The Nanaimo trade mission to Calgary arrived home confident that the many connections made in the booming Alberta city will reap huge benefits for the city and the mid-Island region.
Sasha Angus, CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, is one of 14 people from Nanaimo's financial, political and educational communities, including Mayor John Ruttan, who participated in the 36-hour mission to Calgary.
They returned home Friday.
Angus said a lot was accomplished in a very short time. "It was an incredible networking opportunity for everyone involved and all the people we talked to there said they were left with a very favourable impression of Nanaimo," Angus said. "The trade mission was such a success that we're looking at doing it more frequently to give Nanaimo's businesses and organizations a chance to meet and find new partners in Calgary."
The trade mission was originally scheduled for June, soon after WestJet launched its new daily flight service between Nanaimo and Calgary, the first non-stop service from Nanaimo to another major centre other than Vancouver.
But the major floods that swamped much of the Alberta city's downtown core at the time forced the cancellation of the trip until now.
Angus said as part of the tour, teams from Tourism Nanaimo and WestJet conferred on the ways and means to promote tourism and travel between Nanaimo and Calgary,.
Members of the Innovate Calgary team met with their counterparts from Innovation Vancouver Island to determine in what ways they can co-operate and assist each other through new partnerships and investments.
He said a team he led also met with members from the Calgary Economic Development Corporation to explore partnerships that would prove to mutually beneficial, as well as officials from the Alberta Economic Authority to seek opportunities in the province's busy and large oilsands development for Nanaimo companies.
"The AEA also invited us to send a delegation to an upcoming global business summit that will be held at Banff that could see incredible returns for the local business community," Angus said.
"Our trade delegation held a reception at Calgary Airport on Thursday to host that city's business community and it went very well. Lots of business and other opportunities and more avenues for Nanaimo businesses to access venture capital came out of the mission. It was a great trip and there are many opportunities for us to follow up on at a later date."
Angus, who has family and friends in Calgary and is familiar with the city, said he was very impressed with the clean-up job in Calgary's downtown since the floods from the Bow River subsided.
"It was a horrible disaster and there's are still some areas that have yet to be cleared away, but the people of Calgary made a great effort and the place looks fantastic once again," he said.
"It was great to the city return to its vibrant self."
© Copyright 2013