Giv­ing star­tups a leg up in China

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LI NA in Toronto re­nali@chinadailyusa.com

“Canada is at the top of the list of coun­tries friendly with China. All en­trepreneurs and in­vestors in China think Canadian com­pa­nies are the best part­ners in the world.”

When Liu Zhishuo, founder and pres­i­dent of China Canada An­gels Al­liance (CCAA), ex­pressed those sen­ti­ments at the in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony of China An­gels Men­tor­ship Pro­gram (CAMP) on Tues­day at 2015 Dis­cov­ery in Toronto, he won a round of en­thu­si­as­tic ap­plause.

As a part­ner­ship be­tween On­tario Cen­tres of Ex­cel­lence (OCE) and CCAA, CAMP is a vir­tual in­cu­ba­tion pro­gram that en­ables ap­proved On­tario start-ups to be matched with in­vestors, po­ten­tial part­ners and men­tors in and from China to give com­pa­nies an edge on break­ing into the Chi­nese mar­ket.

“The mar­ket is too fast to­day,” said Tom Corr, pres­i­dent and CEO of OCE. “Tap­ping into China’s busi­ness sec­tor in this way brings about enor­mous po­ten­tial for On­tario com­pa­nies and builds on OCE’s suc­cess­ful na­tional and in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ship port­fo­lio which in­cludes or­ga­ni­za­tions from China, Korea, Que­bec and Al­berta.”

OCE fos­ters the train­ing and devel­op­ment of the next gen­er­a­tion of in­no­va­tors and en­trepreneurs and is a key part­ner with On­tario’s in­dus­try, uni­ver­si­ties, col­leges, re­search hos­pi­tals, do­mes­tic and for­eign in­vestors, and gov­ern­ment min­istries.

“We of­fer start-up com­pa­nies in­sider men­tor­ship and the knowl­edge to adapt to the Chi­nese mar­ket,” said Liu. “They can get a share of the mar­ket right away.”

Reg­is­tered in Toronto 2014, CCAA is a Canadian not-for-profit an­gel group cer­ti­fied by cor­po­rate mem­bers of the Net­work of An­gel Or­ga­ni­za­tions-On­tario and Na­tional An­gel Cap­i­tal Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“CCAA has been work­ing very hard in On­tario’s early stage in­no­va­tion eco-sys­tem for al­most two years,” Liu con­tin­ued. “We know there are sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties and we know tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies ap­pre­ci­ate the vi­tal im­por­tance of em­brac­ing the Chi­nese mar­ket like never be­fore.”

Ac­cord­ing to Liu, the CCAA rep­re­sents 28 prom­i­nent and re­source­ful an­gel in­vestors mostly from China and 11 pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions and funds from China as of April 2015.

“CAMP is an op­por­tu­nity to help Canadian com­pa­nies who want to de­velop in China to break­down the bar­ri­ers be­tween the two mar­kets,” said Randall Howard, An­gel of Canada 2014 and gen­eral part­ner at Verdexus Cap­i­tal.

“We have been work­ing with CCAA for some time,” said Jesse Moeini­far, co-founder and CEO of Vi­afoura. “They pro­vide very unique strate­gies in dif­fer­ent ways of get­ting us ex­po­sure and pop­u­lar­ity in the Asian re­gion to achieve the suc­cess we’re look­ing for.”

The part­ner­ship sign­ing cer­e­mony, which in­cluded a plaque un­veil­ing, took place Tues­day at OCE’s 10th an­nual Dis­cov­ery con­fer­ence and kick-started the pi­lot phase of the CAMP pro­gram.

The ven­ture will begin with a se­lec­tion of 10 On­tario start-ups ob­tain­ing in­vest­ment and men­tor­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties from prom­i­nent Chi­nese an­gels.

Th­ese en­trepreneurs will then spend the next year build­ing a re­la­tion­ship in both On­tario and China with the in­vestors and learn­ing how to adapt their busi­ness plans to­wards suc­cess­fully en­ter­ing the Chi­nese mar­ket. As part of the men­tor­ship ex­pe­ri­ence, the com­pa­nies will travel to China to work with their in­vestors, giv­ing them the op­por­tu­nity to im­merse them­selves in the Chi­nese cul­ture.

LI NA / CHINA DAILY

Tom Corr (sec­ond from left), pres­i­dent and CEO of On­tario Cen­tres of Ex­cel­lence (OCE), is joined by Liu Zhishuo (right), founder and pres­i­dent of the China Canada An­gels Al­liance (CCAA), and mem­bers of CCAA at the launch of the China An­gels Men­tor­ship Pro­gram on Tues­day dur­ing 2015 Dis­cov­ery in Toronto.

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