July has been an active virtual month for OWIT-Toronto members, from providing guidance to Dominic Republic exporters to access Canadian markets, to participating in a virtual Asian trade mission, addressing the Women Economic Forum in India, participating in a CUSMA stakeholder call as well as presenting a digital marketing webinar, to running for a social innovative cause in support of Mexican farmers in Canada. Check out what some of our members have been up to virtually… as we remain OWIT-Toronto strong and proud!
Alma speaks at Conference Webinar Series for Dominican Republic Exporters
Alma Farias, OWIT-Toronto Board Director and Managing Director of Trade Partners, successfully delivered a presentation in a virtual three-part seminar organized by the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Canada and the Cei-RD (Centro de Exportacion e Inversion de la Republica Dominicana). The conference webinar series were officially launched by the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Canada, Pedro Vergés Ciman. These webinar discussions were focused on helping Dominican Republic exporters learn how to grow effectively in the Canadian produce market and comply with food control requirements.
Alma’s presentation, “The Canadian Import Produce Market and Opportunities for Dominican Republic Exporters”, provided an overview and analysis of the Canadian produce market and an outline of export product opportunities. Alma highlighted how Canada has one of the highest consumption rates of fresh vegetables in the world, and its imports are an integral component of the produce market and often necessary to fulfill Canadian demand year-round. Detailed discussions on the regulatory part were covered by two distinguished speakers based in Ottawa from CFIA and DRC.
Anita participates in a virtual Asian trade mission
Anita Agrawal, OWIT-Toronto’s strategic advisor and immediate past President, participated in a virtual two-week trade mission to Asia organized by the Toronto Region Board of Trade and the World Trade Centre Toronto (WTC-T). The July trade mission was organized to assist delegates representing key Canadian companies ready to expand internationally and unlock the potential of Asia’s consumer market. It provided the opportunity for Canadian brands to capitalize on commercial opportunities by tapping into the world’s largest e-commerce market and a rapidly-growing, affluent middle class, expanding their market footprint in Asia. It also provided connections for Canadian businesses to link with partners in global markets such as the Asian e-commerce giants, like Alibaba, Tmall Global, JD.com and Suning, to exchange industry best practices and sector knowledge, build connections and reflect on doing better business.
The virtual Market Activation Program (vMAP) was launched as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic which caused governments to impose travel restrictions and made in-person trade missions impossible. The WTC-T led program enables market traction for Canadian companies in global markets and helps catalyze dynamic and rapid recovery from the global pandemic. The virtual missions offer SMEs the opportunity to build and refine their export strategy with best-in-class subject matter experts and virtually meet one-on-one with industry buyers and key go-to-market partners. The “Unlocking Asia’s Consumer Market Digitally” vMAP, had a schedule jam-packed with incredible speakers, companies and one-on-one meetings. As CEO of Best Bargains Jewellery and top jewellery brand, Jewels 4Ever, Anita was pleased to receive insights to refine and adapt her company’s export and expansion strategies for digital sales. “This virtual trade mission was quite timely and effective,” says Anita. “Going digital has been given a turbo-charge by COVID-19 lockdowns, and through the vMAP, we were able to take virtual site visits to key digital platforms, innovation hubs, distributors and wholesalers to understand their supply chain and identify opportunities for commercialization. We also have business-to-business meetings with large-scale buyers, distributors, and go-to-market partners.”
Maria addresses Women Economic Forum in India
Maria Marchyshyn, OWIT-Toronto’s strategic advisor and past Board Director, spoke at the Women Economic Forum (WEF), organized out of Bangalore, India, which took place online in July 2020. Under the theme, “Economic Independence Leading to Women Empowerment”, Maria elaborated on various ways that organizations and individuals work to achieve gender equality and women empowerment. She focused in particular on the importance of women’s economic empowerment and financial independence, emphasizing that it is not only about increasing women's access to jobs, but also to economic resources and opportunities, to financial services, to owning property and other assets and to ensuring access to markets and skills development. Maria suggested that women need to educate themselves more on finance and business; she encouraged women to find employment or start their own businesses and described its numerous benefits, other than just financial. She further stressed the importance of developing networks and joining organizations like OWIT, where women can turn for information, support and advice. Maria spoke widely on OWIT, its mission and its international presence and encouraged women to consider opening an OWIT chapter in India. As part of her participation, she received a WEF award.
Susan participates in CUSMA stakeholder call… and presents digital marketing webinar
Just prior to CUSMA (the new NAFTA) coming into force on July 1, VP-International Susan Baka represented OWIT-Toronto in a stakeholder call where CUSMA Chief Negotiator Steve Verheul expressed appreciation for stakeholder input throughout the negotiations. Although Canada would have preferred that implementation of the agreement be delayed due to the disruptions to businesses caused by COVID-19, the government is striving to make transition to CUSMA as smooth as possible to enable companies to take advantage of it as soon as possible. He said the situation going forward will be fluid as there are still some issues and challenges, and he encouraged continuing input from stakeholders.
In her role as Ontario Regional Representative for TFO Canada (Trade Facilitation Office Canada), Susan also presented a webinar in July for small and medium exporters from developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Selling in a New World: It’s All About Digital Marketing emphasized the increasing importance of digital marketing and e-commerce fuelled by the pandemic. Susan outlined digital marketing trends such as the exploding growth of social media and she shared best practices for effective websites, email marketing, blogging and e-commerce. TFO Canada helps exporters from developing countries access the North American market.
Priti runs for a social innovation cause for Mexican farmers’ families in Canada
OWIT-Toronto Board Director and VP-Events Priti Ruparel took part in a virtual 5 Km race in July as part of the “Corre Por Ellos” Challenge organized by the Mexico Business Club. The charitable cause was to support the family members of the Mexican farmers in Canada who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. She completed her 5 Km challenge in 29 mins. 55 secs, coming in 7th out of 48 runners. Fellow Board Director Alma Farias sponsored and nominated Priti for this noble cause. This platform provided a unique opportunity to link sports with social impact, giving necessary support to those who needed it the most. Participants in the race either ran or walked for 5 Km on Saturday July 25 or Sunday July 26, at a convenient time and place.
Priti dedicated her 5 Km race to Alma for having faith in her and making her part of such a wonderful initiative. A passionate half-marathoner, Priti also expressed immense pleasure to be part of this sincere cause especially during these challenging times caused by the pandemic. “The Corre Por Ellos Challenge gave me a sense of purpose as a runner,” Priti said. “No words to express the joy and happiness.” Now that’s our definition of women uplifting each other and their communities!