Webinar - Learn how to integrate social impact into your business model and why it’s important from the Centre for Social Enterprise Development, Ottawa.

Dec 14 Marine Renewables Canada Ask an Expert: Environmental Impacts & Effects of Offshore Wind

Jan 11-Feb 27 Gardiner Centre Professional Skills Development Program

Questions About Starting a Business

Our knowledgeable staff are here to help

Starting a new business is a busy and exciting time, and requires careful planning. Here at the City of St. John's Business Information Centre, we know our way around town and we'd be happy to connect you to the programs, resources and contacts you need to help make it happen. Get in touch. We're here to help.

We'd love to hear from you

Do you have a good St. John's business news story to tell? Do you have feedback on what you would like to see covered in our monthly publication? Send your ideas to [email protected]

Latest Economic Indicators

City building permits

as of November 28, 2023

Commercial permits

Up 5% from $100,177,936 in 2022 to $105,487,738 in 2023

Industrial permits

Valued at $351,000 for 2022 and $190,000 for 2023

Government/institutional permits

Up from $1,980,468 in 2022 to $7,562,336 in 2023*

Residential permits

Up 24% to $85,740,664 for 2023 over $69,294,742  for 2022

Repair permits

Down -3% from $1,657,409  in 2022 to $1,610,611 in 2023

Total value of all permits for 2023

Up 16% to $200,595,350 for 2023 over $173,461,555 for 2022

*This data does not include the full range of permit activity undertaken by the provincial government and Memorial University.

Business approvals

Casa Amigos Mexican Restaurant, 10 Bates Hill

Republic Pets Resort Inc., 86 O’Leary Avenue

Dental clinic, 43 Cashin Avenue

Cardinal Electrical Services, 639 Torbay Road

Cima Canada Inc., 121 Kelsey Drive

Restaurant, 179 Duckworth Street

Amy Chicoine Photography, 416-420 Main Road

Indus Eatery, 284 Duckworth Street

Pho F&M Restaurant, 117 Longs Hill

Home-based businesses

Family home childcare, 16 Blue Jacket Place

Family home childcare, 13 Cessna Street

Electrical contractor, 80 Valleyview Road

Total business approvals for 2023 = 186 (regular = 148 and home-based = 38)

Labour force characteristics as of November 2023

Labour force – 123,200 (down -1.2%)

Unemployment rate – 6.7% (up 0.1ppts)

Employment – 114,900 (down -1.4%)

Participation rate – 64.2% (down -2.9ppts)

St. John's CMA, seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average. Percentage change reflects the same month previous year. Source: Statistics Canada.

Economic indicators

The New Housing Price Index for St. John’s Metro was 106.9 in October 2023 (up 1.2%*)

The Consumer Price Index for St. John’s Metro was 159.7 in October 2023

(up 4.4%*) 

Retail trade for Newfoundland and Labrador was $945 million in September 2023 (up 0.3%*)

*St. John's CMA, same month in the previous year. Source: Statistics Canada

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