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Extending the borders of Newfoundland business

By Meaghan Whelan

Abu Dhabi, with gleaming new buildings and one-tenth of the world’s oil supply, is quickly becoming a global centre for business. In fact, last year Fortune Magazine named Abu Dhabi the richest city in the world, citing a projected $200 billion in spending in the next 10 years for the city of one-million.

Eight leading Newfoundland technology companies are hoping to capitalize on the growth in the region after a recent successful GWB (formerly Gateway Without Borders) trade mission to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The investment possibilities for Newfoundland companies are huge. Daryl Genge is the project director of GWB. Since GWB was formed nearly three years ago, he has spent a great deal of time helping Newfoundland companies find foreign investors in the UAE.

“Whenever I take a Newfoundland company to the UAE, they immediately understand the potential for growth. Investors in the United Arab Emirates are known for their forward thinking and strategic interest in certain industries,” he explained.

Rutter Technologies, Camouflage, Virtual Marine Technologies, Newlab Life Sciences, BlueLine, Q5 Systems, Cathexis Innovations and Provincial Aerospace are all local companies with global appeal. They travelled with representatives from ACOA, the provincial government and Memorial University to meet with potential investors and business partners in the region.

While there, the group met with the Canadian ambassador, Sara Hradecky and the Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology and Chairman of the Centre for Applied Research and Training, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, and the Vice-Chancellor of the HCT and Vice-Chairman of Centre for Applied Research and Training (CERT), Dr. Tayeb A. Kamali at Sheikh Nahayan’s palace. “Our delegates met with private and government partners, which was an excellent chance for them to gain understanding of the growth strategy of the Emirates and the opportunities available to Newfoundland companies,” said Mr. Genge.

While it is too early to get into specifics, Mr. Genge is optimistic about the developing relationships. “Virtually every company that participated in the mission saw good, credible opportunities for future development,” he said. “We’re hoping to see a couple of substantial deals in the near future as a result.”

GWB is a Faculty of Business initiative that works in partnership with the UAE’s CERT. Since its start in 2005, GWB has facilitated millions of dollars in investment capital for Newfoundland companies. Notably, it brokered a three million dollar agreement between CERT and Cathexis Innovations to bring Cathexis’ industry leading Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to the global market.