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NEWS RELEASE · 22nd March 2010
M of SB, Tec & Eco Development
British Columbia is already reaping the rewards from the Province's 2010 Olympic and Paralympic business hosting program, with a dozen partnerships that will create jobs and build a stronger economy, Iain Black, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, said today.

Government is also monitoring at least 27 other pending agreements.

"Global leaders came here for the 2010 Winter Games, a celebration of excellence watched by more than half the world's population on TV, the Internet or mobile devices. This has given B.C. unprecedented international exposure that will take our province's economy to a new level," Black said. "We are following up on connections made through our business hosting program, which surpassed our highest expectations in showing business visitors the investment advantages inherent in our people, our geography, our industries, and our attractive business climate."

The business hosting program involved about 11,000 participants at more than 100 events such as roundtables, tours, receptions and meetings. Business leaders from across North America, Europe and Asia attended, representing industries including airline, automotive, energy, film and entertainment, forestry, information and communications technology, life sciences, manufacturing, mining, pharmaceuticals, tourism and venture capital.

In addition, B.C. cabinet ministers held close to 80 bilateral meetings with potential business and investor prospects; more than 90,000 people viewed state-of-the-art displays on B.C.'s world class industries at the B.C.-Canada Pavilion; and 3,000 pieces of business literature were delivered that focused on B.C.'s competitive advantages and key sectors.

"As a result of the Olympics and an Olympic hosting event on green building, we have been invited to share information with delegations from Japan and Austria which will help us further our green building initiatives here in B.C.," said M.J. Whitemarsh, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders' Association of B.C.

The 17-day Winter Olympics ended on Feb. 28 and the nine-day Paralympics wrapped up on Sunday, fuelling unprecedented national pride and positioning the province for a strong economic recovery. The Conference Board of Canada has forecast that the Games will inject $770 million into B.C.'s economy in 2010 alone.

"We applaud the thousands of British Columbia business leaders who embraced the opportunity of a lifetime to sell international and domestic delegations on our province's advantages," Black said. "Government will continue to work with the B.C. business community to turn this new awareness of British Columbia into real business investment and real jobs, boosting our economy over the coming weeks, months and years."

The business hosting program built on the Province's marketing efforts during the Beijing and Torino Olympic Games. It targeted prospective investors in B.C., major buyers of B.C. products, those in the position to create jobs in the province, potential trading partners, global partners in innovation and research, and visiting government officials.

"The 2010 Games provided B.C. business with an unprecedented opportunity to showcase our capabilities to international business visitors," said Jonathan Rhone, president and CEO of Nexterra Systems Corp. "By participating in the Province's business hosting program, Nexterra was very pleased to able to connect with a number of potential customers, partners and investors."

Events took place at sites including the B.C. Showcase and the Asia-Pacific Business Centre at Robson Square, the B.C.-Canada Pavilion at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Terminal City Club and the Whistler Discovery Centre.

A formal report on the success of the hosting program, including details around ticketing, will be completed and made public later this spring.