Forum boosts international exposure

Penticton-area companies wanting to learn more about how to start or increase their overseas business can get first-hand tips from international trade experts visiting Okanagan communities.

Penticton-area companies wanting to learn more about how to start or increase their overseas business can get first-hand tips from international trade experts visiting Okanagan communities.

Penticton Economic Development Services, in partnership with the British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, is hosting a forum with nine international trade and investment representatives on Wednesday. The representatives will outline their overseas services for B.C. businesses, offer advice on building networks in foreign markets and meet one-on-one with as many companies as time allows.

This is the first time government has sent all of its international trade representatives, from seven countries around the world, into the regions to work with companies, regional economic development agencies and communities.

“Exporting is vital to the economic health of British Columbia, and helping businesses learn how to expand their markets overseas is one way to create jobs for families,” said Pat Bell, minister of jobs, tourism and innovation. “We want businesses in all parts of British Columbia to have access to our services, and by sending the trade reps to the regions, we’re making it easier for those businesses to learn about new opportunities and services.”

The representatives have come from Japan, Korea, China, India, Europe and the U.S. West Coast. Their experience spans all industry sectors, including forestry, mining, tourism and international education.

“It’s important to continue to support economic growth in the Penticton area and provide the tools needed to create jobs,” said MLA Bill Barisoff.

The lunchtime forum, at the South Okanagan Events Centre, is geared for companies who are looking to expand their exports beyond traditional markets, or seeking investment for well-defined projects so they can market these opportunities around the world. After providing an overview of their services and resources, the trade and investment representatives will meet one-on-one with local companies.

“Businesses from Penticton, Okanagan Falls, Osoyoos, Princeton, Oliver and Summerland should seriously look at this rare opportunity to learn about how to grow markets overseas,” said David Arsenault, economic development officer with Penticton Economic Development Services.

B.C.’s international trade and investment representatives are in the province from May 23 to June 5, working with businesses and officials from about a dozen communities. For more information about the Penticton event, contact ImaginePenticton at 250 493-3323, or visit the website at www.imaginepenticton.ca.