Markham’s Largest-Ever Trade Delegation to India Returns

Mayor and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Jaipur

Mayor and Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Jaipur

Successful Mission Strengthens Markham as Canada’s High-Tech Capital and Gateway to North America for Indian Business

The largest ever trade delegation of Canadian Small Medium Enterprise sector companies to go to India has returned from a highly successful business mission that took them to New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur and Dubai this January.

Part of Markham’s global economic strategy, the mission—co-led by Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) President Satish Thakkar—surpassed all expectations. Over 60 business leaders from Markham and across the GTA representing ICT, financial services, medical devices, professional scientific and technical services, food and beverage, and business services joined the delegation comprising business people from across Canada with a majority clustered in the Greater Toronto Area.

“In November of last year, we announced that we would be partnering with the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce to lead a business mission to India.  When it comes to our global economic development strategy, we’ve had great success with the partnership model,” said Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “The ICCC and members of the delegation brought a wealth of market expertise and knowledge. Together we created an expanded network of contacts that allowed us to secure more meetings and open more doors than any one organization could ever have achieved on its own.”

The delegation benefitted from exclusive meetings with representatives of the Government of India and state governments, plus Canadian and Indian policy-makers.  Networking opportunities with business owners and local Indian entrepreneurs were abundant, with New Delhi and Mumbai offering the chance to connect with members of the diplomatic corps at the Canadian High Commission and at the Canadian Consulate.

In New Delhi, the delegation held a half-day workshop with members of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), at which time the CII announced the launch of their Canada-India Committee, a subgroup focused on bettering Canada-India relations through business and industry ties. In addition, Mr. Som Mittal, President of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has established a Canada-India Technology Roundtable.

“I’m very pleased to say that Markham will host some great firsts this year, including Canada-India Committee’s first meeting in Canada, which I will host this spring” said Mayor Scarpitti. “In addition, Mr. Thakkar has invited Mr. Mittal to be the keynote speaker at the ICCC’s annual general meeting in June. Mr. Mittal has also announced that the Roundtable’s inaugural meeting will be held in Markham this year.”

In the growing business and IT centre of Pune, relationships initiated with the Mahratta Chamber of Industry and Commerce during a 2009 visit were expanded.

“We took the next and very important step of signing a Memorandum of Understanding with them to formalize our goal to facilitate trade and investment between us,” said Carolina Moretti, Councillor and Chair of the Economic Development Committee.

Meetings in Pune also included a visit to the Venture Center, a technology incubator similar in focus and mandate to the Markham Convergence Centre, and the College of Engineering. Markham-based Quanser recently announced that it has designated the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) as the company’s center of excellence.

“The Quanser Center of Excellence is a regional hub of engineering education expertise for knowledge dissemination and collaboration,” continued Ms. Moretti. “Quanser donated a laboratory that supports everything from teaching basic engineering concepts to enabling advanced research in aerospace, robotics, mechatronics, structural dynamics and electronics.”

In Jaipur, members of the delegation attended the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), which is celebrated annually, on January 9, to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India. Delegates met with key business and government officials from India and across the globe. Mayor Scarpitti sat down with Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Commerce for the State of Rajasthan, and Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat.

In Mumbai delegates attended three business promotion and networking sessions including an event hosted by the World Trade Centre Mumbai and the All India Association of Industry (AIAI). During the event, two MOUs were signed by Mayor Scarpitti; One with the World Trade Centre Mumbai and one with AIAI to further business ties between India and Canada.

“Mayor Scarpitti has been an outstanding leader in the Canada-India partnership and his leadership made a vital contribution to advancing key relationships in India. We at the ICCC look forward to collaborating with the Town of Markham in the follow-up emanating from this four-city India mission,” said ICCC President, Satish Thakkar.

Mayor Scarpitti and Councillor Moretti also met with Rolta–a global market leader in information technology solutions, services and software whose Canadian headquarters are located in Markham–to discuss Rolta’s plans for growth and expansion in Canada.

“This mission couldn’t have gone better and we could not have asked for a more engaged and ambitious group of delegates,” said Stephen Chait, Director of Economic Development for Markham. “This mission was an important step in the advancement of our 2008 global economic strategy.  I think our contacts in India and Dubai understand that Markham is an excellent launch pad into the North American market. Mission accomplished!” 

PHOTO CUTLINE: Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti (right) meets Dr. Shashi Tharoor, author, human rights activist, and member of Indian Parliament during a stop in Jaipur for the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), which is celebrated annually on January 9 to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of India.

India Mission 2012 – Backgrounder

Designed to further Markham’s business relations with India and Dubai, the mission focused on four industry verticals and promoted key advantages to India and Dubai based business leaders and investors.

Delegate Quotes:

“Mayor Scarpitti and his team, together with the ICCC, created realistic business opportunities and channels that I would not have easily accessed on my own.”

  ~ Terry Sawh, President, Topnotch Employment Services Inc.

“I was delighted to participate on the Markham/ICCC business mission to India. It affirmed for me the importance of being in India and the critical role our new Indian office will play in the future of our firm.”

  ~ Ruby Maini, President, HR Strategies Consulting

Industry verticals:

  • Convergence of Life Sciences and ICT (positioning the Markham Convergence Centre as the launch pad into the North American market)
  • Financial Services
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (engineering, architecture, planning, etc.)
  • Higher Education

Identified mission objectives:

  • Attend Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Forum in Jaipur;
  • Building on 2009 India mission and 2011 Markham-based India events;
  • Promote Markham as a prime investment opportunity for India-based investors and business leaders;
  • Initiate agreements between Markham and select business chambers focused on building business tools.

India Business Mission Highlights:

·         Her Excellency Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil, the President of the Republic of India, presented the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award to the ICCC during the PBD Forum;

·         Meeting with the Chief Minister of Commerce for the State of Rajasthan, the Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat, Mr. Modi;

·         Networking session with 100 local business people at event hosted by World Trade Centre Mumbai and the All India Association (AIAI) of Industry;

·         Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with World Trade Centre and AIAI to further business ties between India and Canada;

·         Mayor Scarpitti and Councillor Carolina Moretti met with Rolta, a global market leader in information technology solutions, services and software to discuss plans for Rolta’s plans for growth and expansion in Canada;

·         Mayor Scarpitti met with Mayor of Mumbai, Mrs. Shraddha Jadhav at Mumbai City Hall;

·         MOU between Markham and Mahratta Chamber of Industry and Commerce to formalize the partnership and facilitate trade and investment;

·         Visit to the Venture Center, a technology incubator similar to the Markham Convergence Centre.

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