MERIGOMISH – While others move away to find jobs, Sean Bridge is settling in, making his own opportunities.
Bridge moved to rural Nova Scotia from the Ottawa area because he saw chances as an entrepreneur.
“This is a great location for a lot of businesses. It’s creating a concept of actually making that happen.”
Bridge works in the information technology field, specifically in web development.
He is also the person responsible for Seanradio.com.
The idea for his website is to give independent music artists a place to gain recognition. Seanradio.com streams three different feeds – rock, 80’s and hip hop. It also features audio clips, videos and information on artists of all genres from across the globe.
Bridge estimates more than 4,000 musicians have contacted him.
“If they contact me, I try to get them on the website.”
He’s pleased with how it’s been going, but he wants to add even more. He hopes to expand to 10 streams next year and add talk shows.
For someone who’s new to the area, he knows how to make himself known – at least in the Twitterverse.
His Seanradio.com handle already has more than 4,000 followers.
“I use Twitter like talking on the street to people.”
He’s very adamant that he doesn’t buy followers. There are plenty of options out there to gain hundreds of followers for minimal amounts of money, but they’re all drones, he says. He’d rather connect with real people.
“There is an art to using Twitter,” he says.
It’s hard to explain in a few words, but a lot of it has to do with interactivity, he explains.
Bridge embodies the term ‘networking.’ Building contacts is essential for his line of work.
Right now, he’s trying to connect with chamber of commerce groups across rural Nova Scotia before he launches his next project.
He plans to build an online training program, for little or no fee, to help people gain the IT skills they need to find a job.
Although there is plenty of education in the area, Bridge understands not everyone can afford it. He wants to help people get employment without burying themselves in debt first.
He also hopes to supply those jobs.
“It gives an opportunity for people to see that they can actually stay where they live, where they grew up … and create a foundation for themselves.”
He’s picked up many clients in the area for web design, and runs online tutorials for programs like Photoshop.
Every business needs to get their IT services from somewhere, and Bridge wants it to be from him and the “web army” he hopes to build.
Although there’s plenty of web jobs in bigger cities like Halifax, doing this from a rural area is the dream for Bridge.
Working from his home near the Northumberland Strait offers a certain kind of freedom.
“I love it because it gives you a chance to sit back and relax and think about things you can do, rather than the hustle and distractions.”
His youngest children love being close to nature as well.
The 45-year-old has two kids and two adults, as he puts it, ranging from three-years-old to 20.
It’s been a bit of a stretch for his adult children to make the adjustment to rural life.
Going from an area where his kids could hop on a bus to go anywhere to a vast county with no public transportation was a culture shock for them.
However, they’re adjusting and enjoying themselves, he says.
It’s difficult not to catch the infectious love Bridge has for Nova Scotia.
From the rolling hills of Cape Breton that remind him of a Lord of The Rings movie to the great people, he’s more than happy about his move six months ago.
“People are more than friendly. People are amazing.”
The decrease in humidity and traffic are big pluses for him. However, he does miss all of the safe bike paths in Ottawa.
“That seems like something that’s a bit lax in this area,” he says, explaining that he enjoys going for 50 to 100 kilometer trips.
When he told people he was moving to Nova Scotia, many of his colleagues assumed he meant Halifax.
Although he likes Halifax, he wants to put focus on other parts of Atlantic Canada that people “from away” may not know about.
He hopes to do that by changing the outlook of the economic situation in rural areas.
“What I see here is an area that is filled with opportunity that people have not explored.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda