Young talent contributes to a growing tech sector in Cape Breton

David MacNeil is a recent graduate working at a tech company in Membertou

The pandemic has forced small companies in every corner of the province to find new ways of doing business — much of it online. And young people are proving best equipped to help employers make the leap. “Virtual tech skills and adaptability are traits that I feel I possess,” says David MacNeil, a recent university graduate, now Marketing Officer at Orenda Software Solutions, a tech company in Membertou that helps businesses measure the social impact of their brand. “Since we have a team of bright young minds, we’ve not experienced the same disruption from COVID-19 as others. We are already comfortable with the virtual systems that many companies are now figuring out for the first time.”

“Young people are adaptable, open-minded and willing to learn,” says Tanya Seajay, Founder & CEO of Orenda Software Solutions, “Given the evolving landscape caused by the pandemic, the approach and work-ethic of recent graduates, like David, are key in helping businesses like ours to flourish.”

Hiring David was made easier with the Graduate to Opportunity (GTO) program, which offers 25% of a grad’s first year salary — 35% if the grad is diverse — and 12.5% of their second-year salary. The GTO program is available to small businesses, start-ups and non-profit organizations. Complete applications are typically approved within three to five days.

MacNeil graduated from Cape Breton University in 2019 and wanted to find a meaningful career close to home.

“People don’t always believe that innovative careers in the tech sector exist here,” says MacNeil. “But there are plenty of opportunities, and as we step into the future, we are only going to see more of it in Cape Breton.”

Seajay sees more growth in the company’s future. “We plan to continue hiring and expanding our data science team,” says Seajay. “We have some attractive job prospects, and it is vital that as a small business, we create more opportunities for young local talent to stay and make a difference in Cape Breton.”

When you are ready to hire someone new, consider hiring a recent grad.

To date, more than 600 organizations like Orenda Software Solutions have hired more than 1,200 recent graduates across Nova Scotia using GTO funding. GTO could save you money on the next person you hire. Learn more at

Official Nova Scotia Government Medium Account