Toronto Global is an Investment Attraction Agency that specializes in helping international businesses expand their operations in the Toronto Region. We have a team of talented professionals who can advise on anything an organization may need to know when moving here. Our team can help with site selection and connections to local industry leaders and give specific knowledge of the business landscape in the Toronto Region. Our purpose is to make the transition to the Toronto Region as seamless as possible for businesses.
Tell us about yourself?
I came from a venture capital banking background before getting involved in the economic development world. I spent the past 20 years as a CEO/Deputy Minister, and this experience made me realize how much I enjoy working with teams, closing a deal, and doing something where you can have an impact on your community.
When the opportunity came up with Toronto Global, it was a perfect fit for me and the next step in my career. It has been a relatively seamless move – despite moving to Toronto in the middle of a pandemic – given the strong team and Board of Directors in place.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
If I were to go back a few years, the advice I would give myself is to be patient and take the attitude that “this too shall pass”. The pandemic was difficult on so many levels, impacting so many businesses and people. It impacted our business as well, but we kept up our activity levels, not knowing where it would take us. Fortunately, our perseverance paid off, and we have had a very good few years.
What problem does your business solve?
A lot of the time, when businesses start the process of an international expansion, they aren’t sure where to start or who to get in contact with. If a business is based on the other side of the world, they likely don’t have many connections here. We remedy this by being a single point of contact for a multitude of services.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We operate in the economic development sphere, so the simple answer would be to say our inspiration is to aid the growth of the economy, generate tax revenue for the government, and create high-value jobs for people in the region, but there is so much more involved. One of the biggest advantages of the Toronto Region is our diversity: we are named the most multicultural region in the world, and we are proud of that. The fact that anybody from around the world can find a community here is what makes the Toronto Region so incomparable. Helping international businesses expand here is part of adding diverse perspectives to the overall business landscape in the region.
What is your magic sauce?
Toronto Global works in collaboration with other investment attraction agencies throughout the region. We actively help each other in the work we do and often partner up in communication with clients. A new business in one city or municipality benefits the entire region because people live and commute from all over.
All our municipal partners have something different to offer. I would say what sets Toronto Global apart is the fact that we work to land businesses in the entirety of the Toronto Region. Every business has different needs, and in terms of site selection, having the whole region to decide from ensures that we find the best location for them to operate in.
And, of course, the biggest factor that sets us apart is our product: the Toronto Region itself. There is nowhere else in the world more dynamic and diverse than our region. It is always a pleasure to be able to sell a “product” that we really believe in. It is important to note that we are not just diverse in population but diverse in industry as well – from tech and financial services to advanced manufacturing, AI, food and beverage, innovation, and med tech. Having such a wide range of sectors operate within a single region is rare and often the reason why businesses can always find a place for themselves here. It also contributes to a strong and stable economy.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
The vision is to streamline the process even more. As I said, we are a one-stop shop for clients because we can advise based on our own in-house expertise and connect them to external industry leaders. However, in the past year, we have expanded our service model to support more sector knowledge in-house to make the communication process even easier for businesses.
For example, we were finding industry knowledge of supply chains to be extremely sought-after. The global supply chain has many nuances that businesses need to navigate when expanding to a new country. We ended up creating a program within Toronto Global called Supply Chain Onshoring, Resilience, and Expansion (SCORE). We are looking forward to creating more programs like this to best adapt to the ever-changing needs of businesses.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Almost every business was hit hard by the pandemic. There is no ignoring that. In the past, a major part of our value proposition had operated under the assumption that when businesses expand here, they will require team members to be physically located somewhere in the region. We had to shift our mindset and services to accommodate businesses that had no need for site selection due to remote work. In discussions internally and with external partners, it was hard to wrap our heads around welcoming a business to the region with no physical presence here.
That being said, this shift in mindset widened our options on the businesses we support and ultimately helped connect us with an even more diverse set of industries. Even as we transition back into in-person work and have businesses looking to physically set up shop here, we are glad to have the skills and experience to properly support a fully remote business in its expansion needs.
How can people get involved?
If you are a part of a company based outside of Canada and are looking to expand, give us a call at +1 (416) 981-3888, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit torontoglobal.ca/contact-us. We work with companies of any size, market or industry and can connect you with the resources you need to succeed.