Matchmakers pair local businesses with investors

Kootenay businesses meet with investment matchmakers

For the first time, B.C.’s International Trade and Investment Representative stopped in the Kootenay region this past week.

A group of eight was welcomed at the St. Eugene Mission Resort on October 23 to meet with local small businesses to match them with investors abroad. They traveled from China, the U.S., Europe, India, South Korea and Japan.

John McDonald, managing director of East China, said the tour is helping the representatives better understand the markets and opportunities available across the province.

Minister for Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell told the Townsman said it’s great to have the representatives see areas of the province they haven’t been to previously.

“We’re really excited to have out Trade and Investment Representatives travelling around the province having them come in to places like Cranbrook and Kimberley,” Bell said. “The trade representatives are interested in the economic agenda of each individual community.”

Cathy Yao, managing director for South China, said investors in her region are interested in importing more cherries from the Creston region to complement the fruit they receive from the Okanagan area. The tour helps the representatives find those opportunities and pair them with potential investors.

“We do a lot of match making for customers,” she said.

Kevin Tsui said seeing the region they are trying to promote is important.

“We can actually tell the story of the Kootenays,” he said. “Being here helps us kind of crystallize the opportunity.”

McDonald said they were meeting specifically with small businesses on the current tour of the province.

“To be honest, big industry is already there,” he said. “It’s not big business that needs help.”

Tsui, McDonald and Yao all represent China, and they say the country is slowly becoming aware of what the Kootenays have to offer.

“The kootenay region is not a region a lot of Chinese know about,” Tsui said.

The Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce gathered local small businesses and forwarded them to the representatives. Meeting with the group for the first time was Brenda Palmer of Mrs. Palmer’s Pantry. She was able to make new connections and discuss exporting her locally made pita chips internationally.

“We have shipped to Hong Kong in the past and we wanted to expand our export market,” she said.

Palmer handed out samples at the St. Eugene meeting and was able to forward on contacts she made to her Vancouver-based exporter to follow up on. Mrs. Palmer’s Pantry began in Cranbrook 17 years ago and continues to operate its factory on Slater Road.

“It really opened up a lot of opportunity for us,” Palmer said of the meeting. “I think it’s really great that our Chamber works to support our small businesses.”

Chamber president Karin Penner said the representatives brought a unique opportunity to Kootenay businesses, and they were happy to work with them to identify small businesses looking to expand internationally. She said the tour left a wonderful impression on the visitors.

“Some of them had never seen snow before,” Penner said.

The tour covered much of Highway 3, starting off in the Elk Valley before hitting Cranbrook and moving on to Creston, Castlegar, Trail and Rossland. McDonald said they hope to come back to tour the Columbia Valley Golden, Invermere and Radium and the Highway 1. Tsui said he hopes to visit again in the summer to get a different picture of the communities.

Just Posted

Local ball team heads south for prestigious tournament

The team includes nine Cranbrook baseball players heading to the Desert Spring Classic in Arizona

Chernove triple medals at Para-cycling track worlds

Cranbrook’s Tristen Chernove earned bronze, silver and gold medals while at world championships

College of the Rockies to add 96 beds for student housing

$17.7 million project of six cottege-style buildings to be completed by 2020

Creative Monkeys gets permanent home, launches summer camps

Grand opening for new studio is April 6

Highways maintenance contractor seeking public feedback

Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting to share results of survey ahead of pre-winter public forums

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

The Kootenay Ice, the Clock, and Time’s Arrow

It was the dying seconds in the last — the very, very… Continue reading

What’s on at the Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby Rick James (not the singer) tells the little known story… Continue reading

Letters to the Editor

Respect and Best Wishes Hats off to the fans of the Kootenay… Continue reading

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Most Read