Prince Edward Island



Photography Lisa Enman 
Article by Julia Smith with contributions from  Martina MacDonald and Maxine Rennie 

CBDC PEI is made up of three unique offices encompassing all of rural PEI. CBDC Central PEI (Executive Director, Claus Schmidt), CBDC PEI East (Executive Director, Martina MacDonald), and CBDC Western PEI (Executive Director, Maxine Rennie). 

PEI is made up of hundreds of small authentic and diverse communities that continue to celebrate their heritage with tourism, potato farming, agriculture, and fishing being the primary industries.  PEI is a welcoming and inclusive province that strives to make everyone feel like they have come home.  This sentiment is why PEI has the fastest-growing population in the Maritimes.   

Despite the economic upheaval that COVID has caused, PEI continues to flourish, and Islanders just finished being the host province for the 2023 Canada Winter Games where 1000’s of people from all over Canada came to participate, watch, and support the Canadian athletes.  

Tourism operators on PEI were devastated when COVID hit and shut the Island down.  In 2021 and 2022 through the partnership between Tourism PEI and the PEI CBDC’s, they administered the Tourism Activation Grant.  In 2023, the PEI CBDC’s administered a new program for Tourism PEI, the “Tourism Seasonal Extension Program”, to assist the tourism industry in the expansion of their offerings into the shoulder seasons. In these three years, they have collectively infused over $6M into the hands of Island tourism businesses.  

Even though the three PEI CBDC offices are physically distant from one another, we are working hard to build a cohesive and strong association that serves all of PEI.  

Exciting things are happening in PEI! 

CBDC Western PEI  

Maxine Rennie is the Executive Director of CBDC West Prince Ventures Ltd. and has been with the organization since 1989.  She has over 30 years experience in business development in Western PEI and has a Master of Business Administration from UPEI. 

Maxine has represented PEI on the Atlantic Association    MIS/IT Committee, Marketing and ACCBIF Board of Governance, as well as a board member on Community Futures Network of Canada. 


Martina MacDonald has an innate knowledge of entrepreneurship – one of ten siblings born to Dutch immigrants who boarded a ship from Holland in 1954 to cross the Atlantic Ocean set for Canadian soil, settling in the community of Cardigan. Weaving their knowledge and skills in agriculture into a small mobile feed business which then transformed into a thriving brick and mortar store, Cardigan Feed Services, now operating for over 60 years.  

On her own entrepreneurial path, Martina built and operated Second Glance Interiors Ltd. for 25 years with nine retail locations throughout Atlantic Canada. Martina managed all aspects of the business. Through this, Martina knows firsthand both the pain and the gains of being a business owner. With this experience, it has proven invaluable in her position as Executive Director of CBDC Eastern PEI in the past 12 years to present. “I love assisting people with their vision and passion.,” says Martina, who holds a strong belief in being an ongoing support to her clients.  

CBDC Central PEI 

“The past couple of years have seen unchartered waters and extreme upheaval,” says Claus Schmidt.  “But due to our determination, Islanders have come out the other side stronger than ever!”.  Claus says “I chose to move to PEI.  I chose to raise his family here.  I chose to open two businesses here.  I chose PEI because of who Islanders truly are at heart.” 

CBDC Central PEI has undergone a huge makeover and the Board of Directors is excited to have Claus Schmidt as the new Executive Director.  Claus took on his new role in January 2023.  He joined the CBDC team, late in 2020 as a Business Development Officer, in the midst of the COVID relief loan times.  He continues to provide top-quality client service in English, French and German to the Central PEI region.   

His team consists of Krista Thompson, Office Manager, Julia Smith, Executive Officer, and Rebecca Curley, Business Development Officer. The close team complements each other, and they believe that by working hard they can serve the community and surpass their needs. 

“... due to our determination, Islanders have come out the other side stronger than ever!” 

Claus Schmidt 
Executive Director 
CBDC Central PEI 

Ambitions is a publication of the Atlantic Association of CBDCs intended to promote and celebrate small business and entrepreneurial success in the communities we serve.

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