2022 was an intense year, with challenges that demanded agility, adaptability, resilience, and a look beyond what we are used to. In social life, in politics, in the economy, and in every company, it was necessary to review concepts, think and act strategically. At CCBC, these needs came with an added challenge: on the eve of completing half a century of existence, the Chamber also needed to be prepared to remain a solid, active and sustainable institution in its mission to promote bilateral ties.
Based on the strategic pillars of economic sustainability and member prominence (the function and reason for the Chamber’s existence), we readjusted our business model and pursued effective actions, which are already showing results. We organized six trade missions to Canada, in sectors such as food and beverages, technology and innovation, mining, health, and corporate governance. It was even in this last one, in partnership with the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance (IBGC), that we beat the participation record, with more than 70 members in the mission.
In the year in which the world resumed in-person activities after the Covid-19 pandemic, we held a series of important digital, in-person and hybrid events, such as the Brazil-Canada Foreign Trade Meeting, Canada Day and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum; we launched the book Current Issues in Compliance, and also led initiatives in several other sectors, such as investment and infrastructure, innovation in health, fashion and textiles.
Also very important is the cultural area, and in partnership with associates and external institutions, we had two new exhibitions and a new edition of the project Crossed Gazes – Images of Two Cultures in Brazil and Canada. In the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we were awarded with the Paulista Diversity Seal, granted by the Secretariat for Economic Development of the State of São Paulo.
Following the direction of bringing our members the best business opportunities and support for their activities, we are building consistent and lasting foundations for the relationship with the other bilateral Chambers of Commerce, and have signed partnerships with relevant institutions in both countries.
In Brazil, I would like to highlight the Understanding Agreements with the agencies Investe São Paulo and Invest Paraná, which will promote the organization of missions and the attraction of investments. Strategic partnerships with Sebrae and the Young Exporter Institute will contribute so that more Brazilian companies have access to our missions and business opportunities in Canada. And, to strengthen regional ties and expand our national presence, we opened the Chapters BH, in Minas Gerais, and Brasilia, in the Federal Capital, both coordinated by our members with great expertise in their areas.
In Canada, besides an important agreement with the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce (BCCC), the partnerships signed with Invest Alberta and Mitacs will open doors for Brazilian companies to set up and develop innovative solutions with Canadian expertise and financing. We also invested in the opening of two Brazil Hubs: one in Montreal and the other in Edmonton. In the same guideline, the consolidation process of the presence in the country included the strengthening of the Montreal Chapter, led by the new president of CCBC in Canada, Stéphane Larue, supported by directors, associates and a local staff.
At the same time, we promoted an internal restructuring, with the creation of a board dedicated to members, which arrives with the commitment to consolidate a sustainable business model, and adds to the directorships of Operations and Institutional Relations. We are working to professionalize the management of financial resources and to qualify our commercial team. We have evolved in our collective effort to develop a multi-sector strategic plan, and we already have an effective schedule of activities and missions for 2023.
Our advances are being noticed by the market and we are increasingly sought after by various institutions, media, and companies interested in the two countries. The number of members follows this trend and has also been growing consistently. CCBC enters the year of its Golden Jubilee with a solid presence in the market, based on innovation and sustainability. Prepared for future demands and focused on its mission to be the link for the development of relations between Brazil and Canada.
As a member and current president, I would like to thank the valuable collaboration of those who, directly or indirectly, have donated their time, energy and efforts to jointly build what the Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada is today. I invite all those who write this history to engage once again and participate in this wonderful collective work: to make CCBC an institution that constantly shapes and adapts to the future of both countries and to the ever-increasing needs of its members and partners.
Let’s move forward together, always looking ahead.
President of CCBC