Mayor Gregor Robertson announced today that he will be leading a major business mission to China this month, with the goal of attracting new jobs and investment to Vancouver.
“This business mission to China will deliver real results for Vancouver – we’ve spent months preparing and we are confident we can secure a number of business deals that will directly benefit our region,” said Mayor Robertson. “We’ll be capitalizing on our momentum from the 2010 Winter Games by highlighting some of our top green businesses from Vancouver. China has set aggressive goals to promote low-carbon economic development and there is a huge opportunity for us to foster closer connections between Vancouver’s leading technology companies and the emerging green economy in China.”
The Vancouver Green Capital Business Mission has been developed over the last several months by the Vancouver Economic Development Commission (VEDC), the City of Vancouver, government agencies like NRC-IRAP, agencies like the Canadian Trade Service, private sector partners like Cleanworks, Lighthouse Sustainable Building Centre, RBC, and companies from the Metro Vancouver Commerce Program. Previous Vancouver Mayors have visited China but did not focus on promoting Vancouver’s economy.
22 local businesses have been selected by the VEDC to participate in the business mission. They represent three of Vancouver’s fastest growing and most innovative sectors: clean technology, green building, and digital media. Delegates will take part in several one-on-one business meetings with Chinese executives and government agencies, as well as showcasing their technologies to potential partners.
"The Vancouver Green Capital Mission will especially focus on business matching and investment opportunities, similar to what Vancouver did during the 2010 Games," said Lee Malleau, CEO of the Vancouver Economic Development Commission. "This is another ideal opportunity to use a major global event as a platform to promote bilateral trade, which leads to additional investment and employment growth, especially with one of the fastest growing markets on the planet. We are helping our Vancouver companies deepen the connections they made during the Olympics, and make new ones that will generate similar results."
The partnership between the City and Vancouver’s local businesses with Mayor Robertson leading the delegation is a unique way to help support Vancouver’s economy, says Tourism Vancouver Chairman James Terry. “From our perspective, the City of Vancouver is extremely well-positioned as the gateway to North America for Chinese visitors who will now be able to visit Canada as an approved destination,” said Terry. “Vancouver’s brand is already strong among business and leisure travelers from China and the Mayor’s visit will further solidify our city as a destination of choice.”
Mayor Robertson has made economic development a top priority while in office. With a background in business, he has worked to have City Hall assist where it can in supporting local businesses. This kind of support is needed and is appreciated, say local business leaders:
"China has clearly asserted its intentions to invest in energy efficiency as a way to manage the rapid growth of its cities, and they have a large and growing need for Pulse Energy management software. Mayor Robertson knows that companies and technologies like ours can help them achieve those goals while at the same time acknowledging that we can learn a great deal from the development of China's green industries.”
- David Helliwell, Chief Executive Officer, Pulse Energy
"We've seen Vancouver develop as an international hub for digital media in recent years, and we're pleased to be partnering with Mayor Robertson and the VEDC on the Green Capital Business Mission. China is a market that we want to expand into and the meetings we have in Shanghai will develop new business connections, grow our name recognition, and provide more exposure for Vancouver's top-notch digital talent."
- Warren Franklin, Chief Executive Officer, Rainmaker Entertainment
"With its mandate to move towards solid-state lighting, huge infrastructure programs and rapid development, there is a massive opportunity for our energy efficient control technology to make inroads in China's solid state lighting industry. Vancouver is developing a reputation as the ‘green capital’ and by meeting with companies in China, we can strengthen our own business at home.”
-Jeanette Jackson, CEO, Light-Based Technologies
“China’s rapidly growing green economy provides enormous opportunities for the green building expertise we have in Vancouver. This business mission to China will allow us to build connections with Chinese companies and help us grow our company on a global scale.”
- Martin Nielsen, MAIBC, P.Eng., LEED® AP, Principal, Busby Perkins + Will
With China’s economy growing at a rapid pace, Vancouver is uniquely positioned to be a global hub for clean energy, and Mayor Robertson understands that we can achieve success by forging partnerships with China. China is a major opportunity for Westport and we're looking forward to expanding our presence in China and developing new connections and partnerships across the clean tech and alternative energy sectors on this business mission.”
- Nicholas Sonntag, Executive VP Westport Innovations; President Westport Asia.
“Digital media - visual effects, animation, games - is rapidly growing in Vancouver. Image Engine wants to expand our reach into new markets, especially ones as large as China. This business mission gives us the opportunity to connect with Chinese companies with whom we can collaborate and grow our company in the process.”
- Shawn Walsh, Visual Effects Executive Producer, Image Engine
The Vancouver Green Capital Business Mission will coincide with Vancouver Day at the Shanghai Expo. Vancouver is one of only three cities from North America with a stand-alone pavilion at the World Expo. The Vancouver Pavilion, which is a partnership between the City of Vancouver, BC Forestry Innovation Investment, and Canada Wood, showcases Vancouver’s sustainable urban planning and green building practices, which have made the city an international model for urban design.
Photo credit: City of Vancouver