This two-day virtual conference featured all the same components as an in-person trade mission, such as high-level speakers from Canada and South Korea, short pitches by mission delegates to showcase women-led Canadian innovation, and networking opportunities for attendees and delegates alike.
The virtual format of the public portions of the event enabled participation by an unlimited number of women entrepreneurs across Canada as non-delegate participants to the mission’s two-day conference agenda. The online format allowed us to reach and connect a broader range of women entrepreneurs who are interested in exporting to Asian markets, regardless of where they are in Canada or their stage of export readiness.
Watch the Recordings of the Virtual Mission:
Messages from the Ministers
Watch remarks from Yoo Myung-hee, South Korea's Minister for Trade and Mary Ng, Canada's Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade at the September 9, 2020 launch of Canada's First Women-only Virtual Business Mission to South Korea
WHERE: South Korea, virtually
WHAT: While a virtual model cannot fully replace the value of an in-market mission, this Mission featured similar components, including a two-day conference with high-level speakers in the fields of business, government, and technology from Canada and South Korea, company pitch sessions by delegates to showcase women-led Canadian innovation, personalized business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking for the 24 official delegates, and networking opportunities for attendees.
WHEN: November 3 & 4, 2020
WHO: This exciting mission provided opportunities to women-identifying entrepreneurs (owners or those leading Canadian SMEs) looking to grow their businesses by accessing South Korea’s market. The mission theme focused on promoting women entrepreneurs in STEM sectors that provide care services, products, and solutions to support the care and lifestyles of children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Export opportunities in the care sector can be broadly defined to include, but are not limited to, innovations in health care, education, leisure, and other personal care products and services that promote healthy living solutions such as food, cosmetics, and entertainment.
WHY: Gender equality is a priority of South Korean President Moon Jae-In, a self-described 'Feminist President.' The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on January 1, 2015, is Canada's first and only bilateral free trade agreement in the Asia Pacific region. As of January 1, 2019, 95% of Canada's exports benefit from duty-free access into South Korea – and this will grow to 99.75% of Canadian exports by 2032. South Korea is Canada's 7th largest merchandise trading partner and our 3rd largest in Asia, after China and Japan. There are 61 cities and 498 million consumers located within 2,000 km from South Korea, making it a key gateway to the Asia Pacific region with strategic access to regional and global value chains.
With one of the lowest birth rates in the world, a rapidly aging population, and a society that values higher education, South Korea has and continues to make investments in the care economy a national priority, presenting Canadian women-owned and women-led SMEs (small and medium enterprises) involved in this sector with tremendous growth opportunities.
- To mutually showcase innovations in South Korean and Canadian care technologies, such as information and communications technologies (ICT), robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, supply chain solutions, and other products for homecare and improving the quality of life for caregivers and care recipients
- To provide bilateral networking opportunities for Canadian women in business with counterparts in South Korea
- To provide an opportunity to share insights and best practices on addressing the growing needs of advanced economies facing demographic challenges through tech innovations, market solutions, and public policy
Watch recordings of the Pre-Mission Training Sessions:
- South Korea in 2020: Economic and Social Overview
- Federal Government Support for SMEs
- Trade Law & Regulations
For Mission inquiries, please contact:
A.W. Lee, PhD
Diversity and Inclusive Growth Strategy for
Women Entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Toronto
205-375 University Ave.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2J5