The coming opening of a federal economic development office in Greater Victoria, possibly on the Saanich Peninsula, speaks to the economic potential of the region, says the head of the local chamber of commerce.
Denny Warner, executive director of the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (SPCC), made that observation after the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce hosted the third annual Five Chamber Mixer featuring chamber members from the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Sooke Chamber of Commerce, and the Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.
It was the first time that the local chamber had hosted the event which drew some 225 entrepreneurs and others including local MLA Adam Olsen and other municipal officials to Level Ground Trading, a company specializing in fair trade goods.
But if the evening served as a networking event, it was also a chance to learn more Export Development Canada (EDC), the evening’s sponsor and soon-to-be-presence in the Greater Victoria area.
EDC describes itself as “a financially self-sustaining” Crown corporation that serves as an export credit agency, providing various types of financial services to Canadian exporters, investors and their international buyers. The company also supports direct Canadian investment abroad and foreign investment into Canada.
It is not clear when and where the office will open in the Greater Victoria area, but it will be the first of its kind off the British Columbia mainland.
Warner said the federal government had identified the area as a growth area, a testament to the global reach of area companies.
“They are doing some exciting things behind closed doors, but nobody knows about it,” said Warner. If so, local companies might also be unfamiliar with the work of EDC and Thursday’s mixer was a chance to learn more about EDC and its services.
“There was a lot of interest in having access to this service,” said Warner.
Point person on behalf of EDC was a figure familiar in the local business community, Christopher Theeparajah, account manager of trade finance for the Vancouver Island Region. While Theeparajah currently commutes from the Vancouver area, he will eventually have an office in the region.
Where remains unknown. Warner for her part would like to see Theeparajah come to the Saanich Peninsula with the region having an edge insofar that Theeparajah currently serves on the board of the chamber. But it is not guaranteed.
“I’m expecting that there are a lot of communities, who would want that office in their municipal boundaries,” she said.
The Peninsula News Review has reached out to Theeparajah for comment and will update this story accordingly.