Kathy Liu and her husband, Paul Shen, moved to P.E.I. in August 2015 to raise a family and expand their manufacturing business, CNPC Powder. With the help of the P.E.I. Connectors program, they've set up shop at the West Royalty Industrial Park. CNPC Powder has already inked a contract with 3M and talks are ongoing with Dow Corning.
Kathy Liu and her family came to P.E.I. in August 2015 looking to raise a family and continue doing business.
Coming from China, she felt overwhelmed at the idea of establishing a branch of her manufacturing company, CNPC Powder.
Registering a company, finding employees and learning new tax and financial regulations were just some of the challenges Liu says she faced.
So, she reached out to P.E.I. Connectors for help. The program is delivered through the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce as a way to help newcomers seeking to become entrepreneurs. Staff offer a variety of advisory, networking and research-based services.
"Actually, my family came to P.E.I. on the PNP program,'' Liu told The Guardian, referring to the Provincial Nominee Program established in 2001.
"I really loved P.E.I. We knew there was a PNP program to help establish a company here . . . we wanted to expand to a new market . . . and it's quite suitable for our family.''
Armed with advice from the Connectors program, Liu established the first North American branch of CNPC Powder in the West Royalty Industrial Park in Charlottetown. The company engages in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of metal powders. Products include iron powders, copper powders, nickel powder, tin powder and more.
These products are normally used in powder metallurgy, 3D printing, welding, diamond tools, magnets, batteries, fuel cells and electronics.
Liu said the Island was a good fit for her business because of the existence of the aerospace industry, a primary client base for CNPC Powder. In just six months, the company gained both local clients and export opportunities, including a contract with 3M. Talks are also ongoing with Dow Corning, an American company that supplies silicones and silicones solutions, products, technology and services.
Not only does the aerospace industry serve as potential clients, Liu points to skilled graduates coming out of UPEI as well as immigrants moving here from other countries.
The Connectors program has been successful and continues to evolve and expand. Over the past year, clients set up more than 60 businesses, bringing the total number of businesses established by clients to more than 200 since it began in 2011.
P.E.I. Connectors also offers more programming than ever before, with close to 40 events, including workshops, information sessions, networking events and bus tours.
Shawn Murphy, chairman of the advisory board for P.E.I. Connectors, says it helps immigrants integrate into the local economy and community, increasing the chance they will stick around.
"Newcomers benefit from having support as they build their businesses and contacts, and the whole province benefits from the contributions these entrepreneurs make to our businesses, economy and culture,'' Murphy said.
The P.E.I. Connectors program receives funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and a number of sponsors.