Second Annual Canada/Mississippi Geomatics Partnering Mission Opens Two-Way Pipeline for the Flow of Geospatial Technologies

Mississippi Enterprise for Technology — When two sides come together, the possibilities are endless. This adage has proven to be true at the 2nd Annual Canada/Mississippi Geomatics Partnering Mission held earlier this spring at Stennis Space Center. The event was sponsored by the Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MsET), the Atlanta office of the Canadian Consulate General, and the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA).

The Conference partnered Mississippi geospatial companies affiliated with MsET with those from Canada in hopes of fostering international relationships and business ventures. Organizations from all over Canada traveled to South Mississippi to give and view presentations, attend a trade show, and to explore partnering opportunities with Mississippi-based geospatial companies. The event was a follow-up to a similar meeting held in February 2005.

Charlie Beasley, vice president of MsET, said this year’s Mission allowed the Canadian companies to identify about 60 different business opportunities. He said that approximately 120 individual meetings were held between U.S. and Canadian companies, with several non-disclosure agreements being signed on the spot at these meetings.

“Based on the outcome of the 2005 Mission, we felt positive about this second round of meetings. However, the quality and the caliber of these meetings have exceeded our expectations,” Beasley said. “Steve Flamm and the Canadian Consulate went above the call of duty in recruiting excellent companies and organizations to represent Canada.”

Beasley said that the 32 Mississippi-affiliated organizations that participated were very pleased with the momentum created from this second Mission. Follow-up negotiations are currently underway among many of the participating organizations. This year’s Mission attracted approximately 25 Canadian organizations, including commercial companies, universities, and government entities.

As a result of these two trade Missions, Flamm said he believes that Canada and Mississippi have a two-way pipeline for the flow of Geomatics technologies. “We regard the relationship between Canada and southern Mississippi of significant value to both parties, and it will permit us to build even more mutually beneficial relationships in the future,” he said. “My hat is off to Greg Hinkebein and Charlie Beasley, as well as their entire hardworking staff, for putting together a clearly outstanding event. We look forward to continued close cooperation in the future.”

In addition to the valuable contacts made during the Mission, MsET presented the Canadian Consulate with a plaque honoring their assistance to the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina. “It now proudly hangs on the wall of the Canadian Consulate General in Atlanta,” Flamm said.

Discussions between MsET and the Government of Canada leading up to this partnership mission go back to around 1998 and involve previous visits to both countries. However, the partnering missions are not the first international exposure that MsET has provided for its U.S. geospatial companies. MsET and its companies have formed alliances with economic development organizations and a geospatial industry cluster in Toulouse, France – the center of geospatial activity in Europe. The cluster in Toulouse, known as the CECILE Group, is hosting MsET, theMDA, and MsET incubator graduate NVision Solutions for a trade mission and an international geospatial conference in Geneva, Switzerland later this month. Later in the fall of 2007, at least two MsET companies and MDA will be participating in a Mississippi trade mission to Australia and New Zealand. Discussions with Australian geospatial organizations are already underway.

Partnering opportunities between American and foreign companies and universities can vary. Of course, these organizations can easily become appropriate suppliers to one another. Partnerships can be developed for joint research or for contract support. Considering funding mechanisms and trade regulations for varying countries can oftentimes be complimentary, the opportunities are worth the due diligence.

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