As is the case most days, today began with an early morning meeting. This time it was with the World Trade Centre Santiago, an organization of Chilean businesses dedicated to broadening the reach of Chilean corporations and promoting Chile abroad. In particular, the association, Wines of Chile was in attendance. They are regularly in Canada promoting Chilean wine and have a strong understanding of our marketplace and the potential to grow the distribution of Chilean wine in Canada. The WTC will be a partner for us as we continue our work in Chile.
Following a productive meeting with the WTC Santiago, we met with another promoter of Chile abroad, ProChile. This organization is funded through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as its name would suggest, ProChile aims to promote Chile in target markets around the Globe, including in Canada. We met with Hernan Guitierrez who works closely with their 56 offices around the Globe. ProChile will actually be hosting a seminar in Canada in November for Chilean businesses. Mississauga’s Economic Development Office and the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance (GTMA) will work closely with ProChile to provide our input and ensure that the GTA and Mississauga is well represented at this gathering. As this is our first time in the Chilean market, we were delighted by the incredibly warm reception we received from Hernan and ProChile and believe this will be the start of strong working relationship in the months and years to come. Mississauga and the GTMA first came to Brazil in 2010. Since that time, over 16 Brazilian companies have made investments in Canada as a result of our efforts and perseverance. We believe the same will be true of Chilean businesses in the coming years.
In the afternoon we had 6 hours of meetings with 6 companies, ranging from agrifood and food packaging, to engineering, and architecture. The GTA is home to the second largest food and beverage cluster in North America and Mississauga is home to over 23,000 employees in the sector, working at over 500 companies. From distribution, to logistics, to manufacturing and service, the GTA and Mississauga are an ideal location for international businesses to set up their North American operation. What struck me at first is that in each of these meetings, the GTA and Mississauga were not top of mind for these companies. However, by the end of each meeting, each company was impressed by what we have to offer and is actively pursuing more information. As well, many will likely come to visit us in the short term to see what the GTA and Mississauga have to offer. It is wonderful to watch the interest of a company grow throughout a meeting as we tell them about the many positive attributes of the GTA and Mississauga.
Following this packed afternoon of meetings, we departed for the airport to catch a 1:00 am flight to Colombia to begin 4 full days of meetings with prospective companies and trade organizations. While this trip has been exhausting, it has also been incredibly rewarding. Mississauga and the wider GTA is certainly making its mark in Latin America and I have no doubt we will continue to attract significant investment from South America in the years to come. Colombia, here we come!