Push tech exports worldwide, federal minister says
Canada must continue to streamline access to funding programs, invest in women entrepreneurs and STEM-related education programs and consider bold, new initiatives to move the needle on international trade and diversify its trading partners, a lunchtime audience heard during a panel discussion at Communitech Thursday.
“Canada’s known as a trading country. We’re not yet known as a country of traders. We’re going to change that,” said Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, one of four panelists on stage during the “fireside chat”-style event hosted by Communitech CEO and President Iain Klugman.
Ng, paying her first visit to Waterloo Region since taking over the small business and export portfolio from Waterloo MP and Government House Leader Bardish Chagger last July, said the government is determined to help entrepreneurs sell their products outside of Canada and reduce the country’s reliance on the U.S. as a trading partner.
“For a lot of small businesses, figuring out how to get into a market other than the U.S. is overwhelming,” said Heather Galt, Vice-President, Marketing, at Waterloo-based P&P Optica and one of three panelists on stage with Ng.
“It’s really hard. It’s really complex. Companies end up narrowing their focus,” she said, and settling on