As the Managing Director,
Technology, Research & Innovation
for India, what is your brief?
My responsibilities include the strategic
promotion and facilitation of trade
and investment between B.C and India
in the four priority sectors of Information
and Communications Technology (ICT),
Life Sciences and Biotechnology (BT),
Clean Technology (CT) and Higher Education.
Our team has extensive private sector
experience; we know first-hand the
energy, commitment, and drive required
to identify, pursue and bring opportunities
to fruition. And that is why we participate
in trade shows and undertake a number
of other initiatives to proactively
communicate with Indian organizations
that wish to obtain advanced technology,
approach new markets, or collaborate
with expertise-rich partners. If you're
such an organization, located anywhere
in India, we can help you take advantage
of the advantages in B.C.
B.C.'s Ministry of Small Business,
Technology and Economic Development
plans to open additional offices in
India to promote economic cooperation
in sectors other than the four priority
sectors managed by the Bangalore office.
Why has Bangalore been chosen to be
home to the first B.C. Trade and Investment
Office in India?
With its knowledge-based economy,
innovation centers, and vibrant IT,
BT, and CT sectors, Bangalore is not
only a microcosm of India's world-class
knowledge economy, but also parallels
B.C.'s open, innovation-based economy.
However, the similarities don't end
there. With its pleasant climate,
cultural diversity, and livability,
Bangalore enjoys the same kind of
position that B.C. does in North America,
and is quite similar, in those respects,
to B.C.'s principal city of Vancouver,
which has been voted the most livable
city in the world many years in a
row. Our location in Bangalore also
makes us conveniently reachable to
organizations located in most of India's
key centers of business and industry.
These are among the primary reasons
for establishing B.C.'s first Trade
and Investment Office in India in
this city. And, during his 2007 visit
to India, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell
was highly impressed with Bangalore
and the strides made by various technology
Can you highlight some of the success
stories in the sectors you mentioned
as key areas since the opening of
the Bangalore office?
Both Indian and B.C. organizations
have responded with enthusiasm to
the office in Bangalore. When I traveled
to Vancouver in June, the B.C. business
community-which includes many Indian
entrepreneurs-demonstrated great interest
in and strong support for our initiatives.
Encouraged by this response and the
longstanding support of the Indian
business community in B.C., we are
proactively organizing a number of
initiatives to promote Indo-B.C. economic
cooperation in the priority sectors.
A delegation from B.C. comprising
eminent educationists, researchers,
and senior management representatives
from leading universities will participate
in the FICCI Higher Education Summit
(New Delhi, Nov 6th-7th). Following
this, we are organizing a high-level
business delegation from B.C. that
is likely to be led by a B.C. minister.
This delegation will participate in
the B.C. Pavilion at the Energy India
2009 trade show (Dec 10th-13th, Mumbai)
and also make presentations at the
dedicated "B.C. Cleantech Opportunities"
seminar at the show. Then, the delegation
will have high-level meetings with
state government ministers and prominent
business and government heads, in
addition to B2B matchmaking meetings
and industrial travel not only in
Mumbai, but also in Bangalore and
Chennai. We are also working with
leading industry associations, apex
chambers of commerce, and Indian life
sciences and biotech companies to
organize a delegation that will represent
India at BioPartnering North America
(Jan 24th-26th, 2010; Vancouver, B.C.)
which will feature a B2B matchmaking
summit dedicated to catalyzing Indo-B.C.
Cooperation in the sector.
The priority sectors are highly
specialized ones, what is the extent
of development in these areas in India?
There's lots of research going on
in India in all of our priority sectors.
We feel that there are tremendous
avenues for collaboration, given the
advanced IP owned by organizations
in B.C. and the cutting-edge R&D
happening there, along with the markets
available in India now.
Are Indian companies in a position
to cope with such advanced development?
Given the low-cost focus here, this
is the perfect time to address bottom-of-the-pyramid
opportunities by adapting new technology
to local requirements. As growth slows
in mature markets, Indian partners
can adapt B.C. technologies, ideas
and products to suit not only India,
but also many other emerging and developing
markets. This is just one example
of how Indian companies can leverage
advanced technologies from B.C. Indian
firms can also expand and upgrade
their offerings to include high-end
solutions. Collaborating with B.C.
organizations can speed up the process.
What are the criteria for
a one-to-one match between Indian
and BC companies?
If there is the prospect that two
businesses can be matched and turned
into reality that alone is enough
to get started. We don't apply any
criteria when striking a deal. The
companies need to be comfortable about
the deal themselves. It goes without
saying that companies critically analyze
the value each partner brings to the
table, complementarities, relative
size, and the willingness and ability
of the partner to deliver on obligations.
How do you manage the shortcomings
that may arise on either side?
It's realistic to expect shortcomings,
but B.C. has the unique advantage
of being very Asia-Pacific oriented.
Many Indian and Asian people and companies
are settled in B.C. and do very well.
B.C. firms are also doing well in
India. Why should the future be any
different? I honestly believe that
shortcomings can and will be overcome
... in much the same way these companies
have overcome them.
Immigration to a city or province
depends on the development of its
industries and in turn availability
of employment. What strategy would
you adopt in selling B.C. companies
to India and vice versa?
B.C.'s provincial nominee program
(PNP) for immigration offers skilled
workers, business owners and entrepreneurs
the occasion to complete the immigration
process on average in as little as
a fourth of the time that is required
for the federal immigration process.
I believe that this program coupled
with the fact that Canada in general,
and B.C. in particular, offer, in
stark contrast with many other industrialized
nations, a truly welcoming environment
for immigrants where diversity is
celebrated, make B.C. a very attractive
destination for companies that wish
to invest or establish a presence
there, even if it's a small business.
You might also recall that in a May
2009 interview with the Economic Times
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that
"We opened a development lab
in Vancouver (B.C.) because we could
not get visas for everybody, and the
Canadians were willing to give visas."
The proactive approach adopted by
the government at both the federal
and provincial level to facilitating
the mobility of talent is just one
of the many reasons why we encourage
companies to consider making B.C.
their North American base.
B.C. has been able to successfully
reduce its dependency on fossil fuels
and move towards a low-carbon economy
by adopting clean energy sources.
How does BC intend to help India to
cope with its energy needs?
Through long-term R&D initiatives
and sustained investment, B.C has
developed cutting-edge IP and advanced
technology in the area of renewable
energy and clean tech. B.C has also
developed the expertise to take advantage
of its abundant resources to produce
hydroelectric power. B.C.'s energy,
clean tech and green tech cluster
comprises of companies with expertise
in renewable energy (bio-fuels, small-scale
hydro, solar PV and wind), hydrogen
fuel cell technology, power technologies
such as clean fuel systems, advanced
lithium power cells, power conversion,
power measurement, and the whole range
of energy efficiency and environmental
B.C. companies are actively looking
for projects, partners and funding
to help make the same technologies
and solutions available in the Indian
market and elsewhere, preferably at
the significantly lower price points
that can be achieved here.
Examples include Legend Power, whose
voltage optimization system pays for
itself in three years or less by helping
industrial clients cut their electricity
consumption by 7-12 percent; Quadrogen
Power, whose unique co-gen technology
system uses biogas as feedstock to
produce electricity and heat; and
MSR Innovations, whose modular solar
roofing system integrates a solar
& electric panel directly into
a cost-effective polymer roofing tile
simplifying installation and eliminating
the need to install both a roof and
then a complex PV system on top, thereby
cutting the payback period by up to
half of comparable systems.
In your opinion how has B.C. been
able to weather the economic storm?
Canada has a conservative, well-managed,
and stable financial sector. Unlike
the U.S., not a single Canadian bank
has failed during the current financial
crisis. With balanced budgets being
required by B.C. law, B.C.'s continued
investments in infrastructure and
public services, coupled with its
robust fiscal position-B.C. is rated
AAA by both Moody's and Standard &
Poor's-and competitive tax system
have put B.C.'s economy on track to
outperform both Canada and the U.S.
in the medium term. With employment
growth of over 3.0 percent in both
2006 and 2007, and stabilizing commodity
prices, B.C.'s expanding and diversified
economy will continue to generate
business and investment. Given the
lacklustre economic environment in
Canada's traditional partners for
trade and investment, I feel that
Indian companies can gain enormously
by partnering with B.C. firms for
trade and investment.
What would your message be to potential
investors in B.C.?
B.C. has a long-established tradition
of welcoming and valuing immigrants
and the diversity and fresh ideas
they bring with them. Employees of
Indian companies that make an acquisition
or establish a company in B.C. will
enjoy not only a warm welcome and
a mild climate, but also a spectacular
quality of life due to the same factors
that have won Vancouver "THE
MOST LIVABLE CITY IN THE WORLD"
ranking for the fifth year in a row
from the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Add to this the duty free admittance
to U.S. and Mexican markets and you
have a winning combination few other
investment destinations can surpass.
Most importantly, you will enjoy admission
to world-leading technology clusters
supported by a strong network of world-class
universities and research institutions
that will help you source the cutting-edge
IP and the advanced technology across
many sectors that meets not only your
firm's, but also India's requirements.