I have been reading about the new crop of Brazilian firms that are investing abroad – mining, manufacturing, construction – even services. As someone who has been travelling to Brazil for almost 20 years it has been an amazing transformation.
In the early 1990s during the hyperinflation, I remember seeing 10,000 cruzeiro bills washing down the street in the gutter because they were almost wothless. When we would eat at a restaurant, people would pay by cheque and it would cost 980,000 to eat lunch or something similar.
Since Cardoso and his initial policies through to Lula, that country has transformed.
I am always looking for ideas that we can graft onto New Brunswick and I like this concept of company’s building up business expertise and capacity in a local area – like New Brunswick – and then taking it outside the province and building a major global player from New Brunswick.
We have, of course, many examples of this from the Irvings to the McCain’s but we don’t have many in the recent past. I can name 50 firms that built up something interesting in New Brunswick but then sold off to a firm based elsewhere – from engineering to manufacturing to software firms – but I have difficulty thinking of any that have started here and acquired others outside.
I know there are examples of this. I posted on this topic before and I got a few smaller but good examples.
But I do think that as we think about economic development we need to grapple with this idea. Edmonton Tel (EDTel) became Telus. NBTel became a small operating division within Bell Canada.
Are there any policy tools, or seminars or education or mentoring or anything – that can influence this kind of ambition or is it up to the fates?
New Brunswick is a small province so we don’t need hundreds of new McCain Foods springing up but a couple of dozen would be interesting.