The Town of Sylvan Lake’s Economic Development Officer, Vicki Kurz, recently returned from an investment mission to China.
Kurz was offered the opportunity to participate in the provincial government’s Alberta-China Trade and Investment Mission following a community familiarization tour held with representatives from Alberta Culture and Tourism (ACT) in Sylvan Lake earlier this year.
With the approval of the Chief Administrative Officer, Betty Osmond and encouragement from both Town Council and the Business Recruitment Team (BRT), Kurz registered for the tourism industry portion of the mission to China.
The Nov. 15 – 26 mission included a three city stop commencing in Chengdu, then heading to Guangzhou and ending in Shanghai. Kurz stated the trip was well programmed and allowed for one-on-one meetings in each community, following a translated presentation to interested tourism investors and developers.
Kurz brought with her extensive marketing materials highlighting three potential projects of interest to showcase. The information was translated into simple Chinese and was packaged with the Town’s tourism sector profile.
Investment opportunities highlighted by Kurz to potential Chinese investors included lodge/conference facility, a themed amusement park as well as downtown mixed use development such as upscale retail, office and condominium apartments.
SHANGHAI – The Shanghai skyline shines beautifully at night. Kurz was able to capture a stunning photo o the beautiful night lights. Photo courtesy of Vicki Kurz
Approximately 80 companies and organizations from Alberta participated in the mission. In total, Kurz met face-to-face with 12 different potential investors and developers throughout the mission as a result of the industry sector breakout session presentations. The province provided translators for each mission participant.Kurz explained during a recent meeting with Town Council that one of those twelve investors is seeking opportunities for projects in smaller communities such as Sylvan Lake and intends to make a trip to Canada in December 2016 or January of 2017. Kurz remains in contact with this potential investor through WeChat – the preferred Chinese app for communications.
She explained she was pleased with the results from the investment mission to China. Kurz detailed to Council that of the 80 organizations that went, many didn’t come home with a lead.
“It looks like we have some projects that are of interest to investors,” said Kurz to Council during last week’s Committee of the Whole Meeting. “If there is continued interest from this investor we will need to look at resources we have available to host them in the future.”
Kurz explained this could mean some Town staff and members of Council would undertake cultural awareness training at that time. She explained the Chinese are proficient hosts with immaculate customer service. The same level of excellence would need to be seen in Sylvan Lake when the investor was visiting.
“They are the ultimate in customer service,” said Kurz. “If we were to go ahead with this we would need to host them appropriately in order to grab their attention.”
Council and Town staff were supportive of Kurz decision to continue conversations with the investors in hopes of having the opportunity to host them later this year or in 2017.
“I think we have an opportunity here,” said Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Sylvan Lake, Betty Osmond. “We would have to invest time and would have to do some planning to ensure this individual gets some very positive exposure to the community.”
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – Minister Deron Bilous and Ron Hoffman, Alberta’s senior representative to the Asia-Pacific Basin, are joined by business leaders who participated on the successful mission to Asia. PHOTO COURTESY OF GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA
Trade mission expands Asia market for Alberta business
Economic Development and Trade Minister for the Government of Alberta, Deron Bilous and more than 86 Alberta businesses and organizations met with hundreds of potential Asian investors, buyers and government leaders during a 12-day trade mission to Japan and China.
In China, the minister participated in trade and investment conferences alongside Alberta companies, municipalities, universities and industry associations. More than 1,200 Chinese enterprises and dozens of senior government officials met the Alberta delegation, with sessions in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Yantai.
The Japan portion of the mission focused on food exports and innovation in forestry. Minister Bilous attended the Canada Food Expo, a forestry roundtable with industry leaders and experts, and a cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) seminar. Alberta is a world leader in CNC research and commercialization. CNC is a natural, renewable nanomaterial produced from forestry or agricultural pulp and fibres and is used in a variety of industrial applications.
As part of the Alberta Jobs Plan, the recently created Export Support Fund provides small businesses with up to $20,000 for a variety of export expansion activities. Eleven businesses used this support to participate in the trade mission. The first round of applications for the program is open until Jan. 31, 2017 with a second round of intakes starting Feb. 1, 2017.
“Alberta businesses lead the country in many sectors and have a lot to offer in the international marketplace,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade. “We want to diversify our markets, so we can continue building a stable, resilient economy for the future. The connections we made in Asia turn into new opportunities for Alberta businesses, which mean new jobs here at home.”
Highlights from the mission include: InnoTech Alberta and Alberta Innovates have partnered with Hokuetsu Kishu Paper Inc. to research and develop cellulose nanocrystals for commercial use.
Alberta products were in the spotlight at the Canada Food Expo, with 171 Japanese buyers in attendance.
Minister Bilous renewed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Alberta and the Guangdong Province Department of Science and Technology. The agreement will create opportunities to share economic and trade expertise and technologies and promote commercial development.
Alberta and Chinese organizations signed or announced 20 agreements during the mission.