Surviving the storm by fdh56iuoui

VIEWS: 25 PAGES: 3

									     Measuring green:                                                                                                                                             Green Eating
     ECOnomic
     initiatives of the                                                                                                                                           Have you considered
     IT industry                                                                                                                                                  “eating green?”


        P.4                                                                                                                                                                                 P.5




                                                                              Issue 5, Volume 1, Tuesday April 7, 2009

      infO & intErviEws                                                                                                                                                advicE


An interview                                                                                                                                                      Easy, peasy
with Buzz...                                                                                                                                                       property?
                                                                                                                                                                       JuLIE RyLAnD
  Q&A with Buzz Hargrove,
Canada`s former           National
President of the Canadian Auto
Workers trade union and new
distinguished visiting professor at
Ryerson.

       con’t.. P.7
       grEEn

I n nov at ion
 and change
                          P.4                                                                                             Photo Courtesy of Raylene Knutson                                P.9
                                                             Surviving the storm:                                                                                    The only semi-habitable piece of
                                             Small Dutch city shrugs off fears of a recession                                                                     construction on the site of Minto
                                                                                                                                                                  King West at Bathurst and King
                                      DEnISE LAW                                                                                                                  streets is a one-level, green and
                                                                                                                                                                  dark brown sales centre. Adri-
                                         In this particular meeting, there    dents.                                    looking. Of course, they’re very          enne Lem, first time buyer and
                                      are no secrets.                            Based on a centuries-old polderen      aware that their neighbour Ger-           journalism student at Ryerson,
  Prepare to swipe your cell phone.        Every speaker is honest, direct    “polder” system, this kind of no-         many – Europe’s economic engine           gazes across the empty lot where
Visa set to converge with mobile      and often critical. And the people      nonsense meeting is nothing new           – is suffering at a pace unseen in        her dream of a studio was crushed
services. Innovators of paymment      to whom they address their list of      for the Dutch. During the Middle          decades.                                  because of what apparently was a
transaction technology promise a      concerns aren’t offended – they wel-    Ages, the people of Holland built            And while many regional econ-          faulty floor plan. Her first payment
future of convenience and customi-    come the criticism with an open-        polders to keep the country from          omies across Europe and North             of $13,000 was returned with in-
zation. Tim Wilson, Head of Visa      mind.                                   sinking below sea level. These cities     America scramble for a cure,              terest and is now back in her bank
Canada shares his vision.                  At an annual meet-and-greet        – which were at war – put aside their     Utrecht is expected to survive intact.    account.
                                      with the executive board of Hoge-       differences for the sake of prevent-      But its small and resilient economy          Research the builder, is Eric
                                      school Utrecht – one of the many        ing a country-wide catastrophe.           isn’t the result of a complex set of      Kuzuian’s, broker at Boutique by
     OpiniOn & EditOrial              universities in the city – a group of        It’s a mentality deeply rooted       equations, strategies or policy mea-      Homelife Romano Realty, best ad-
                                      20 international students talk about    in Dutch society, as they’ve learned      sures. In fact, its strength is built     vice. As a student, you don’t want
While most news-                      their good and bad experiences
                                      abroad.
                                                                              through centuries of foreign occu-
                                                                              pation that survival requires team-
                                                                                                                        upon a very simple, but pragmatic
                                                                                                                        idea: Invest in knowledge and the
                                                                                                                                                                  to put down your 15 per cent down
                                                                                                                                                                  payment, only to get a call a year
papers are dying,                          Geri Bonhof, president of the
                                      board, listens attentively as one of
                                                                              work, flexibility and the discipline
                                                                              to solve problems. Today, the coun-
                                                                                                                        prosperity will follow.
                                                                                                                           “It’s an attitude,” Bonhof says. “At
                                                                                                                                                                  later from the builder who says
                                                                                                                                                                  “Oops, the project fell through.”
  we’re trying                        the students from Russia shares her
                                      frustration.
                                                                              try is prepared to weather any storm
                                                                              – even the global economic crisis
                                                                                                                        an early age, from primary school
                                                                                                                        all the way up to high school, kids
                                                                                                                                                                  “That money did nothing for you,”
                                                                                                                                                                  says Kuzuian. It didn’t do much
                                         “I come from a former commu-         that threatens to shatter its indus-      are encouraged to go to university.       for Lem, but she has no regrets.
                                      nist country. We’re used to people      trial and export sectors.                 That’s why we’ve made it more af-         She did her research and pur-
                                      telling us what to do, but the Dutch         But the Dutch have already ac-       fordable through scholarships and         chased from a well-known, qual-
                                      just expect us to know. It was dif-     cepted a brutal fact: no country is       government funding.”                      ity builder. Usually, projects fall
                                      ficult for me to get used to.”          immune from a recession. Not even            So far, this attitude has paid         through due to a lack of investors.
                                           But the criticisms don’t stop      the Netherlands. And if there is          off. For the Dutch, education isn’t       In this case it might have just been
                                      there. One student gets so carried      any lesson they’ve learned so far, it’s   just a path to employment. It’s           bad luck.
     P.14                             away with her complaints, she apol-
                                      ogizes to the president. “No, no,”
                                                                              this: In case of an emergency, don’t
                                                                              panic. Just take a look at Utrecht,
                                                                                                                        a method of survival. Utrecht’s
                                                                                                                        knowledge-economy – which de-
                                                                                                                                                                     It’s a chilly market. Students,
                                                                                                                                                                  recent graduates and first-time
                                      says Bonhof, as she jots down a few     the fourth largest city in the coun-      pends on and leverages its strong         home buyers are facing one of
                                      notes. “We need to know this. These     try. Home to 300,000 residents – of       labour force – grows at an annual         the best times to buy, but real es-
  The struggles and successes of      are all small suggestions we want to    which 65,000 are students – the city      rate of three per cent, almost twice      tate also entails a mace of hidden
our print newspaper in face of the    put into practice the next year.”       is an emblem of economic progress.        the national average.                     costs, mortgages, speculation and
economy and digital revolution. The       When the meeting ends, Bonhof          Even amid all the global panic,                                                  swanky finishes that might cloud
Commerce Times has gone online:
www.TheCommerceTimes.com
                                      doesn’t leave the room. Instead, she
                                      mingles with the rest of the stu-
                                                                              the layoffs and the bankruptcies, the
                                                                              people of Utrecht remain forward-               con’t.. P.2                         your focus and make it challenging
                                                                                                                                                                  to find your way home.
   2           The Commerce Times                                          world news                                                                               Tuesday, april 7, 2009



                                                                      ... Continued from page 1



                            Surviving the storm
                Small Dutch city shrugs off fears of a recession, pushing
                        forward to the future with new ideas



                                                                                                                                                                        today,      the
                                                                                                                                                                        country is pre-
                                                                                                                                                                        pared to weath-
                                                                                                                                                                        er any storm –
                                                                                                                                                                        even the global
                                                                                                                                                                        economic crisis
                                                                                                                                                                        that threatens
                                                                                                                                                                        to shatter its
                                                                                                                                                                        industrial and
                                                                                                                                                                        export sectors.

                                                                                                             University of Utrecht – Photo Courtesy of Denise Law
                                                                                                                                                                      nies, see the crisis as a chance to
                                                                                                                                                                      develop a competitive edge.
                                                                                      By enabling innovation, we help to develop part                                   The city’s diverse, but knowl-
                                                                                      of the economy that wasn’t there before.                                        edge-intensive industries – gam-
                                                                                                                                                                      ing, bio-sciences, finance and
                                            as governments                         completely stopped lending. It’s a          Then, in 2005, the city grappled     design – not only add value to the
                                            around the world                       domino effect that will just worsen
                                                                                   the situation.”
                                                                                                                            with a massive labour shortage.
                                                                                                                            Companies in finance, IT and sales
                                                                                                                                                                    economy, but attract vast pools of
                                                                                                                                                                    local and foreign talent. As Rich-
                                            pour millions of                          Ryan attributes the strong econ-      simply couldn’t find enough work-       ard Florida writes in Rise of the
   urrently 43 per cent of the labour                                              omy in Utrecht to the flexibility of     ers. Even during tough economic         Creative Class, economic progress
force is educated at the bachelor’s         dollars into dy-                       its labour force.                        times, the labour force didn’t just     in the future depends on the 3Ts:
or master’s level. Last year, the                                                     “If you take a look at Dutch CVs,     adapt – they planned ahead. And         talent, technology and tolerance to
province of Utrecht recorded an             ing industries,                        it’s amazing what you see. They’ve       it’s ironic the Dutch prefer to di-     ideas. While regional governments
unemployment rate of 3.3 per cent
– the lowest in the country.
                                            further fuelling                       got such a broad array of experi-
                                                                                   ence and speak many languages.
                                                                                                                            versify, rather than specialize, be-
                                                                                                                            cause it goes against basic econom-
                                                                                                                                                                    around the world talk at length
                                                                                                                                                                    about the 3Ts, the City of Utrecht
   “Higher educated people are              their own deficits,                    You can’t help but wonder, ‘How          ic theories.                            puts it into practice.
in general more employable than                                                    did they start in this industry and         But as the IT crisis shows, the         “We give incentives to students
lower educated workers,” says Tim           Utrecht is invest-                     end up in another one?’”                 Dutch aren’t theorists.                 who want to pursue gaming,” van
Legierse, economist at Rabobank.                                                      As the IT capital of the coun-           “They’re very practical people,”     Leur adds. “Many schools en-
“What we do know is that the                ing in its future.                     try, Utrecht suffered severely at        says Marissa van Leur, a marketer       courage entrepreneurs to start up
unemployment rate among young                                                      the hands of the Dot-com crash           of economic affairs at the City of      a company by helping them get a
people and low-skilled workers          the world pour millions of dollars         in 2001, which left thousands of         Utrecht. “Employers stimulate           patent or find empty factories with
rises more during recessions than       into dying industries, further fuel-       workers jobless. Statistics Neth-        employees to train in other skills.     low rent. By enabling innovation,
does the unemployment rate for          ling their own deficits, Utrecht is        erlands recorded Utrecht’s unem-         Workers are aware that if they’re       we help to develop a part of the
higher skilled workers.”                investing in its future. So even when      ployment rate at seven per cent,         not needed at one company, they         economy that wasn’t there before.”
   But the stellar figures don’t au-    the crisis hits, potentially threaten-     which doubled the rate in 2000.          can do other things.”                      Utrecht’s highly-developed ser-
tomatically imply that a university     ing any one of its sectors, the city’s     That year, Ryan lost a whole slew of        Van Leur, who has worked in          vices sector, which accounts for 80
degree is the answer to economic        labour force will respond in typical       clients as the city slipped into a re-   10 completely different industries      per cent of the jobs, wasn’t exactly
growth. For Utrecht’s labour force,     Dutch fashion: train on the job,           cession. When the economy picked         ranging from landscaping to social      the product of choice. During
university is merely a stepping         expand skill set and, if all else fails,   up again, she couldn’t find anyone       insurance, looks to the future with     the 1960s, inflation in the Neth-
stone. Practical skills – such as the   switch to another industry.                to fill the IT vacancies.                         optimism. But make no mis-     erlands spiralled out of control.
ability to speak more than one lan-        Located across from the famous             “All the people who                            take: Investors, employers     Trade unions demanded higher
guage – matter even more.               Dom Tower is Undutchables, one                                                                                              wages, while GDP remained stag-
   There is no doubt that Utrecht is    of the many job agencies in the city.                                                                                       nant at the expense of Utrecht’s
blessed with all the obvious factors    Bronagh Ryan, the manager of the                                                                                            labour force. All this ended during
that make a city attractive to inves-   Utrecht branch, says companies are                                                                                          the Great Moderation of the nine-
tors. Office space is more afford-      still hiring.                                 “They’re very practical people,” says Ma-                                     ties, when the government slashed
able than most major European              “We’re dealing with such a large                                                                                         spending and part-time workers
cities; It’s a 30-minute train-ride     range. There isn’t one solely stand-          rissa van leur, a marketer of economic                                        entered the labour market.
from the capital, Amsterdam, and        ing out, but we’ve been getting calls                                                                                          The biggest transition took place
40 minutes from the biggest port        in pharmaceuticals, health care and           affairs at the city of Utrecht. “Employ-                                      in Utrecht, as heavy-industries gave
in Europe, Rotterdam; And with
historical roots dating back to the
                                        stupidly enough, finance. There are
                                        job openings in debt-collecting.”
                                                                                      ers stimulate employees to train in other                                     way to the emerging services sector.
                                                                                                                                                                    Pure industries like car parts and
Roman Empire, the city offers its          Ryan, who works primarily with             skills. workers are aware that if they’re                                     metal manufacturing still exist out-
residents and investors a pleasant      international applicants, expects                                                                                           side of the city, but aren’t expected
work-life balance.                      the recession to blow right over              not needed at one company, they can do                                        to survive much longer. This trend
   But these factors don’t tell the     Utrecht’s economy. Originally from                                                                                          might seem a tad Darwinian, es-
full story as to why Utrecht’s          Ireland, she says the economic situ-
                                                                                      other things.”                                                                pecially compared with countries
economy stands out from the rest        ation in Dublin is much worse by                                                                                            like France and the United States,
of the crowd. Many cities pitch         comparison.                                worked in IT disappeared into            and policymakers in Utrecht aren’t      which are doling out large heaps
similar features – location, quality       “I’ve yet to meet people in Utrecht     another industry. It was only two        turning a blind eye away from the       of money to save easily outsourced
of life and access to technology –      who’ve lost their jobs and homes. If       years after the IT crash and I           recession. The only path they won’t     industries.
but don’t attract the same level of     the economy in the Netherlands             couldn’t find anyone. The Dutch          follow, though, is reckless stimulus       But Jacqueline Timmheruis,
investment.                             shrinks, then it won’t be a major          keep learning and updating their         spending. Instead, the municipality,    an economist at the Netherlands
   Today, as governments around         problem. In Ireland, the banks have        knowledge.”                              along with many private compa-          Bureau for Economic Policy, says
     Tuesday, april 7, 2009                                      World news                                                                          The Commerce Times                    3

      ... Continued from page 2
                                                                                   why is Utrecht a suitable
                                                                                                                                                                 FEATURES
countries that stick to the ‘Concept
of Banana Republic’ are swimming
in dangerous waters.
                                        don’t expect pandemonium on the
                                        streets. Though the trade unions are
                                        strong, they rarely go on strike. Pol-
                                                                                   location for investment?                                                      World News                2
   “It’s a political term to describe   iticians, unions and businesses have
countries that depend solely upon       already taken their frustrations to                                                                                      Business News             4
one product – such as bananas. It’s     the table – the only problem is they         Availability of highly education-    the quality benchmark is set on the    Green                     5
a well-known truth here that you        haven’t found a solution yet.              al workforce: When investing, the      highest standard. I can not pre-
shouldn’t gamble on one or two in-         Perhaps that’s one drawback of          companies are looking for a pool of    dict the future but right now the      Info & Interviews         7
dustries.”                              the polder system. Or maybe there          highly educated labour. In Utrecht     with the knowledge received from       Careers                   8
   But Utrecht was never really a       just isn’t any cause for concern. Af-      the 39 % of population is university   Utrecht educational establishments
hotbed for natural resources to be-     ter all, the Dutch are ready to im-        educated. This has to do with the      we can still ensure our competitive    Advice                    9
gin with. Even during the Dutch         provise, adjust and move on. Sure,         fact that we have one of the biggest   advantage.                             Health & Fitness          10
Golden Age, traders looked beyond       the government pursued a trend-            and according to Shanghai Rank-
the country’s borders for wealth. In    based budget policy in the nineties,       ing 2008 the best university in                                               After Hours               11
Utrecht, finding a solution to out-     which gave the economy a buffer            the Netherlands and in the top 50        Compared with the UK, Germa-         Campus Scoop              12
sourcing meant going back to the        during a recession. And though the         best universities of the world. We     ny and France, the Netherlands ap-
basics. Entrepreneurs asked them-       country boasts one of the strongest        have also school of applied sciences   pears somewhat more prepared for
                                                                                                                                                                 Editorial                 13
selves: “What can we export that        treasuries in Europe, it’s the work-       which is also contributing to a la-    the recession. How true is this?       Editorial & Fun           14
no one else can?”                       ers’ realistic outlook that gives cities   bour pool in our province.
   “We export knowledge,” says          like Utrecht a thick shield.                                                         Germany, France and the Neth-
Henni de Groot, vice-principal at          Fred Wolffers, executive manager           Utrecht has the fastest eco-         erlands are belonging to the most         Editor in Chief
St. Bonifatius College. “We export      of recruiting agency Job Vision,           nomic growth of Western-Europe          resistant countries, according to
                                                                                                                                                                      Amanda Parker
knowledge about systems, building       says many Polish workers have al-          till 2012 (Ecorys Research 2008)        Moody’s. I would not speculate
bridges, dealing with water prob-       ready left the United Kingdom and          Caused by central position in NL        on this one, which governments
lems, how to grow crops and infra-      Germany for Utrecht. But demand            and strong service sector.              are more prepared, only future will      Executive Editor
structure.”                             for temporary “flex” workers is also                                               show it. This is the true that the        Raylene Knutson
   It’s unsurprising, then, that many   much higher this year – another in-           Which countries top the list as Dutch government intervened on
international companies hire the        dication that companies are tight-         the biggest investors in the city?      time and has elaborated measures
                                                                                                                                                                   contributing Editors
“Dutch guy” to solve their prob-        ening their budgets.                                                               to protect the economy from crisis.
lems. But maintaining this repu-           “Every country in the world is             Because of our geographical lo-                                                Phoenix Tarampi
tation means there is little room       linked to the United States. So if         cation the companies from Germa-                                                    Alyssa Friesen
for complacency. That’s why the         a U.S. company goes bankrupt, we           ny. Also the companies from USA, What kind of incentives are of-
Utrecht government wasted no            all suffer.”                               France, UK. As to Asian companies, fered to start a business here?               Creative Director
time in propping up cutting-edge                                                   the most companies are coming
R&D facilities and investing in                                                    from Japan. In total we have 1100 The biggest incentives are our                 Marianna Kosterina
education. Today, the city holds the                                               foreign companies. The following services which are financed by pro-
leading position in IT, biotechnol-                                                companies are Canadian subsidiar- vincial authorities and completely             Assistant Creative
ogy and medical research.                                                          ies: Enerflex Europe is from Ener- free of charge for the companies.                  Director
   “I think even with cheap labour         Utrecht’s resil-                        flex Systems Ltd, Calgary, Canada, We help the starting companies                  Ivonne Sanchez
in India or elsewhere, there are cer-                                              Cognos Incorporated, Medicom with all the information they need,
tain areas of expertise that simply        ience proves that                       Healthcare.                             we arrange the appointments for
                                                                                                                                                                  Operations Executive
cannot be outsourced if the qual-          an open-econo-                                                                  them, we search for locations, in-
                                                                                                                                                                       Ali A. Karim
ity benchmark is set on the higher                                                     How resilient is Utrecht’s work- troduce them to different contacts,
standard,” says Anna Elferink, a           my, applied with                        force to changes in the global          etc.
project manager at the Utrecht
Foreign Investment Office. “I can-
                                           proper regulation                            economy (i.e. outsourcing and About incentives: we do not give
                                                                                   cheaper labour)?                        the companies money to start here,
                                                                                                                                                                   Financial Executive
                                                                                                                                                                         Wayne Ly
not predict the future, but right          – can lead to both                                                              because we even may not do so, ac-
now, with the knowledge received                                                      I do not think that this is a threat cording to EU legislation. How-
from Utrecht educational estab-
                                           innovation and                          to Utrecht’s workforce. Major sec- ever, once a company is established,
                                                                                                                                                                    Marketing Team
lishments, we can still ensure our         healthy economic                        tor in Utrecht is services, especially depending on what kind of busi-            Yi (Melody) Yang
competitive advantage.”                                                            ICT. I think that even with a cheap ness they are in, we would advice
   Even with its benefits, Utrecht’s       growth.                                 labour in India or elsewhere, there on different programs available in
                                                                                                                                                                      Timothy Yeung

knowledge-economy is by no means                                                   are certain area’s of expertise that the Netherlands, where they can
a perfect model. The shift towards          But the Dutch aren’t fazed.            simply can not be outsourced if participate.                                       Contributors
higher-education and services, for          “When the United States deals                                                                                              Ali A. Karim
instance, has left huge vacancies in    with a crisis, they react like this,” he                                                                                       Alyssa Friesen
construction, renovation, plumbing      says, waving both of his arms fran-
and even teaching.                      tically in the air. “But we stay calm                                                                                           Denise Law
   “Because everyone wants a            and look for solutions. If we saw                                                                                            Evon Senathipathy
higher-education, we’re lacking in      Michael Jackson on the street, we                                                                                                Ian Ingles
handicraft jobs,” de Groot adds.        think ‘Hey, there’s Michael Jackson’
                                                                                                                                                                        Julie Ryland
“Even the job of a teacher isn’t so     and keep walking. We’re a small
high by people’s standards, so they     country, but very well-organized.”                                                                                           Phoenix Tarampi
do something else.”                           If organization, foresight and                                                                                         Raylene Knutson
   In the nineties, the government      knowledge are the keys to survival,
                                                                                                                                                                       Sara Viveiros
tried to fill the shortage by encour-   then developed countries should
aging Turkish and Moroccan im-          take note. But unlike many cities
migrants to work in the low-paid        in North America, which refuse to                                                                                             photographers
jobs the locals didn’t want to do.      confront the threat of outsourcing,                                                                                           Chris Fernando
The plan somewhat backfired, as         the people of Utrecht haven’t just                                                                                           Anthony Damtsis
many of the immigrants moved to         accepted the fact, but thrived from
more affordable neighbourhoods,         it.                                                                                                                          Raylene Knutson
even further segregated from the              At a time when policymakers
Dutch locals. The city’s policymak-     and critics question the viability                                                                                           Special Thanks
ers now face the challenge of inte-     of capitalism – Utrecht’s resilience                                                                                        Professor Art Pierce
grating the immigrants back into        proves that an open-economy, ap-
                                                                                                                                                                      Tue Si Nguyen
the Dutch community.                    plied with proper regulation – can
   And then there’s the timing of       lead to both innovation and healthy                                                                                          Lurana Krutchen
the recession to consider.              economic growth.                                                                                                                 P-FACS
   “Because the Dutch culture is            “If there is anything that will
so egalitarian, everything is about     save the city, it’s the people,” van
meetings, and giving everyone a         Leur says.                                                                                                               ADVERTISING
chance to speak,” says Brian Mas-             So yes, the Dutch are quite                                                                                         To advertise please
ton, a native of New York and           Darwinian. But it’s their practical                                                                                         contact us at:
professor at Hogeschool Utrecht.        thinking that has helped to sharpen
“Sometimes it takes forever to get      Utrecht’s competitive edge – be-                                                                                           commercetimes@
something done. Maybe that’s why        cause no matter how dire the re-                                                                                              ryerson.ca
we haven’t felt the recession yet.”     cession might be, the Dutch know
                                                                                                                                                                  www.thecommerce-
   But the recession is here. And       they’ll pull right through.                                                                                                  times.com
regardless of its impact, the Dutch                                                        City Center Utrecht, The Netherlands – Photo Courtesy of Denise Law

								
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