CanCham Strategy for 2019 as of Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The following is a strategy proposal to provide members with an idea of the activities the CanCham plans to undertake in 2019. It is subject to review and modification. Member input is welcome.

The CanCham will continue with its objectives as stated in its website in the section. The emphasis is on “actively promoting the business interests of its members”.

The CanCham recognizes that Latvia itself provides limited internal economic activity because of its small population, and accepts that attracting international business opportunities locally will be challenging. However, the CanCham also recognizes that Latvia has a key geographic location in the centre of Northern Europe with excellent logistics facilities in part provided by a regional airline hub in Riga served by Air Baltic and the only ice free ports in the Baltic Sea. 36 foreign embassies, one mission, and one consulate are located in Riga, with access to 86 non-resident embassies. The fact countries such as China, India and Taiwan are active in Latvia demonstrates its regional importance and potential as a facilitator for international trade.  

The CanCham’s focus will be on creating international opportunities for its members because of its Canada-Latvia connection, and serve as a facilitator for international trade that involves both Latvia and Canada, in part by using an active diaspora population not only in Canada but around the world, and Latvia’s overall strategic location connecting major population blocks, including the EU, North America and Central Asia / Ukraine / Belarus and Russia. and even Asia.

Emphasis will be given to the development of strategic partnerships through DMC’s (Destination Management Coordinators) in Latvia, Canada and those countries wishing to deal with both.

The CanCham will work closely with the Canadian Embassy in Latvia and the Latvian Embassy in Canada in order to coordinate programs of mutual interest, and organizations such as the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA) and  ventureLab. This year we plan to reach out to chambers of commerce in Canadian municipalities and regions in order to expand out networking base.

We will concentrate on established friendships and working relationships, and will enhance our work with the Canadian Armed Forces stationed in Latvia, Taipei Mission in Riga, the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Latvia, Norwegian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia, and consider involvement of other enthusiastic partners.
Activities and Organization: 

1. Helping members find clients

The Partnering for Profit (PfP) program was introduced in January, 2016.

The main objective of PfP is to develop business opportunities for members through networking with other members. This gives the other members a chance to sell additional products and services to their clients thereby providing additional income for themselves. It also has the effect of increasing the seller’s sales force.  

As part of the PfP program, the following actions are to be undertaken:

  • Sell Sheets: Members will be encouraged to prepare a “sell sheet” which provides basic information about their services and their company. Sell sheets will be posted in The CanCham sends links to sell sheets to interested parties.
  • Work Groups: Work groups by business category (eg. trade facilitation & export, healthcare, construction related services, business support services, etc) were established in 2017.
  • Client search through work groups:  Each work group will identify priority client groups of interest to them and where they are from.

Most work groups have a leader who will coordinate activities. Work groups are business units whose objective is to promote themselves through the CanCham.

How and when work group members meet and/or communicate will be decided by the individual Group Leaders.

Each work group will establish the marketing approach most appropriate to themselves. This could include direct mailing, social media, working with embassies (local and foreign), using web site(s) (CanCham / member), preparing printed materials, participating in local trade shows, etc.

Note that the CanCham has traditionally not been a commercial organization, leaving the work groups and member companies to deal with inquiries and profit from the business generated for themselves. However, consideration will be given to the CanCham undertaking commercial activities in liaison with its DMC’s, Group Leaders and members. 
2. Group Organization

Core Services represent groups that offer their services to the private and public sectors directly. These include:


Support Services represent groups that can/should support the Core Services groups and be involved in their activities, but also offer their services to the private and public sectors directly. However, because of the nature of their businesses, it is unlikely that they will wish to work together to promote themselves as a group. These include:

3. Events

Events will be scheduled for Mondays, when possible.

Four major networking events with a guest speaker will be organized in 2019. The following are amongst potential participants to be invited: H.E. Kevin Rex (Canadian Ambassador to Latvia), H.E. Kârlis Eihenbaums (Latvian Ambassador to Canada), Vaira Vîíe-Freiberga, and a representative of the Canadian Armed Forces in Latvia. Member suggestions will be requested.

Focus group meetings were introduced in 2018 with the intent of promoting and coordinating group activity for the Trade Facilitation & Export and Healthcare Groups. Construction Related Services and Development Projects, Sales, and Agriculture Groups will be added in 2019. Two meeting per group are planned for 2019. It is expected that Support Services group members will be involved in the activities of the core groups.

Members of particular groups will be invited to present themselves at events, and invitations will be sent to the general public to attend.

Up to three expert seminars will be scheduled. These would be 2 to 4 hour seminars offered to members and friends by a member who sponsors the seminar. Topics could include accounting, printing, project management, medical services, etc.

One-on-one meetings are to be encouraged with the aim of having members meet other members and develop a better understanding of what each offers and/or requires. This initiative will be up to the members themselves.

Business after hours events will be promoted.

Three PfP orientation sessions will be scheduled for new members.

Canada Day will be celebrated on Monday, July 1st, and the Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, October 14th.

The AGM is expected to be on Monday, October 7th.
4. Recruitment

The CanCham recognizes the importance of quality membership and members who will support CanCham objectives and programs. In order to spread the word, the CanCham has initiated a rewards program for individuals recruiting new members for the CanCham. Our objective for 2019 is 100 members. We currently have 96, though some are inactive

The CanCham uses a membership application form in its web site to facilitate new member registrations
5. Trade shows
The CanCham will not participate in trade shows directly, but will support the initiatives of the Canadian and Latvian Embassies by informing members of these initiatives.
6. Sustainability Review:
Richard Hunter volunteered to chair the sub-committee with Sunny Motwany and Oskars Dombrava to explore the fee structure issue and additional sources of revenue, and the services provided to members. Other members are invited to participate and share their views.
7. Business Missions
The CanCham does not expect to be involved in business missions. However, it will support those missions organized by the Canadian Embassy in Latvia or Latvian Embassy in Canada, the Latvian Investment and Development Agency, CERBA and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce.
8. Governance 

The Governance program was launched in September, 2016 with the intention of helping members deal with troublesome government laws, regulations and/or practices, or at least try to do something to change them.

The CanCham has been unsuccessful in making progress with this initiative because of a lack of resources, However, the need for this has been established and a methodology developed. The CanCham will look for someone to champion the initiative.