Entrepreneurs see bright future in Vancouver
Nearly 20 Chinese entrepreneurs and investors held a discussion on Wednesday at the Asia Pacific Foundation Canada (APF) Vancouver office to explore Canadian government support for businesses and entrepreneurs.
Co-hosted by APF and the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies at the Beedie School of Business of Simon Fraser University, the panel included Jimmy Mitchell, vice-president of AdvantageBC, and Joan Elangovan, director of the Vancouver Economic Commission. They shared insights on the advantages of doing business in British Columbia.
“Ten years ago, money flowed from Canada to China mostly, but now many Chinese investors are starting to invest here. Since January this year, BC is set to become the first foreign government to sell bonds directly into the Chinese market. Through financing, we are linking our future directly to China’s economy,” Mitchell said.
Considered one of the most cost-effective cities in the world for expanding business, Vancouver has become one of the top business hubs in North America. Entrepreneurs in BC not only enjoy the benefit of the lowest tax rates in North America, they also have a better chance of receiving support through government funding, especially in creative industries.
“For Chinese investors, Vancouver is an ideal place to step in (and do business) among cities in North America. Here we have a large Chinese community, and people are connected with various hometown-based or alumnibased associations. People are connected, and resources are easily shared with each other,” Elangovan said.
“Chinese investors should take advantage of current tax benefits and business opportunities here in BC, especially in creative and high-tech sectors,” she said.
Just in the past year, the BC government launched a $100 million venture capital fund to support local tech startups, as the government looks to build a more innovative, creative and green province.
Elangovan attended the North America Investment and Entrepreneurship Forum co-organized by the Tsinghua University Alumni Association and the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management Alumni Association’s Western Canada Chapter on May 28. She addressed the essential role that creative sectors play in society and applauded the BC government for supporting local businesses ranging from film and media to animation and IT industry.
Silicon Valley-based venture capital company Amino Capital discussed investing in tech startups to Vancouver’s Chinese entrepreneurs during the forum.
“I’m deeply surprised by the level of support the BC government is willing to offer to help local businesses grow,” said Larry Li, managing partner at Amino Capital. “This has certainly made Vancouver even more attractive to investors.”
A Tsinghua alumnus, Li has high hopes for Chinese entrepreneurs in Vancouver and expressed strong interest in future collaboration.
The BC government has focused not only on the domestic market, but also on strengthening international trade relationships, particularly with China, a process that creates many opportunities for Chinese entrepreneurs.