This last year has been a massive challenge for Revelstoke businesses, especially when dealing with our traditional US market. Local businesses are local employers, so developing new business opportunities goes hand and hand with creating new jobs in our region. In order to prosper as a region, we MUST create new markets and customers for our businesses!
The federal government’s economic action plan, 2009/2010, invested over $100 million dollars in Kootenay – Columbia. That kind of investment was a one-time bridge over troubled water.
Now, it is time to plan for 2011 and beyond. Where and how we can further build on our local successes?
With Kootenay – Columbia residents and businesses in mind, I recently organised a delegation of Canadian politicians and business people who travelled to Vietnam to meet with commercial interests in Southeast Asia. First reports indicate substantial success.
This project was a part of an ongoing series of steps that I have been designing to bring the concept home to our region. We have incredible potential that we can capitalize on by pursuing international markets. We have the resources, and we have the talent to make this a reality.
In the coming weeks and months, I want to build a dialogue with the local Chambers of Commerce. By creating a partnership between ourselves, we can generate awareness of international opportunities for our business communities. There are significant opportunities to expand out of current markets. By complimenting existing North American markets and pursuing readily available international options, our local businesses can tap into new successes.
There is a considerable amount of assistance that the Canadian Government offers to business looking to pursue international markets. In fact, it is much easier to expand into international markets than most people think. My office will work with our local Chambers of Commerce to ensure that those tools and information are readily available to interested small businesses in Kootenay – Columbia.
The single greatest strength of our corner of British Columbia is our people. We have the talent, we have the resources, and I know that we have the drive to succeed. I remain committed to helping our people follow in the tracks of the “Little Engine That Could”. I look forward to working with local small businesses to help them access the assets offered by the federal government.
Ultimately, we may be able to build a delegation to Asia that will open new international markets. It’s one way that we can ensure our continued prosperity.
Jim Abbott is the Conservative Party MP for the federal Kootenay-Columbia riding and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation.