Published On: Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Business Knows No Boundaries

Business Knows No Boundaries

- Catherine Holt is the CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. 250.383.7191,

GREATER VICTORIA - To do business in Greater Victoria, we all know that we cannot be constrained by boundaries, municipal or otherwise. We need a positive, can-do attitude to navigate the complex maze to get our products and services “out there”.

We need a regional focus to attract the investment, workers, and visitors to enjoy the business success we want. As the largest business advocate in Greater Victoria, we are also acutely aware that we need to practice what we preach – to lead from the front.

A good example of our work is the 'Trade and Investment Program', which formally ended March 31, 2017, which was a three-year contract with Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) to build international business activity and foreign investment in our region.

Since its launch on April 14, 2014, The Chamber has worked closely with WD and stakeholders throughout the region, supported by $640,000 in WD funding and $640,000 in local matching funds. The Trade and Investment Program encompassed six core areas.

  1. We led a research project involving more than 120 local businesses already in various stages of global expansion, which led to a series of workshops to help local businesses in export their products and services to the world.
  2. The Victoria Airport Authority and The Chamber partnered to increase our reach to global markets, examining the feasibility of a direct flight between LAX in Los Angeles and YYJ in North Saanich.
  3. We partnered with Greater Victoria’s private and public education institutions and Tourism Victoria to develop Education Victoria - a region-wide marketing program that aligns common messaging into a common brand and positions Greater Victoria internationally as a destination for world-class education within a safe and vibrant setting.
  4. We met with more than 300 investors seeking to buy, invest in or start a business in Greater Victoria, helping them with their decision to invest here. We also sent Greater Victoria representatives on trade missions to the US (Austin, Texas and San Francisco, California) and South Korea to showcase Greater Victoria’s technology, tourism, education and manufacturing sectors.
  5. We coordinated regional marketing efforts with VIATEC and Tourism Victoria to send a strong message that Greater Victoria is the place to be – this earned Greater Victoria international exposure and recognition, including in the Washington Post, Vogue and other high-profile publications.
  6. We led a project that mapped Greater Victoria’s key assets and competitive advantages to support investors’ decision-making by providing them with geographic data that is pertinent to their specific investment decision, such as where to locate a distribution facility or a retail storefront.

Thank you to Western Economic Diversification Canada for the funding, and to all of the businesses, associations, organizations, governments and individuals who participated in the Trade and Investment Program.

We are immensely proud of these success stories and of bringing diverse stakeholders to the table to identify shared goals and work together. The influx of funding has enabled us to cultivate an unprecedented level of collaboration among regional organizations, which has, in turn, led to a new regional economic development organization: the South Island Prosperity Project.

Upcoming Events:

  • Thursday, May 11 | Prodigy Group Mingle | 5-7PM @ Strathcona Hotel Rooftop
  • Wednesday, May 17 | AGM & Annual Mayoral Address | 11:30AM-1:30PM @ Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour
  • Thursday, May 18 | Business Mixer | 5-7PM @ Huntingdon Manor
  • Saturday, May 27 | Bayview Roundhouse West Coast BBQ | 5:30-7:30PM @ The Roundhouse