The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s Smarter Living: The Canadian Women-only Business Mission to South Korea and Thailand ended on a high note on December 1 with the signing of two high-value Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) by a delegate company, 216 business-to-business (B2B) meetings with Asian partners, and engagement with 336 companies and organizations in South Korea and Thailand.
The Mission, part of the Foundation’s 2023-2025 mission series, Northeast X Southeast: Advancing Partnerships Between Canada and Asia, marked the seventh mission of APF Canada’s Women’s Business Missions to Asia Series and focused on the cleantech, health tech, and ICT sectors. It highlighted the innovations Canadian women entrepreneurs bring to these growing sectors in the dynamic economies of South Korea and Thailand, which present ideal market opportunities for Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs.
The six-day Mission (Bangkok, Nov. 26-28 and Seoul, Nov. 29-Dec. 1) supported 21 Canadian delegates, including representatives from Lydia AI, a leading Canadian health AI company, which signed MoUs with Hecto Data and Tobecon, two prominent South Korean technology companies, in a collaboration to amplify the market potential of AI-enhanced solutions in the health-care and insurance sectors.
Mission delegates attended conferences with high-level speakers from government, business, and academia from Canada, South Korea, and Thailand and discussed bilateral and regional trade issues, gender inclusion in the economy with the goal of women’s economic advancement, and small and medium enterprise (SME) supports.
Notably, the Canadian delegates attended site visits in both target economies. In South Korea, after hearing inspiring words from Naver Corporation’s youngest-ever CEO, Ms. Choi Soo-yeon, they visited Naver 1784, the second headquarters of Naver, the country’s leading search engine platform, to learn about the tech company’s future technological capabilities. During their visit to Thailand, Canadian business leaders explored Aspen Tree by The Forestias – an innovative elder care residence merging natural ecosystems into the community. The facility, managed by Baycrest Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, showcased a successful Canada-Thai co-innovation in action.
Successful outcomes for The Canadian Women-only Business Mission to South Korea and Thailand are expected to continue, with more than 75 per cent of B2B connections in South Korea resulting in interest to form subsequent Canada-Asia partnerships and more than 90 per cent of B2B connections in Bangkok registering similar interest, including a Canadian delegate from the edutech sector currently in advanced negotiations for an acquisition in Thailand as a result of the Mission. APF Canada will share more details on these partnerships through its Women’s Business Missions web portal in the coming months.
The Canadian Women-only Business Mission to South Korea and Thailand was generously supported by contributions from the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Sara Wilshaw, Chief Trade Commissioner of Canada and Assistant Deputy Minister, International Business Development
“As Chief Trade Commissioner at Global Affairs Canada, it was a privilege to accompany APF Canada’s remarkable women entrepreneurs on their trade mission to South Korea and Thailand. These women stand as exemplary leaders in Canadian innovation, particularly in the fields of cleantech, health-care technology, and ICT. I am optimistic that our shared commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs will enhance our crucial trading relationships with South Korea and Thailand, fostering greater collaboration in the Indo-Pacific. The Government of Canada and the Trade Commissioner Service remain steadfast in supporting women’s aspirations to initiate, expand, and explore international business opportunities, as exemplified by this significant trade mission. We look forward to our continued collaboration with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in supporting Canadian women entrepreneurs to engage our important partners in Asia.”
Christine Nakamura, APF Canada Vice-President, Central Canada Office, and Mission lead
“Congratulations to the truly inspiring entrepreneur delegates who participated in the Canadian Women-only Business Mission to South Korea and Thailand! APF Canada is proud to have led this exciting initiative, supported by the Government of Canada, to showcase talented women whose innovations can make a strong contribution to addressing the key global issues of today. I would like to sincerely thank all of the sponsors, supporters, presenters, and attendees who helped make the event such an amazing success. I look forward to seeing the new relationships forged through this unique event continue to flourish, creating new opportunities and partnerships for Canadian women entrepreneurs in Thailand and South Korea’s dynamic markets.”
- Mission Webpage: Canadian Women-only Business Mission to South Korea and Thailand
- Mission Updates: Women’s Business Missions News & Notifications
- CanWIN: The Canadian Women’s International Network Webpage
A.W. Lee, Ph.D., Director, Inclusive International Trade,
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada
Michael Roberts, Communications Director,
Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada