Yorkton business owners may have missed a golden opportunity last week, and it is difficult to understand why.
Johannes Vervloed, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was in the city (see related story Page A1), and the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce had planned a breakfast meeting for its members to hear the Consul General speak.
The breakfast was cancelled because there had not been enough interest shown from Chamber members.
It would have only taken some 30-attendees to make the breakfast feasible, a small number when you consider the Chamber has a membership of some 450.
It gets worse when you consider there are actually 850 - 900 businesses in the city, and the breakfast was open to anyone.
When you look back over the past two decades and think about how often the Consul General of any country has paid a visit to Yorkton, the list is very short, with Johannes Vervloed the only one on it.
That business people didn’t take the opportunity to hear what a representative of another country had to say is surprising, especially in respect to why he was here in the first place.
Vervloed, who toured several companies earlier in the day including Milligan Biotech in Foam Lake, and LDM Foods and Grain Millers at Yorkton, said the region has a lot of things going for it.
“We really have the feeling we’re in the heart of it,” he said, pointing to canola, potash and oil and gas. “… There is a lot of things going on in this part of the province.”
Vervloed said he has believed there are chances for co-operation, adding they have actively worked on “an inventory of these opportunities.”
The visit was to begin to confirm those opportunities, he said.
People may not know it, but in terms of business relationships, the Netherlands are already important to Canada.
Vervloed said the key to creating trade is in creating something which is beneficial for both side, adding the Netherlands is already the second largest foreign investor in Canada behind only the United States.
That is the sort of thing which should be of interest to any local business with an eye to growth. Investment is always something business is looking for.
Vervloed also noted some $50 million in Canadian goods enter Europe through the Port of Rotterdam, which he said was a gateway to Europe for Canadian goods.
That is an important factor to consider for local business with aspirations for export development.
Vervloed said he sees opportunities, such as the European Union having initiated a phase in to 2020 of a 10 per cent use of biofuel in diesel, a mandate which could be met by the use of canola oil.
Again something which should have been of interest to local business.
While it does sound like Vervloed, or other representatives of the Netherlands, will return, the failure to make last week’s luncheon a reality, could still be viewed as a missed opportunity for local business people to make gain knowledge and potentially make international connections.