As someone who has set up seven successful companies over his 35-year career, Canadian entrepreneur Peter van der Gracht is an authority on how, when and where to do your business.
In Sydney as part of a visit to present on innovation in Canada’s information and communications technology sector (ICT), and promoting Canada as a place for Australian business to look to when thinking about potential expansion to North America, van der Gracht partnered with Martin Arseneault from the Trade Commissioner Service to hold events for Australian businesses.
“I’m here to promote Canada as a place to come and set up business. We think it’s an exciting time, because of some of the challenges in the US, Australian companies who are looking to come to North America are thinking about Canada now, so I’m excited to be here,” van der Gracht told Canada Down Under.
“Whether it’s development, technology development, whether it’s go to market, almost in any industry you could imagine, there’s a program in Canada that helps support businesses in Canada do better, so it is absolutely world-class in terms of support for business.”
Over Peter’s career, he has been or is currently, chairman, director, consultant or investor in over twenty for-profit organizations, and is involved in a number of not-for-profit ventures. His expertise in Foreign Direct Investment was a major draw card for Australian businesses during his trip – and his job was to detail to those businesses why Canada, despite its distance, should be their next port of call.
“I’ve started seven companies in my 35-year career, and I’ve done Foreign Direct Investment, so I can speak first hand as to what makes sense, some of the challenges I’ve had in the past, and so I think it come across more authentically,” he said.
“It is a long way away, I know because I flew here. Technology is making the world smaller, we all, with social media and technology, can be right around the corner even though it’s half way around the world. I don’t see geographic separation as being the kind of barrier it used to be.”
He says that Australia’s similarities to Canada, given the countries histories and strengths, made them obvious trading partners and destinations.
“I think more important than the geographic is the type of country Canada is compared to Australia, very similar industries, so if you’re successful in Australia, I bet you’re going to be successful in Canada; similar Commonwealth background in terms of our legacy and our history and our laws, similar education, so I think in many ways Canada would seem like a second home for Australian companies,” he said.
“A similar strength to Australia is that we’ve got plenty of natural resources in Canada, so technology that supports and makes natural resource industries more efficient is another great example of ICT and how it’s impacting, and Canada is a great place to be if you want to be in that space.”
If you are interested to learn more about how to do business in Canada, you can contact Canada’s Trade Vice-Consul Martin Arseneault at firstname.lastname@example.org