Rankin MacSween

President, New Dawn Enterprises

Sydney, NS

Accelerate Collaboration, Shift Capital  |  Community Economic Development, Funding / Investment, Rural Community Development

Rankin drives community self-reliance in Nova Scotia’s poorest region, raising capital for and supporting social enterprises – including affordable housing and an occupational college – that both serve and employ residents.

Rankin was born and raised in rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. After completing university, he briefly worked in the field of criminal justice in central Canada and mainland Nova Scotia. He later returned to Cape Breton and took a one year contract position with the local University. During that year he became engaged with New Dawn, a fledgling CED. This involvement has led to a long, fascinating journey, particularly in relation to fundamental questions about the challenge of turning around a depleted and dying community.


  • Raised $13 million for local investment and changed perceptions of local investment.
  • Created spaces for taking conversation to “IDEAS” and the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation.
  • Challenges and continues to shape discussion on the Port of Sydney and community assets, as well as Cape Breton Island’s relationship with provincial and federal governments.
  • Provides in-demand quality services including housing and healthcare.