Prince Edward Island agreed to carry out the first pilot project to test the Knowledge Assessment methodology and at the same time use it to evaluate and to explore opportunities for developing the knowledge economy on the Island. The test of the knowledge economy is efficient use of knowledge resources. It can be measured by the extent to which knowledge is put to use by all sectors of society through profitable knowledge-based enterprises, effective health services, a sustaining and sustainable agricultural system, and a productive educational system, and in the longer term, by the reduction of inequality in society.
Five vanguard enterprises were selected to explore the barriers to putting knowledge to use in PEI, specifically to include a manufacturing business, an enterprise located in a rural area, one that would utilize the Island's telecommunications facilities, and one related to a social sector. The five enterprises were:
- Chitin production from lobster and crab shells, drawing on the unique availability in close proximity of large amounts of shell, the highly organized processing sector, and the process research capacity of the university and government laboratories;
- Swine breeding for export, taking advantage of the island status of PEI and the opportunities to increase the biosecurity of the Island and the high capability of the swine breeders to produce low-disease, high-value breeding stock;
- Electronic commerce, combining the broad-band network existing throughout the Island and the marketing potential of the Anne of Green Gables theme for sales of Island products via the Internet;
- Wind turbine manufacture, with fabrication, assembly, and testing of wind turbines and components by Island suppliers and contractors and marketing to remote areas of Canada and developing countries; and
- Telemedicine, using computers and the broad-band network to bring specialized health care capability to rural hospitals.
The recommendations of the Knowledge Assessment were drawn from the analysis of the vanguard enterprises. Among the specific suggestions were:
- creation of a Center for the New Economy, with educational, mentoring, and assistance programs for knowledge-based industry;
- development of an educational program on the Island for would-be investors that would encourage local investment while providing a source of income for a local institution;
- a "youth province" program to introduce young students to new career ideas and build a more self-reliant, entrepreneurial culture;
- establishment of graduate programs at the university in selected areas related to development opportunities for PEI;
- creation of a biosecure zone on PEI that could become a world resource for conservation of vulnerable commercial species and reconstruction of deci-