Ontario Business Mission to India Days 2 & 3:
New Delhi, The Governing Centre of India
I had a highly productive couple of days in New Delhi this past Monday & Tuesday to kick off the Ontario Business Mission to India. Monday began with a delegate briefing by a number of notable speakers including the High Commissioner for Canada to India, Mr. Nadir Patel, the Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, Mr. Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi and the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario.
The common thread woven through each set of remarks was that India offers an incredible opportunity for investment, partnership and trade. India’s Government has made this clear and has made strides to open the doors for Canadian businesses. As High Commissioner Patel said, Canada and India can do more together as partners, than they can individually for the betterment of both countries. He specifically highlighted the vast opportunity for job creation, for commercial opportunities that benefit companies in both countries, for people-to-people ties, for educational linkages and much more. Canada’s presence in India spans eight cities and represents the largest diplomatic presence in any country in the world.
There is an incredible amount of untapped economic potential in India. There are over 700,000 Indo-Canadians living in Ontario. India represents the world’s 3rd largest economy. In Mississauga specifically, we are home to a significant Indian diaspora; over 54,000 Indian immigrants and over 107,000 of Mississauga residents are of East Indian descent – accounting for the largest ethnic group in Mississauga. We are also home to some incredibly successful and renowned India-based businesses in Mississauga, including Tata Consultancy Services, Polaris Software Lab Canada Inc., State Bank of India (Canada), L&T Infotech, Jew Airways India Limited, ICICI Bank Canada, Natco Pharma (Canada) Inc., Air India and many more. In 2011 Mississauga International Marketing Strategy identified India as a key emerging market for investment attraction, retention and expansion. The Global Market Action Plan identifies 13 key sectors for India, six of which align with Mississauga, including: Aerospace, Automotive, Information and Communications Technology, Financial Services, Life Sciences and Sustainable Technologies.
Following the briefing, we were delighted to formally congratulate Mathangi Sarveswaran, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Ambience Data Inc., a Mississauga-based company. Ambience Data Inc.’s sensor agnostic IOT Platform and predictive data analytics provides real-time air quality alerts and monitoring through low cost and accurate mesh networks of sensors. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Ambience Data and Breathe Easy whereby Breathe will distribute and promote Ambience Data’s pollution control devices/particle scanners and air quality monitors. The MOU will enable wide distribution of air quality monitoring systems giving government, businesses and millions of citizens access to live and accurate air quality information. Air quality is a serious concern not only in India, but across the world. In Mississauga specifically, the Clarkson Air Shed has been identified as a priority issue for Mississauga. In response to concerns from Council Members and local area residents, the Ministry of the Environment conducted the Clarkson Air shed Study in 2007 to investigate and found elevated levels of inhalable particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. An action plan was developed which resulted in 35 recommendations to improve air quality and reduce health impacts in the Oakville-Clarkson Air shed. In terms of next steps, the City of Mississauga is calling on the government to implement the recommendations in the report to protect human health and improve air quality.
Most recently, I called for further local action on climate change as a result of policy developments emerging from the 2015 Paris Climate Conference – COP21 – there is growing recognition that environmental sustainability, quality of life and economic prosperity are related features of the most successful communities. Climate change will continue to be a significant priority for all levels of government over the coming years, and as a city, we must do everything we can to continue building a healthy, green and sustainable Mississauga.
Congratulations, Mathangi! You are a true entrepreneur and a Mississauga success story. We are very proud of your achievements and successes in India. We will continue to do our part to ensure a sustainable future for all Mississaugans – a healthy society is part of a healthy economy.
Following the day’s announcements, I had the opportunity to speak to Rohit Gandhi, of Zee TV, a staple media outlet in India and abroad. The brand Zee is known worldwide, reaching over 960 million viewers in 169 countries tuning in to stay in touch with current news in India. I pitched why Mississauga is the ideal place to invest – Mississauga is a young, vibrant and thriving city in the heart of one of the most exciting and prosperous regions in North America. Mississauga is Canada’s 6th largest city with over 1,400 multinational companies, 62,000 businesses, 71 Fortune 500 Headquarters, 420,000 + jobs, the 4th largest ICT sector, over 200 languages spoken and a quality of life that is second to none. It’s easy to see why Mississauga is the place to invest.
Following a number of breakout sessions for business delegates on energy, environment and infrastructure, I had the pleasure of announcing the sixth recipient of the prestigious Canada India Foundation (CIF) Chanchlani Global India Award to Dr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman of the Essel Group which includes the aforementioned Zee Media and Zee Entertainment. The award is named after Mississauga businessman, philanthropist, and my dear friend, Vasu Chanchilani who was taken from us too soon. The recipient is chosen and recognized on three merits: global leadership, strategic vision in globalizing India and professional excellence.
The following day I had the distinct pleasure to meet with Dr. Chandra in person. He is a self-made billionaire who launched his first satellite TV channel, Zee TV in 1992 followed by the launch of Zee News. Given Dr. Chandra’s connections to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, we spoke at length on the advantages Mississauga has to offer – we are the second largest ICT cluster in North America and as part of the Greater Toronto Area, the second largest mobile application development cluster. We house over 1,000 ICT companies and most recently, welcomed investments from PointClinkCare and TeraGo Networks. In addition to the ICT sector, Dr. Chandra is also interested in infrastructure and development opportunities abroad. Given our city’s need for investment in infrastructure, Dr. Chandra is keen on learning more information and investigating investment opportunities. We will continue the dialogue and identify synergies between Dr. Chandra’s investment interests and the needs of our city.
Lastly, I was also excited to meet with Mr. Sanjay Sachdeva, Chairman of the China-India Business Incubator. Mr. Sachdeva and I identified investment opportunities for a number of his clients and discussed synergies between Mississauga and Indian companies. Mr. Sachdeva was responsible in part for bringing Walmart to India. We discussed an exchange of knowledge and the opportunity for investments in technology originally developed in Ontario. We have unique technology in Canada, Ontario and Mississauga as well as a highly skilled workforce that could be assets to the Indian economy. I will be connecting Mr. Sachdeva with our Mississauga Economic Development Office to follow up on a number of leads.
I also had the honour of receiving an invitation to a networking reception at the home of Mr. Nadir Patel, the High Commissioner of Canada to India. I spent the evening continuing to pitch why Mississauga is the best city, in the best country in the world to invest.
It has been a busy but rewarding couple of days in India’s capital. The hustle and bustle in New Delhi is nothing like I’ve ever experienced. It reflects the intense energy, growth and hunger to thrive and proposer. I am confident that the meetings, connections and networking opportunities offered as part of the program in New Delhi have opened many doors. All of these conversations are important to strengthening the relationship between India and Mississauga. We’re placing Mississauga on the map and we’re laying the foundation for future agreements.
Our next stop is Chandigarh, one of 98 identified “Smart Cities” in all of India. I look forward to continuing to build relationships Chandigarh and beyond.