Canadian province invites Indian investors to acquire SMEs

Chennai, June 6 (IANS) The Canadian province of Saskatchewan is inviting Indian entrepreneurs to take over small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which do not have succession plans.

The province also wants Indian students there to stay back and pursue businesses and professions.

‘Nearly 40 percent of the SMEs do not have succession plans. In order have continuity of business we invite Indian entrepreneurs to explore acquistion of such SMEs,’ Rob Norris, minister for advanced education, employment, Labour and immigration, told IANS.

The Canadian SME sector contributes around 45 percent of the country’s economy.

Norris is leading a delegation of educationists and farming associations to India to deepen relations between Canada and India.

‘SMEs without succession plans are spread across the business spectrum and not confined to any particular sector. These units employ upto 50 people,’ said Rupen Pandya, assistant deputy minister.

‘Acquisitions will be facilitated by another agency. The role of our ministry is to give sanctions once the deal is struck between the two parties,’ Pandya added.

Hoping to attract an investment of C$100 million into Saskatchewan from India, Norris said the province is home to five of the top ten most entrepreneurial cities in Canada and an ideal destination for investment in commercialising research and development (R&D)-based products.

‘Companies based in Saskatchewan are eligible for 15 percent R&D tax credit apart from other tax incentives that are already available. We have enhanced our Immigrant Entrepreneur programmes to encourage investors to invest in science and technology

commercialisation and large scale investment projects,’ he added.

For the international students, Norris said there is an opportunity to apply for permanent residence under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Programme and the Graduate Retention Programme for getting tax rebates.

‘There are around 3,500 international students in Sakskatchewan of which 10 percent will be from India,’ said Pandya.

Endowed with world’s largest potash and uranium reserves Sakskatchewan is one of the world’s largest producers of pulses.

‘In 2009 the province exported around C$440 million worth of Potash C$530 million worth of peas, lentils and chickpeas to India,’ Norris said.

The Sakskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG), an association of pulse growers, has funded the Coimbatore-based Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) to carry out research on usage of green lentil in traditional Indian foods.

‘We are happy with the progress of the project. We will take the project to the next stage,’ SPG Chairman Murray Purcell told IANS.

‘We have researched the proportion of the lentil or its flour to be used for more than 30 Indian traditional dishes. We did sample tasting across the state. We also did other tests like consumer acceptability tests,’ G. Pushpa, professor at the Post Harvest Technology Centre at TNAU, told IANS over phone.

With the prices of Toor Dal shooting up to Rs.100 a kg, the Tamil Nadu government has imported large quantities of Canadian lentils for distribution through ration shops.

The state government officials have sought technical inputs from SPG in farming practices of lentils so that the farmers here can benefit from such knowledge.

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