What's Driving Foreign Entrepreneurs to Vancouver, Canada's Most Expensive City?

VANCOUVER, March 21, 2017 /CNW/ - They are in business to leverage innovative ideas, to blaze new trails, and contribute to B.C.'s economic growth engine.  With soaring property values, high rents and taxes taking over profits, what's the catch?

Louisiana-inspired seafood restaurant, Holy Crab recently launched its first North American franchise, to rave reviews, on Vancouver's bustling Robson Street.  "We want to bring our restaurant concept to Vancouver because there's abundant fresh seafood.  The city is culturally diverse with a vibrant culinary scene.  It's a good test market for us," said the young, amiable Chef Albert Wijaya.

Wijaya is happy that Vancouverites are embracing the concept of Cajun seafood boil infused with Indonesian flavours - and the relaxed and convivial style of dining with bare hands.  It's been an exciting venture and a learning curve, said Wijaya whose Indonesia-based Ersons Food Group operates nine restaurants under the brands: Holy Crab and Holy Smokes.

Many Indonesian brands are contented tapping the domestic market.  However, growth and globalization create need for entrepreneurs to look beyond their homeland, cited Wijaya.  His forward-thinking approach would make Indonesian President Joko Widodo, a former businessman, proud.  A G-20 member, Indonesia is the world's 10th largest economy measured at purchasing power parity, according to the World Bank. 

Consul General Sri Wiludjeng of the Republic of Indonesia in Vancouver said it's time for B.C. to give more attention to Indonesia given its strategic position in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region and as the area's largest nation. The world's fourth most populous nation economy continues to record strong growth, largely due to its solid economic policies and increased household consumption, stated an IMF report.

Investing in the competitive B.C. artisanal coffee business means more than making money for Liza Wajong, Nusa Coffee Founder.  It's about sharing good coffee in a responsible, ethical and sustainable way - and supporting the community in Indonesia and B.C.

We appreciate the entrepreneurs' investment and contribution to B.C.'s economy as this will enhance the bilateral trade relations between Indonesia and the province, cited Nina Kurnia, Indonesian Economic Affairs Consul. Statistics Canada showed that in 2016, B.C. imported CAD$ 343,059,831 from Indonesia and exported CAD$ 253,925,622 in merchandise trade.

It was livability that attracted entrepreneurs, Livia Chriestianto of Casamia and Utomo Kuntjoro of Axia Distribution to invest in B.C.  Kuntjoro established his rubber and anti-fatigue mat business in Vancouver because he liked the lifestyle here, noted Andre Sidharta of Axia's division, Creativematic, a Richmond-based logo mat printing business. 

Vancouver with its coast, mountains and cultural diversity made her felt at home, said Chriestianto who resided in San Francisco prior to opening the furniture and home décor wholesale business in Coquitlam.  The company started out in Bali supplying to Williams-Sonoma and other giant U.S. retailers.  A sustainable resource use supporter, their furniture are crafted from re-claimed and re-purposed wood.

SOURCE North America Asean Consultants Inc.

For further information: Agnes Chung, North America Asean Consultants Inc., 604-676-8878, media@globalnaac.com

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