British Columbia and India strengthen partnership

The second annual B.C.-India Partnership Summit brought over 150 government and private sector stakeholders together to discuss collaborative opportunities in digital media and entertainment. Hosted by the Canada-India Business Council, in collaboration with Creative BC, the Asia Pacific Foundation, and the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, the event was a resounding success and resulted in stronger professional relationships between India and British Columbia. Among the attendees were the consul general of India in Vancouver, the Canada-India business council president, as well as many B.C. companies, educational institutions, business associations, visiting Indian delegates, and South Asian community members. This year the summit focused on the province’s creative industries sector. The bulk of B.C. exports to India traditionally stems from the natural resource sectors, however as B.C.’s fifth-largest trade partner, India has recently expanded interests to include film, television, and other digital media trade opportunities. One of the most exciting developments to come from the spirit of collaboration between B.C. and India is the establishment of a Vancouver headquarters for Mumbai-based Zee Studios, the first Indian broadcaster to set roots in Vancouver. The production company will employ a local team to oversee their creation of global content for television. A complimentary program by Vancouver Film School (VFS) will continue to grow the skilled workforce in the field; VFS announced they will be setting up an institute with a six month feeder program in Mumbai, Maharashtra after which the students will continue on to the production programs at Vancouver campus. VFS is also planning to launch programs in India that will lead students to be absorbed in the industry in India (VFX, gaming, animation and sound design). Trade and Invest BC is a sponsor of the Summit and has recruited several business delegates from India to attend. The inaugural summit in 2016 addressed infrastructure and clean technology needs to support India’s Smart Cities mission. Significant relationships were established at the event and continue to grow. Companies in British Columbia are gaining traction in India, as BC clean technologies are now being considered alongside Indian and other foreign solutions for projects addressing water and waste management and power consumption in India. The academic realm is also involved, with universities and colleges looking at innovative ways to share technical skills with the youth of India.