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Canadian financial services cos. in the midwest

Tuesday 16 December, 2008

I attended this event ,  Connect2Canada: A Sound Partner for Financial Services organized by Eric Hochstein, the local representative for the Canadian province of Ontario.  He assured me the presentations & video would be put up on the website, so look there for that content.  Otherwise, here’s what I picked up:

from Georges Rioux; Counsel General in Chicago-there are 16,000 Canucks in Chicagoland, Canada is the #1 trade partner of 36 US states, trade has tripled since the inception of NAFTA, 50% of the oil which comes to the midwest is imported from Canada.

from SandraPupatello, Ontario Minister of International Trade & Investment;  Canada’s Technology Triangle (Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo) is the 3rd largest ICT cluster in North America, tax credits are now available for 60% of R&D spending, Mayor Richard Daley is invited to Toronto in Spring, 2009.

from the Financial Services Software/Technologies seminar Q&A; R&D tax credits are available on 100% of R&D done in Canada, but it’s rare for 100% of R&D to be done in 1 place, & foreign (American) companies must generate revenues in Canada against which to offset the tax credits, HR Canada ok’s workers with 2+years of experience with L1 visas to fill qualified talent pools, nearshoring to Canada offers language & skill advantages over Latin America since price is just 1 variable, & while attrition has fallen to 9-12% from 30% in India, it’s only 3-4% in London, ON.

from the Insurance Globalization seminar Q&A;  global insurance companies leverage cultural differences in spending, regulations govern collaboration wikis with regulators, web 2.0 will change relatinships with customers when the big guys reach a tipping point, & there is no global sourcing strategy so make small investments & invest wisely.

from the regional showcase;   Toronto has 40% of Canada’s companies & 10% of its GDP, Ottawa has 1800 technology companies with 80,000 employees, the University of Waterloo has the largest math faculty in the world, CNA, Northern Trust, & Synovate are Chicago examples that have opened operations in Ontario.

Picking up on my experience working @ the Canadian consulate in Chicago, Canada should be 1st on the radar of most American companies venturing outside of the US.  There is no other country which is easier, faster, & cheaper with which to do business than Canada.  The Canadian business culture is different, however not drastically so.  Canadians offer particular advantages in a number of technologies, i.e. wireless because of Research in Motion’s Blackberry, graphics/animation because of Sheridan College, & e-learning because of experience educating many people dispersed throughout a wide geographical area.  So head north, eh?

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One comment

  1. Good analysis and the encouragement to head north is appreciated.

    The presentations from the program are posted online at http://www.investinontario.com/chicago and we will have video from the event up shortly.

    There are pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/connect2canada-chicago/sets/72157611267947812/

    We’re building a group on LinkedIn also…InvestInOntario-Chicago 12/10/2008 at
    http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1531787&trk=hb_side_g

    We welcome you to join our group and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the group, or contact me directly, eric.hochstein@2ontario.com



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