Report on the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia organized missions

Dear CanCham members,

The CanCham had planned to organize two missions as part of the Connecting Canada and Latvia initiative, one from Toronto to Riga on March 29th, 2018, and one from Riga to Toronto on May 9th, 2018.

The overall objective was to establish mutually beneficial strategic partnerships between businesses and/or people that would stimulate economic activity.

The first challenge was to connect with entrepreneurs who would be interested in exploring business opportunities with Latvia, Northern Europe, the EU or even points east including Central Asia, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia (in the case of Canadians) or Canada (in the case of Latvians). Focusing on the Toronto area had a limiting effect, after all, Canada is a big place, but it also became quickly apparent that coordinating schedules would be difficult, while asking entrepreneurs to free up time would be a real problem. We were not able to attract the required amount of participation to make the mission worthwhile for those involved. This mission was cancelled.

The Latvian mission to Canada was dependent on EU financed government programs which sponsor business mission activity. Latvian entrepreneurs, particularly SME’s, have limited resources to explore opportunities. Unfortunately, we learned that funds were running out and all missions were to be completed by the end of April. It was decided that bringing the May mission forward would not allow sufficient time for organization, hence this mission was cancelled.

In fact, reviewing the concept of business missions, their demands on finances and time, and their limited geographic reach, it was decided to emphasize the development of strategic partnerships using modern technologies to establish virtual relationships before committing to the expenditure of time and money. This is something that the CanCham is currently doing – with some success. The process still requires development and structure, but appears to be in keeping with today’s situation. 

The focus of the CanCham will be to continue to establish partnerships with individuals across Canada and match the business interests of CanCham members to entrepreneurs in Canada for everyone’s benefit. The emphasis will be on finding a fit between interested parties as opposed to developing specific industries. We will identify needs and opportunities, and find solutions.

The CanCham is committed to connecting Canada and Latvia economically to provide all concerned the benefits of CETA and Latvia’s strategic geographic location. We welcome suggestions and assistance with this initiative.

Best regards,
Ed Kalvins,
Chairman, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia


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