Canada 150 Business Mission to Toronto

Overview

The Canada 150 business mission held from June 8th - 10th in Toronto was a first of its kind delegation to be jointly organized by The Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) & The Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC). The High Commissioner of Canada to India, H.E Nadir Patel led a delegation of 138 companies from India to Toronto representing various economic sectors. The program was spread over three days comprising of high profile networking opportunities, creating a viable platform for meaningful B2B engagements, and a means of receiving first hand business information from high level government and industry representatives from India and Canada. The delegation got an opportunity to interact with notable dignitaries such as Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism and the Member of Parliament, Honourable Michael Chan, MPP, Minister of Trade (City of Toronto), Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Honourable John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, C.P. Gurnani, CEO, Tech Mahindra, Harinder Takhar, CEO, Paytm Labs & Deepak Chopra, CEO, Canada Post.

Agenda
Day 1 - June 8th
  • Welcome Session (Morning)
  • Invest in Canada session by Toronto Global & Gowlings WLG (Afternoon)
  • Interactive session between women entrepreneurs & B2B Meetings (Afternoon)
  • Networking Reception (Evening)
Day 2 - June 9th
  • Canada-India Business Symposium (all day)
Day 3 - June 10th
  • ICCC Annual Gala Night (evening)
June 8th

The program was initiated with a welcome orientation by ICBC CEO Nadira Hamid. This was followed by remarks by prominent board members and partners of ICBC such as Mr. Rakesh Nangia, President, ICBC, Mr. Jaimin Shah, Chairperson, Gujarat Regional Council and Mr. Arun Srivastava, President, ICCC, on how to leverage the maximum benefit out of this visit. Consul General Dinesh Bhatia from the Consulate of India in Toronto emphasized that the Government of India is equally keen to strengthen the bilateral trade ties for which the commercial wing of the Consulate is always available to be a liaison to India based companies. The morning session ended with High Commissioner Nadir Patel highlighting the scope in Canada for Indian investors especially in the fields of cleantech, ICT, agriculture, food-processing and small scale industry.

The afternoon session focused on outlining the favourable conditions and opportunities in Canada that is available to Indian investors. The session had key panelists from Toronto Global and Gowlings WLG, moderated by Robert McCubbing, Counsellor (Commercial) & Senior Trade Commissioner, The High Commission of Canada in New Delhi. Delegates were informed about the new business friendly reforms implemented by the Government of Canada in recent times through presentations. They also got an opportunity to learn how to pitch their business proposals to the Government of Canada, which business sectors are key to Canada’s growth and the tax and legal policies concerning bilateral trade. The session culminated with a Q&A session where delegates posed several questions to the panelists and received informative responses.

The evening networking session was held at the Toronto Board of Trade where delegates got to interact with key trade and business associates in the Toronto commercial zone. The evening had the Honourable Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains addressing the guests highlighting the need for talent, expertise and investment in cutting edge technology from India. The Minister also pointed out the several funding packages available especially to startup firms to prosper in the Canadian business community. Delegates had the opportunity to interact one-on-one with the Honourable Minister.

June 9th

The Canada-India business symposium on June 9th was held at the Hyatt Regency in Toronto and witnessed a strong audience of 500+ representatives from India and Canada. The symposium led by Mr. Arun Srivastava, President of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) had the The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Trade, Honourable John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, Her Worship Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga, His Excellency Nadir Patel, High Commissioner of Canada, Vikas Swarup, High Commissioner of India to Canada, Dinesh Bhatia, Consul General of India in Toronto. ICBC CEO Nadira Hamid delivered the welcome address and was also presented a memento from ICCC. Prominent Canadian and Indian government officials, diplomats, thought leaders from the world of business participated in the panel discussions at the symposium. These included (from India) Mr. Harsh Dhingra, Chief Country Representative, Bombardier Transportation; Mr Rakesh Nangia, Managing Partner, Nangia & Co, Mr. Ashish Chauhan, Managing Director and CEO, Bombay Stock Exchange; Mr. Srinivas Ranganathan, Country Head, Infosys, and (from Canada), Mr. Suneet Singh Tuli, Co-founder and CEO of DataWind; Mr. Kerry Adler CEO of SkyPower Global; Mr. Iain Stewart, President, National Research Council.

June 10th

The three day event culminated on June 10th with ICCC organizing their Annual Gala Night preceded by a VIP reception at the Metro Convention Centre. The evening had addresses by the dignitaries from India and Canada. A special message from the Honourable Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau congratulating the organizers and the delegates from India on the occasion of Canada 150 years was displayed followed by remarks from the Honourable Minister of Small Business – Bardish Chagger. The keynote speaker was CP Gurnani from Tech Mahindra. The evening combined with entertainment and business networking took centrestage with prominent business owners in Canada getting awards and recognition for their efforts in the India-Canada business corridor.

Notable quotes from the speakers

“By focusing on key sectors, this symposium will help Canada make its ties with India meaningful,” – Mr. Nadir Patel, High Commissioner of Canada to India.

“The Canada-India Business Symposium will give concrete directions to our efforts at increasing bilateral business,” – Mr. Dinesh Bhatia, the Consul General of India in Toronto.

“Our goal to connect small to medium scale enterprises in India with opportunities in Canada by offering them this platform today has come to successful outcome. A special welcome to the women entrepreneurs from Gujarat,” – Ms. Nadira Hamid, CEO, ICBC

“Our aim is to plan for a future that is likely to emerge after the bilateral negotiations on CEPA and FIPPA conclude into agreements,” Mr. Arun Srivastava, President, ICCC

Feedback

Comments from delegates

Takeaways from the Business Mission

Areas of improvement

Based on ICBC’s experience and feedback from the delegates, the following are areas where ICBC needs to focus for future business missions:

  • There needs to be special focus on B2B connections. Our endeavor should be to establish a stronger relationship with small and medium enterprises in Canada, so that going forward ICBC can independently take on the role of a stronger liaison in the SME sector.
  • There is a real opportunity to connect Indian and Canadian startup and growth stage technology companies in areas like software, cloud infrastructure, e-commerce, artificial intelligence and machine learning, education technology, mobile app development, Fin-tech and finance, internet-of-things and hardware. It is in this sector where ICBC can look to capitalize in creating an enhanced platform than what exists at present.
  • ICBC should focus on quality of delegates as opposed to numbers
  • A business mission folder containing detailed agendas, with venue locations, business contacts and list of suggestions for general sightseeing and tips should be created for the convenience of the delegates. Although all this was present online, delegates still expected a physical folder with these details.
  • A pre-mission webinar should be conducted on orientation for the delegates prior to leaving to Canada.
Notable achievements
  • Visibility as a strong and credible business chamber connecting India and Canada. This was a gratifying experience to be acknowledged and appreciated for all that we have achieved so far.
  • Increase in membership – both Canadians and Indians have approached us with enthusiastic interest.
  • Social media fans and followers on Facebook & Twitter have increased more than 3 times. Facebook fans increased from 200 to 751 and followers on Twitter stands at 724 presently.
  • This has increased the standard of ICBC and as a result the bar is higher for future business missions.
  • With the increase of local and national activities conducted by ICBC, the interest and expectation for overseas activities have also proportionately increased.

A special thank you to ICBC Board Directors Mr. Rakesh Nangia, Mr. Harsh Dhingra, Mr. Jaimin Shah for their participation, guidance and support for the delegation and our partners such as Air Canada, Uniglobe Mod Travel & Forvol International Services.

A special acknowledgement and recognition to Shouvik Nag (Executive Coordinator, ICBC) for his painstaking hard work and dedication in all the work related to the delegation. Shouvik took charge of screening delegation applications with the help of CHC and coordinated activities at all levels to ensure smooth deliverance of services before, during and after the business mission including putting together post mission report.