Okanagan businesses extending their reach

Attracting international business to Penticton and the Okanagan has become one of the focuses for the Okanagan Valley Economic Development Society.

Attracting international business to Penticton and the Okanagan has become one of the focuses for the Okanagan Valley Economic Development Society.

In partnership with the Okanagan Valley Economic Development Society, which includes the Penticton Economic Development Services, a trade and investment officer has been contracted from the United Kingdom. It’s a move to assist in the development and implementation of a trade and investment program for communities in the Okanagan Valley, linking firms in the U.K. with local companies seeking trade, investment and overall collaboration.

“There is a lot of ex-pats that have been moving, or are interested in moving to Canada. We want to be the first place they think of,” said David Arsenault, economic development officer in Penticton. “People will see what the Okanagan has to offer and bring their business and their skills to the area.”

Arsenault said U.K. businesses are attracted to Canada because there is no language barrier and there is a draw to the business climate and lifestyle.

“We have the infrastructure, the people and we are starting to be well-known in the tech field. Of course that means jobs, innovation, green technology and bringing people and new ideas here. It helps local companies that have innovative businesses to potentially sign joint ventures in technology opportunities,” said Arsenault.

He said there are currently 19 working partnerships in the Okanagan with the U.K. The Penticton economic office has also assisted local companies in connecting with business in Germany, Russia, Romania, Hungary and China.

“It’s interesting that from a little industrial park in Penticton, there are some really innovating companies that are doing work around the world.”

“Some companies are looking at Brazil and extending their reach away from this market. That is not to say there is not work in this area, however they are exporting their products and services,” said Arsenault.