India is on track to become the world’s third-largest economy as early as 2030. The time to enter that market and forge greater ties with Indian companies is now. With that in mind, Opportunities NB (ONB) has made a strategic decision to focus investment and workforce attraction efforts on India, including the establishment of an on-the-ground presence in both Delhi and Bangalore. Although the official globalizing of New Brunswick’s brand in India happens in 2022 with the opening of ONB’s India office, this past November offered a unique opportunity.
NASSCOM Comes to New Brunswick
NASSCOM is an India-based trade association representing over 3,000 ICT and business-process-outsourcing companies based in India and multinationals with a presence in India.
From November 21 to 23, more than 40 delegates representing over 30 companies from India visited New Brunswick as part of its 2021 visit to Canada. Led by the High Commissioner of India to Canada and Consul General of India, delegates from 33 companies were given an up-close look at both Maritime hospitality (including a kitchen party) and the value of the NB Advantage – the winning combination of the province’s people, innovation, infrastructure, and agility. This was, in fact, the first NASSCOM delegation to visit New Brunswick, and ONB looks forward to hosting many more.
Joel DeWolfe, ONB Manager of Investment Attraction, says the incredible collaboration between ONB and its many partners demonstrated how serious the province is about India, and delegates took note. “Multiple delegates mentioned how welcoming and well-organized those two days were. It was experiential and not just about PowerPoints in board rooms,” he says. “UNB, Ignite Fredericton, Venn Innovation, 3+ Corporation, the cities of Moncton and Fredericton, CyberNB – it was a really all-hands-on-deck approach to welcoming this delegation.”
The NB Advantage
“We know the next five years can bring unprecedented population growth to New Brunswick, but we need to act today,” notes Steve Milbury, ONB Vice President of Business Development. “Greater ties with India and its companies will bolster our immigration efforts and have a positive influence on our overall economy. That’s why events like NASSCOM’s recent ICT mission are so important.”
Milbury says the response from NASSCOM delegates further reinforces New Brunswick’s value proposition and the ‘four pillars’ of what ONB considers the NB Advantage.
“ONB and its partners came together quickly to deliver a great experience over two days,” he says. “That demonstrates our agility. We talk about that a lot – how quickly things move here, how well-connected our ecosystem is. Delegates met the Premier, the Mayor of Moncton, the President of UNB, and more. You can’t get that kind of experience everywhere. Our decision-makers are accessible and highly engaged.”
DeWolfe says the delegation came away recognizing that New Brunswick’s people are more than capable of meeting the needs of India’s ICT players. “Our post-secondary schools showcased the sizeable talent pipeline that New Brunswick can continue to provide for the ICT sector. Having India-based companies like Tech Mahindra, Sedin Technologies, and AV Group on-hand to speak to the success they’ve had at growing their teams in New Brunswick only reinforced that notion.”
He says retention is less of a concern in India, and that contrary to talk of “brain drain”, India sees talent going abroad as an opportunity. “They take the long view. Indians leaving and establishing connections abroad means more potential for investment back into India, it just takes longer to see those results,” he notes. “Where some jurisdictions worry about brain drain, they see a potential brain gain. That makes India that much more of an attractive market for New Brunswick.”
He says New Brunswick’s innovation was on display with a visit to the new Cyber Centre in Fredericton’s Innovation District – Knowledge Park. “Cyber Centre is not only an innovative building, it’s an example of New Brunswick’s world-class ICT infrastructure. Our telecommunications infrastructure combined with our time zone advantage (an hour ahead of Toronto and New York), proximity to major US and Canadian markets, cost structures, and immigration focus makes New Brunswick an ideal location for foreign direct investment from India. I think that message was heard loud and clear.”
“The NB Advantage speaks to NASSCOM companies’ need to be competitive in the global marketplace,” says Milbury. “I believe it is very clear to them now that New Brunswick is committed to the Indian market and serious about driving investment from India as well as increasing trade and export opportunities between our jurisdictions, globalizing the New Brunswick brand in the process.”
No other location in North America combines as many business advantages or offers greater life satisfaction than New Brunswick. Interested in making the move? Learn more about the New Brunswick Advantage and how to contact our team here