The 2016 GCCIR matchmaking trip was the fifth iteration, visiting Germany and France. The matchmaking trips visit major cities around Germany and France. Past destinations have included in Germany the cities of Munich, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf and Dresden, and in France the cities of Paris, Lyon and Lille. Beyond the matchmaking symposia the participants also have the option to participate in site visits to startup incubators and technology parks, as well as a cultural program which introduces some of the historical, cultural, and culinary highlights of the various regions of Germany and France.
The German-Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research organizes regular matchmaking trips to bring Albertan SMEs (small-to-medium sized enterprises) to Germany and France for the purpose of meeting potential partners with whom to apply for the Collaboration Fund. Roughly fifteen to twenty SMEs are selected to participate in each matchmaking trip.
The matchmaking symposia are held in each city visited on the trip, and introduce trip attendees to potential partners with whom to apply for the Collaboration Fund. Prior to the matchmaking trip all attendees are asked to fill out detailed forms outlining the expertise and objectives of their enterprises; this information is used by the matchmaking partners of the GCCIR to find potential partner firms.
Every symposium will include presentations on the workings of the Collaboration Fund, presentations on doing business in the various jurisdictions, as well as a keynote speech on a relevant innovation-related topic. The symposia generally last for half a day (including morning coffee and a networking lunch), after which participants are free to continue with negotiations and discussions for the partners which they have met.
Eligibility criteria for the matchmaking trips is similar to those for the Collaboration Funds. Eligible SMEs will have 1-499 employees, and less than $50 million CAD in annual revenue. It is also required that the SMEs have a permanent physical presence in Alberta, although they may be headquartered elsewhere.