June 6, 2016
HALIFAX, NS – The Centre for Women in Business is embarking today on a trade mission to Jamaica designed to give Nova Scotia businesses an opportunity to break into new markets, and forge strong business relationships in the Caribbean. Organized with the support of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the multi-sector mission is taking place June 6-10. Participation was open to all export-ready businesses in the province, with a specific focus on those specializing in renewable energy, education, and professional services.
ACOA has been a proud supporter of the Centre for Women and Business since its inception in 1992. Through strategic investments, like those in the Centre, the Government of Canada recognizes the significant contributions women entrepreneurs are making to the Atlantic Canadian economy. By helping women access the tools and supports they need to grow their companies, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to increasing the number of women-led businesses in the region so that they can, in turn, expand Canada’s export economy.
It is not the first time the Centre has been involved in such a mission, but it is the first time that Centre members have made up the majority of delegates. In fact, half of those who are heading to Jamaica today are Centre members, including Kisserup International Trade Roots, Penny Doherty Literacy, Recognize Your Potential, and Twirp Communications.
Other participants include the Association of Workplace Educators of Nova Scotia (AWENS), Nova Scotia Community College, EfficiencyOne Services, and Dantra Specialty Products.
Tanya Priske, Executive Director of the Centre for Women in Business, said many opportunities for collaboration were identified in November of 2014, when the Centre embarked on a Caribbean mission as a participant. Led by ACOA and Nova Scotia Business Inc., that mission paved the way for an incoming delegation of Caribbean business women. Their visit to Nova Scotia coincided with Centre’s annual International Women’s Day celebration in March of 2015.
“Over the past year and a half, we have developed strong connections to relevant business organizations in Jamaica, and have seen so many opportunities for entrepreneurs in our community, so organizing this mission made sense,” said Priske. “Even the best technology can’t take the place of old-fashioned relationship building, and face-to-face meetings where people share challenges and offer solutions that could turn into lucrative business deals.”
Some of the opportunities identified include work in clean technology, education and training, various professional services, engineering and infrastructure, environmental services, agriculture and fisheries, and manufacturing.
The High Commission of Canada to Jamaica has played an integral role in coordinating the mission on the ground, arranging market briefing meetings with commission representatives, and key business associations in Jamaica.
Canada and Jamaica have a long-standing and mutually beneficial trade and investment relationship. In 2015, Jamaica was Canada’s fourth largest bilateral merchandise training partner in the Caribbean region.
Last year alone, Canada’s exports to Jamaica totaled $114 million, and imports stood at $240.5 million.
“The trade relationship between Canada and Jamaica is strong and continues to pay dividends—and there is room for more players,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister Responsible for ACOA. “This multi-sector trade mission exposes participants—both women and men—to new markets, inspires new exporters, establishes profitable relationships, and allows business leaders to envision and establish themselves in a foreign market.”