Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of International Trade Diversification, led the “LGBTQ2 business mission” to Philadelphia in partnership with the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The mission connected 15 Canadian LGBTQ2 (the “2” represents Two-Spirit indigenous people) entrepreneurs with U.S. Fortune-500 companies and other NGLCC-certified business owners.
Carr, who attended the conference for the first time, said the message he wants to deliver is Canada’s “inclusion, openness and diversification of trade.”
“There’s all this untapped potential here [at the conference]. We have to share the success stories and the excitement of these business owners. We want to add to creating economic opportunities and wealth in a way that benefits all of our citizens in Canada as well as the countries that we work with,” he said.
Randy Boissonault, the prime minister’s special advisor on LGBTQ2 and a member of Parliament in Edmonton Centre, said he wanted create more export opportunities for LGBTQ businesses in Canada.
“This is the first time we’ve done an LGBTQ2 trade mission anywhere in the world and we chose our largest and best trading partner. We’re coming here committed to diversity and inclusion not just in Canada, but we’re also stressing the importance of diversity in business and trade as well,” Boissonault said.
Representatives from the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, along with Carr, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Swedish Embassy and other Scandinavian representatives Aug 16 in an effort to forge a working relationship between the countries.