A Message From Our Chairwoman Carrie Kellenberger

Dear Members and Friends of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan,

Thank you for your support.

2016 was an incredible year for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan. It was a busy and transformative year for us from May 2016 onwards, as we had a few key players leave our team this year to move on to other adventures.

Carrie Kellenberger - Chairwoman Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan

I am proud of what the CCCT accomplished in 2016. Canada Day 2016 was a great success, and our 2nd Annual MacKay Charity Gala for MacKay Memorial Hospital doubled in size. We raised over $10,000CDN for the hospital and we celebrated the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei‘s 30th Anniversary in Taiwan.

This year, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce stepped up its game in the small business and foreign entrepreneur communities in Taiwan by hosting its first ever Dragons’ Chamber Taiwan, an event that is geared towards Taiwan’s vibrant and growing start-up scene.

Dragons’ Chamber Taiwan 2016 helped to bridge the fundraising gap for entrepreneurs who needed to raise up to NT$5 Million to start their businesses. We’re pleased to announce that four out of the five teams we worked with this year received assistance from angel investors and from other individuals who were interested in these new and innovative ideas from our foreign community through our Dragons’ Chamber Taiwan event.

We would like to thank Business Next magazine, Meet Start-Up Taipei, and Elias Ek for working with us on our mission, and our plans are proceeding for our 2nd Annual Dragons’ Chamber Taiwan.

Meanwhile, we are continuing our hard work with the CCCT’s Small Business Network to connect small business owners and entrepreneurs with industry leaders in Taiwan, and we started 2017 with some excellent lunches hosted by our Business Luncheon Committee, including a well-attended luncheon with Mr. Pierre Loisel Sr., a proud Canadian and a legend in Taiwan.

We are also making great strides with the CCCT’s dedicated Membership and Events Committees that are hard at work to bring you even better events in 2017.

2016 truly was a year to remember, but we know that 2017 is going to be even better!

For example, in 2017, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary on Saturday, July 1st, 2017 at Taipei Hakka Culture Park. We hope to see you there!

Our event planning team for Celebration Canada 2017 began meeting in November 2016 to ensure that this is our biggest and best Canada Day celebration ever. We have a number of new surprises in store for you at Taiwan’s largest outdoor foreign national day event in Taiwan.

I would like to thank you, our valued sponsors and members.

I’d also like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation towards our all-volunteer Board of Directors, Board of Supervisors, and their hard-working committees. These individuals generously donate their time, money, and energy into making the CCCT the success it is today. Without these key players, the CCCT would not be what it is today.

As the Chamber has grown and changed over the years, it has become even more important to work and plan together with common goals and a united leadership.

We recognize and appreciate those who have shared this vision, created these goals, and led the efforts that our CCCT community currently enjoys. We have much more in store for you, so please keep an eye on the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan‘s website or give the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan’s Facebook page a ‘like‘ to show your support for Canada and Taiwan. Follow our Events calendar for upcoming events. We promise, we have much more in store for you in 2017.

It is my honour and pleasure to serve as Chairwoman of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan and its governing body for 2016 through to 2018. It is my great privilege to be walking in the footsteps of those who have made the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan into what it is today.CCCT

Please help us to make 2017 an even greater success.

All the best,

 

Carrie Kellenberger

Chairwoman, Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan

48 Hours of Luxury at the Grand Hyatt Taipei

By Joshua Samuel Brown and Stephanie Huffman, Special to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan

Joshua Samuel Brown - Lonely Planet Author

Image Source: Tobie Openshaw

For a long time I scoffed at luxury hotels, but this was largely because luxury hotels were way out of my reach. (“A Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing is your ticket to the finer things in life” said no undergraduate advisor ever.)

Then I began my illustrious career as a guidebook writer, and not only could I still not afford to stay in luxury hotels but I was obliged to visit them regularly to review them on the sly, conducting clandestine inspections of some of Asia’s best known five-stars by day bedding down in hostels by night.

This oft-used technique is employed by many an honest travel writer – for a full report on the potential pitfalls of this method, click over to My Parents are Little People.

But Taipei’s hostels are no place to bring a lady, especially a jet-lagged first time visitor who’s come to Taiwan sight unseen as part of a strangely-hatched literary mission / life transition.

So when Paul Ou, Marketing Communications Manager at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, offered Stephanie and I a soft landing place at the start of our Formosa Moon Research Trip, we accepted with great gratitude. The two-day stay would give us a place to relax in style and to plan out the next three months of travel and writing around Taiwan, a trip during which luxury would definitely not be the planned focus.

We had arrived in town on New Year’s Eve, and as even the humbler hotels were booked we’d spent the previous two nights couch-surfing. Still bedraggled and road-weary, we were whisked up to our apartment on the 20th floor to begin our 48 hour luxury package.

Yes, apartment. With two bathrooms (one more than our actual apartment in Portland, Oregon), a huge living room that doubled as our office (or would have if we’d gotten any actual work done), a bedroom fit for a king in more ways than just the king-sized mattress, the Grand Executive Suite deserved to be called no less.

At the risk of showing my age, let’s start with the bathrooms.

The main one boasted a rainforest shower, a tub big enough for a romantic evening with two full-grown mermaids and a heated toilet with a bewilderingly soothing number of water-spouting accoutrements.

The living room bathroom had the same cyber-toilet but lacking either the tub or shower seemed more geared towards executive business. The living room water closet also lacked wall-to-wall and nigh floor-to-ceiling windows, which is noteworthy only in that it was literally the only room in the entire suite in which one could not look out upon everything in Taipei city south, east (and in one spot close to the front door) west of Taipei 101.

In mathematical terms, our suite boasted 3/4 of a 360 degree view, which according to Siri means our suite offered a 270 degree view of Taipei (and the fact that I needed to bother Siri on such a stunningly simple calculation should tell you all you need to know about why I chose a career in writing).

Grand Hyatt Taipei and 101

Image Source: Tobie Openshaw

The view, showing Taipei in its busy glory by day and neon splendor by night, could be blocked out at the push of a bank of buttons that raised and lowered blinds, sent blackout curtains sliding from hidden compartments, turned lights on and off, operated the large flat screen TV and would call room service to order kippers for the mermaids in the bathtub.

We did not send for room service (though it was an 24/7 option), opting instead to try as many of the Grand Hyatt’s dozen-or-so eating spots as possible over our 48 hour stay. The Pearl Liang restaurant served up authentic Cantonese fare with just a hint of fusion, while the first floor café had a buffet rivaling the Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza greenmarket in its international bona-fides.

Our favorite spot turned out to be the 22nd floor Grand Club Lounge, both for its daily breakfast, all-day snack selection and evening cocktail parties. It was during one of these parties where we reconnected with an astrophysicist we’d met on the flight over, discussing over hors d’oeuvres both the smallness of the world and the vastness of the universe.

We were also taken to wander avec chaperon through some of the other rooms at the Grand Hyatt (one of the perks of travel writing) and were impressed by managements’ overall attention to detail. All hotels keep a few books in their rooms, but these are usually either decorative Reader’s Digest type collections, or religious tomes designed to dissuade the lonely traveler from doing something they might regret after having a few too many from the mini-bar.

But each of the rooms we visited (including our own) had books worth buying – graphic novels, guides to astronomy, short story collections. As writers ourselves, we were encouraged. Not enough to tear us away from the bathtub, 270 degree view of Taipei, flat-screen TV complete with first-run pay-per-view movies and other diversions to do any actual work. But…almost.

Cuisine, accommodations worthy of a Sultan (of Brunei or Swing, take your pick) and being allowed to spend time recuperating from a lengthy journey while preparing for an even lengthier one was but a part of our 48 hour luxury package.

The other part was a three-hour long treatment at the Grand Hyatt’s brand new Oasis Spa. But for that description, I’ll pass the keyboard to the other half of the Formosa Moon Team.

Joshua Samuel Brown and Stephanie Huffman

Image Source: Tobie Openshaw

Stephanie?

What did I do to deserve such luxury?

Before our session had begun, we’d been invited to soak in the gender-separated spa area. I hit the sauna first, hoping to sweat out the processed-food toxins from many days of travel, but the sauna proved too hot.

Bailing after just a few minutes, I moved to the steam room, settling into the overall vibe, listening to the mellow hiss of steam. Everything in the spa had clearly been designed with comfort and serenity in mind.

The spa’s centerpiece, the main hot pool, was designed to allow the water to rest at the stone pool’s upper edge. As I entered it spilled over the sides into the drain surrounding the pool. After I had settled into a comfortable spot the water stilled and again the water level rode right to the pool edge.

The scene was quiet and relaxing. A small cold pool sat nearby. I worked myself up to walk down the steps and submerge myself to my shoulders. After a few breaths I returned to the heated waters of the main pool.

I was repeating this process, alternating between hot and cold when my masseuse came in to get me, wrapping me in a thick white robe before bringing me upstairs to our couples massage room. Joshua was already seated, soaking his feet in a brine of scented water, sipping flower tea in (uncharacteristic) silence.

I joined him as our masseuses readied the tables while we drank a flower tea in silence. We were then beckoned to our heated massage tables, where we, after being slathered in black mud, were wrapped in a coating of thick plastic and covered in heavy blankets. My masseuse applied additional mud onto my face with a soft brush, which I found quite soothing. I’d done many spa sweats in New Mexico and had always enjoyed the experience.

It had been several years since I had done such a sweat, and I was floating on a pleasant cloud of heated mud and perspiration.

My reverie is interrupted suddenly.

I feel like a butterball turkey roasting in its own juices.”

Joshua, apparently, has reached his own heat tolerance, and begins unwrapping himself prematurely from his mud cocoon. He makes a beeline for the shower.
Not long after, my masseuse gestures for me to sit up. As I ease into a standing position, a mixture of mud and sweat pours down my body. The masseuse folds the plastic around my calves, allowing me to waddle to the shower without dripping on the floor. After washing in a beautifully warm shower, I join Joshua on the couch and await the next round.

We’re given a light snack during our break, mochi – a sweetened glutinous rice cake – and more tea. The sauna mud wrap having begun the process of melting away the soreness from days of awkward sleeping arrangements, I’m now ready for the massage to evaporate the rest. I am not disappointed – my masseuse knows her trade well, using enough pressure to work my muscles without pain.

After the massage, we’re invited to relax again on the couch with more flower tea before beginning the last part of the treatment – the facial. Lying still on the table, a seemingly endless array of gentle paintbrushes caress my skin with sweet smelling lotion. Again, I find myself drifting away.

The facial complete, we are offered more tea and advised to let the oils and other unguents from the various stages of the Calm treatment to to soak into our skin for the rest of the day before showering. Every inch of my skin velvety soft, Joshua and I head upstairs for a mid-day rest, Calm, relaxed and serene.

Foyer of the Grand Hyatt Taipei

Image Source: Stephanie Huffman

Joshua Samuel Brown has authored or co-authored 13 books, including Vignettes of Taiwan and a dozen or so guides for guidebook titan, Lonely Planet. He and his partner Stephanie Huffman are in Taiwan working on a collaborative project called Formosa Moon, to be published by Things Asian Press in 2018. To learn more about Formosa Moon, check out www.josambro.com or their Facebook page at Honey Trekkers

Grand Hyatt Taipei

2, SongShou Road, Taipei, Taiwan, 11051

The CCCT Wishes Everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Dear Members & Friends,

As we bid farewell to 2016, the CCCT would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support throughout the year.

In this past year, the CCCT has enjoyed many valuable moments with you and together we have come through a year that was filled with success, joy and laughter.

Please allow us to extend our genuine appreciation to each and every one of you for your support. May your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill, and may the year ahead be full of contentment and joy.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,
The Team at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan

Celebration Canada 2016 – Raffle Winners Announcement

The Raffle Winners Are

Raffle Winners Announcement:

1. EVA Airways, Taipei-Canada Roundtrip Air Ticket 長榮航空, 台北加拿大來回機票1張
Winning Number: 0816-

2. China Airline Taipei-Canada Roundtrip Air Ticket中華航空, 台北加拿大來回機票1張
Winning Number: 0054-

3. Xitou Le Midi Suite Accommodation 米蒂亞套房雙人住宿券(1)
Winning Number: 0105-

4. Xitou Le Midi Weekday Accommodation 平日雙人住宿券(1)
Winning Number: 0883-

5. MacKay Charity Gala Tickets for 2 (Sep 24) 馬偕慈善晚宴雙人門票 (1)
Winning Number: 0153-

6. Zhongli Le Midi Accommodation 中壢米堤雙人住宿券(1)
Winning Number: 0811-

7. Afternoon Tea for 2 at La Rotisserie 雲軒雙人下午茶套餐(2)
Winning Number: 0154, 0579-

8. Roots Leather Bag 真皮手提袋(3)
Winning Number: 0156, 0099, 0132-

9. Pearl Bracelet 引雅珠寶-珍珠手鍊(5)
Winning Number: 0089, 0128, 0567, 0560, 1605-

10. Canadian Red Wine 加拿大紅酒禮盒(5)
Winning Number: 0046, 0415, 0001, 0901, 0417-

11. $1000 Roots Coupon 一千元抵用卷(25)
Winning Number: 0598, 0565, 0089, 0488, 0449, 0407, 0500, 0453, 0115, 0092, 0167, 0462, 0479, 0575, 0097, 0448, 0116, 0478, 0872, 0491, 0879, 0091, 0463, 0497, 0199-

12. Roots 20th Anniversary Stuffed Bear 20周年紀念熊(20)
Winning Number: 0469, 0877, 0034, 0589, 0190, 0027, 0437, 0111, 0905, 0514, 0070, 0434, 0572, 0069, 0576, 0829, 0519, 0834, 0094, 0021-

13. Roots Travel Bag 藍色旅行袋(25)
Winning Number: 0005, 0043, 0819, 0492, 0107, 0880, 0428, 0120, 0471, 0495, 0149, 0161, 0874, 0072, 0498, 0018, 0194, 0409, 0481, 0159, 0904, 0164, 0012, 0431, 0033-

14. China Airlines Model Aircraft 華航模型客機(10)
Winning Number: 0053, 0009, 0511, 0186, 0109, 0191, 0597, 0127, 0444, 0584-

15. Hello Kitty Model Aircraft 凱蒂貓模型客機(10)
Winning Number: 0445, 0508, 0412, 0416, 0123, 0423, 0422, 0516, 0438, 0068-

16. $600 Alleycat’s Coupon 陸佰元抵用卷(8)
Winning Number: 0063, 0570, 0037, 0876, 0121, 0465, 0559, 0071-

17. $500 Carnegie’s Coupon 伍佰元抵用卷(10)
Winning Number: 0073, 0430, 0507, 0509, 0130, 0136, 0066, 0585, 0883, 0124-

18. Campus Café, Coffee Mug + $300 Coupon 馬克杯+參佰元抵用卷(10)
Winning Number: 0571, 0173, 0807, 0080, 0440, 0178, 0019, 0135, 0425, 0133-

19. Canada Beef Travel Kit 旅行組(15)
Winning Number: 0884, 0587, 0040, 0165, 0058, 0035, 0061, 0010, 0593, 0524, 0887, 0407, 0895, 0143, 0197-

20. $300 the Diner Coupon 參佰元抵用卷(10)
Winning Number: 1602, 0889, 0087, 0057, 0148, 0564, 0432, 0447, 0752, 0468-

21. Canadian Nougat 加拿大牛軋糖(10)
Winning Number: 0065, 0458, 0896, 0007, 0475, 0014, 0455, 0882, 0020, 0185-

22. Le Midi Gift Bag (Tea+Rice+T-Shirt) 米堤三寶(茶包+米+圓杉) (3)
Winning Number: 0467, 0903, 0129-

 

 

E-Commerce in Taiwan (Event Recap)

Date & Time: Friday, 6th May 8pm-10pm
Venue: Beer & Cheese Social House
Topic: eCommerce in Taiwan
Admission: Members FREE, Non-members $NT200

The CCCT’s Small Business Committee (SBC) invites you to attend our next presentation and discussion night on Friday, May 6th, 2016 at 8pm at Beer & Cheese Social House.

There will be a few short presentations for individuals interested in operating their own e-commerce business in Taiwan. Please join us, learn something, contribute something, and meet some cool people.

After presentations from our guest speakers, who are all knowledgeable and successful expat entrepreneurs in the e-commerce industry, there will be a Q&A and open discussion.

Our guest panel is:

*Mr. Anthony van Dyck, Founder of Taiwanease.com*Taiwanease 300x250
Originally a highly acclaimed magazine, Taiwanease was officially re-launched as an independent website on September 1st, 2012.

Since then, Taiwanease has grown to be the largest website of its kind in Taiwan, with bustling forums, classified ads, magazine articles, “how-to” guides, and a an island-wide directory with complementary smartphone app.

*Mr. Jake Morrison, Owner of Cogini*
For the past 10 years Jake Morrison has been running Cogini, a consulting company that helps entrepreneurs and startups build products.cogini-logo-name

He works them to define the product strategy and features, then builds the product, serving as their long term technical partner. Over the years, he has built dozens of custom e-commerce websites and mobile applications.

*Mr. Ofa Hsueh, Knowledge Keeper, Archilife Research Foundation; Consultant, Digital Movie Create Club, NTU*
Ofa has diverse experience in IT field as a programmer, hacker, manager and COO. He also travels between Silicon Valley Ofa Hsuehand Taiwan to develop his own start-ups philosophies. Mr. Hsueh will be talking about payment systems, including an overview of FinTech, why FinTech matters for eCommerce, and tips for building a modern eCommerce platform in Taiwan.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Yilan Is Magic – Cycling Through The Ocean Breeze (Part 2)

Yilan is Magic continued from Part 1 on My Several Worlds… Today’s guest post is brought to us by Joshua Samuel Brown. Mr. Brown is the author of Vignettes of Taiwan and 13 Lonely Planet Guides, including the 2007 & 2010 editions of Lonely Planet Taiwan.

Cyclists looking to chase the ocean breezes should hit the 13.5KM Seaside Cycling Road between Zhulan Bird Watching Area and the Dingliao Ecological Park. Other Yilan cycling paths include the 10K Dezikou River path, which passes through fish farms and protected wetland and the 10.5K Lanyang River path, which goes through the Lanyang River Bird Sanctuary and offers great views of nearby Guishan Dao (Turtle Island).

Seasoned cyclists who don’t mind sharing the road will find in Yilan thousands of kilometers of beautiful roads, most all offering beautiful views and some with relatively light traffic. Though on bigger roads you’ll ride beside the usual assortment of scooters, cars and the occasional tour bus (especially on the coastal highway, which is still a must-ride), on smaller inland roads expect to pass many a slow-moving farming vehicle on your ride.

Yilan’s agricultural roots run deep, and over the last several years Yilan has morphed agriculture with tourism, leading to the creation of several leisure farm, areas consisting of several – in some cases, dozens – farms and agricultural areas that supplement their agriculture output with tourism. In some cases, tourism seems to have overshadowed agricultural output entirely.

One such leisure farm is the Jhentoushan Agricultural Leisure Area, a collection of attractions spread out over several kilometers rice paddies and former farmland east of Yilan city. Jung Lung Jai is a a traditional Taiwanese farmhouse that’s been renovated and brought back to life as as a café serving coffee, kumquat tea and homemade pizza. The café sits next to Wang Long Tang (Dragon watching Pond), an artificial lake that’s home to a multitude of water-birds multi-angled bridge shaped like a lightning bolt leads to an island with a pavilion, as good a spot for dragon watching as any you’re likely to come across.

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The author in a giant pitcher plant at Bo’s Farm – the Living Zen college

Other parts of the Jhentoushan Agricultural Leisure Area include quirky spots like Bo’s Farm – the Living Zen college. Even if you’re not in the market to buy carnivorous flora, its still worth a visit to see the thousands of  pitcher plants and Venus flytraps that are Bo’s agricultural output. There ‘s even one you can sit inside, if you’re in the mood to feel like a mosquito. Somewhat more straightforward in nature is the Agrioz museum of Candied Fruits. Part factory, part store, Agrioz earns the right to call itself a museum thanks to the educational tours, complete with courses in DIY candied fruit-making. The museum is run by second-generation candied fruit maker Lin Ding-gang, who enjoys regaling visitors with Taiwanese opera songs about – what else – candied fruit.

Though not in the Jhentoushan Agricultural Leisure proper, the Fang Yue Tea Garden holds its own in the quirky-cool-agricultural department, offering lessons in the finer points of of traditional tea-cake preparation under the careful instruction proprietress Hong Hsou Ing. Though the ingredients are deceptively simple – Green Tea Powder, Green Bean flower, and various fillings made of pomelo & mulberry (with a hint of orange peel) – making the cakes takes a bit of practice.  Mrs. Hong promises that all her charges will leave not merely knowing how to make green-tea cakes, but but with a box filled with 15 cakes presentable enough for gifting or eating on the train back home.

If DIY tea-cake making doesn’t bring out your inner child, than a visit to the San Fu Leisure Farm just might – more jungle tour than farm, San Fu’s chief ranger is a jovial, hyper passionate man nicknamed Elephant, who leads tours through the extensive jungle paths while teaching about both the flora and fauna of the area, which include an endless variety of butterflies, spiders and frogs, some of which Elephant (given name Chen Han Ching) will hypnotize for your amusement.

IMG_0562

Image Source

Finally, Yilan offers more adult pursuits, and those with a taste for fine spirits will want to hit the Kavalan Distillery, Taiwan’s first and only whiskey distillery, the Kavalan Distillery is said by some in the high-price booze know to produce the world’s finest single-malt scotch. Tour the factory and learn how Whisky is made from start to finish. If you’re of drinking age you can sample various blends in Kavalan’s tasting room. Underage visitors and teetotalers will have to content themselves with the angels share, the fumes given off by the evaporating whisky that permeate the factory.

And if that isn’t enough to relax you, there’s always The Art Spa.

Joshua Samuel Brown is the author of Vignettes of Taiwan and 13 Lonely Planet Guides, including the 2007 & 2010 editions of Lonely Planet Taiwan. He currently leads bicycle tours around Taiwan for Bicycle Adventures, and considers himself a semi-honorary Canadian by virtue of having once lived in Newfoundland. Follow him on twitter @josambro, and buy his most recent book of short stories, How Not To Avoid Jet Lag and other tales of travel madness at Smashwords or Amazon.

Li Cheng-Shu is a Photographer and tour guide based in Yilan. Find him on Facebook at CS Art Space & Studio (青水工作室)

Working in the Education Industry in Taiwan (Event Recap)

A few weeks ago, the CCCT Small Business Committee had another Taiwan Small Business Network event, aimed at presenting some deep background and top tips for expats interested in starting an education based business.Tribeca Taipei

It was a really successful event, thanks, of course, to our enlightened speakers, and to enthusiastic participation by the attendees. Many thanks to TRIBECA for hosting their second small business event with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan. We truly appreciate your support and patronage!

Our first speaker was Brian Hockertz, CEO of Oh! Study Education Group. Brian is a very long-term Taiwan expat, having worked for the Canadian Trade Office in Taiwan even before Taipei 101 existed! Going from heading the education department at the CTOT, Brian went on to open his own successful educational consultancy for Taiwanese students bound for overseas study, first in Canada, then also in the USA, and now worldwide.Oh Study-2016

Brian shared with us the distillation of his business experience in Taiwan, presented as points of advice:

  1. Respect your core competency. Stay focused and committed to the thing you do best;
  2. Go local, that’s where your market is;
  3. Keep clean books, because your business competitors will try and get you audited, if you actually start making any money;
  4. Standardize your operations as if it were a franchise. That’s called efficiency and it’s much easier to train staff in this kind of system;
  5. Be one of the top 5 companies in Taiwan the world at what you do. Be world class, and you will get customers;
  6. You might very well be copied, so keep innovating.

Thanks Brian for your business bushido!

Carleen's English SchoolNext Carleen Emma, founder and owner of Carleen’s English School, a mid-sized children’s cram school in Neihu, told us about her experiences starting and growing her now-successful business. And, wow! What a story!

Carleen talked about the financial tightrope she walked, the constant struggle with surprise costs and revenue slumps, and the big risk she took when she bought out a larger location. But running her business wasn’t just about money: She also very frankly told us about the tough times when she was teaching classes with her infant daughter strapped to her body, and about the deep connection she had with the local community achieved by protecting and educating their children, listening to their concerns, and being a positive part of the scene day by day, month by month, year by year.

A great origin story with a happy ending!

Thanks Carleen!

Our next presentation was from Bob MacLeod. Bob became a partner with Rick France, who is the founder of ACES. For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, ACES is the top franchise in Taiwan of a business model that was formerly called “hardcore foreign-run buxiban”.Aces English School

The model is of an expat-owned cram school hires (reasonably) bilingual foreign teachers to do very focused and disciplined classes where words and sentence patterns in English are directly translated into Mandarin. Each class has an aggressive pace, and the students’ mothers are often seated at the back of the room, helping to motivate both student and teacher. ACES teachers get quite decent pay if they build up their skills and class size, and stay with the school for many years. There are now 13 branches in Taiwan.

Bob’s talk was mainly about how he came to Taiwan with a strong background in education, looking for an education-based business opportunity. He found out about ACES, and partnered on a new school in Hsintien, which has become a success. Opportunities are out there if you are sharp enough to see them!

Brief takeaway from his starting a business in Taiwan experience: Always overestimate your expenses.

Cheers Bob!

Last but not least, Joel Laughrin, owner of Guidelines International English Academy, and Professional Support Leader, Asia Pacific Cambridge English, gave a great talk. Joel explained the benefits to all stakeholders – parents, teachers, students and schools – of having a professional third-party independent language ability assessment. Especially, of course, when that system comes from Cambridge University, a global leader in EFL.

Takeaway: if you can be involved at an ownership level in a respected global EFL brand in Taiwan, your business will likely have decent growth potential over time. Quality pays off.

Thank you Joel!

We look forward to seeing you at our next event at CODA. We have guest speakers that will be talking about their experience operating your own sporting business in Taiwan. Come and check it out!

Operating Your Own Sporting Business in Taiwan (Recap)

Our event at CODA on April 8th, Operating Your Own Sporting Business in Taiwan, was another success. Thanks very much to our expert speakers!

First, Kathleen Batchelor talked about her journey that took her to being a successful Taipei instructor of Zumba, a globally-popular aerobic dance exercise program that incorporates Latino dance styles and hip hop.Kathleen Batchelor

After dabbling in ballet and burlesque, she says she was hooked after her first Zumba class. After her Zumba instructor left Taiwan, she stepped in and took over the class, soon thereafter receiving her official certification as an instructor. She now has hundreds of students, and is well on her way to leaving ESL teaching completely behind.

Persistence and skill were part of it, but she claims her success is mainly based on Free Electrifying Joy! Anyone can succeed if they follow their true passion.

Thanks for the inspiration Kathleen!

nigelandersonSecond, we heard from Nigel Anderson, owner of the Scubar in Fulong Beach, where in addition to providing food and beer, he takes divers out to sites on the North East Coast. He starts his trainees at the Taipei Songshan Sports Center pool, a step he says is essential for safety.

A licensed PADI instructor, Nigel says that it was always his dream to be a business owner. So when he had an opportunity to buy the Fubar (a popular foreign-owned restaurant in Fulong), he jumped at the chance.

Nigel had gone diving in Canada’s Vancouver Island, Okinawa, Australia and Thailand. But when he first started diving in Taiwan, in Longdong, he was taken aback by the limited number of dive sites that led to massive overcrowding. So he and his crew went exploring and found lots of good coral – 32 new sites, to be exact.

Now business is good, and he has signed on with the big new Fullon hotel in Fulong. But problems remain: he still gets flack from fishermen who think that scuba divers scare away all the fish. And his relationship with his landlord went south when he asked for an upgraded electrical connection. However, his drive to explore has helped him bring his business dream to life. Thumbs up, mate!

Next, Shawn McClelland gave a talk. Shawn is a successful serial entrepreneur whose startup credits include Luxy, OMNI nightclub, the Green Room, and MIT English Schools. One of his big current projects is 03 Fitness Taipei, which has top-quality modern equipment and innovative fitness programs that incorporate boxing, kicking, yoga, interval training and more. o3-logo

One of Shawn’s main points was that selecting business partners is of the utmost importance. Not only is it essential to share a clear vision with partners, it is also crucial to enumerate any troublesome situations that might come up and have a clear plan for them in black and white. People can have a very different sense of fairness, especially if they are “sweat equity” partners – those who contribute something other than money, such as skill or contacts, to the business. If you don’t have a clear system for dealing with possible disputes, there can be grief, so always have an exit strategy.

Shawn also said that the legal requirements for owning a gym are quite onerous, especially regarding obligations toward clients. So get a good lawyer to write up your contracts, but don’t automatically trust them to do their best for you. You yourself are responsible for making sure you get contract terms that protect your interests.

Last but not least, he mentioned that it is useful to use group cohesion to keep customers engaged. Get some class spirit going so members will nag each other into not missing classes. This is good not only for your business, but helps satisfy your clients’ fitness goals as well.

Next, Tomasz Hasinski of Runivore gave a great presentation. “Eat Superfoods and Run!” is Runivore’s moto, and the company Runivoresells nutritious Chia seeds and Chia-based food products. Their company was created by three runners, who found that their middle-aged bodies weren’t up to the demands of 100k runs powered by burgers and fries alone! Like Shawn McClelland, Tomasz discussed the importance of finding the right partners and having a dispute resolution system. For them it is usually based on going on a run together after an argument! But they also have scheduled “airing out” meetings on a regular basis to keep things real.

He also emphasized the importance of quality: never take any shortcuts when it comes to quality. It took them a while to find the right clean and safe manufacturer for their Chia seed bars, but they did: one that also produced for Starbucks and hospitals.

The company is in the midst of expanding to Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. Good luck guys, and thanks for sharing!

Last but not least, we heard from Andrew Lunman, creator of CODA, Bongos, Forkers, and other successful restaurants in Taipei. This was Andrew’s farewell to the CCCT Small Business Network, as he is returning to Canada, and it was a sad one for all concerned. Andrew’s experience and community spirit has been a driving force for the Small Business Network. His last message was that it was a real pleasure to him to see so many expats with creative ideas. His final official words to the expat small business community, regarding any small business plan they might have: “Go ahead and do it! Do it!”

Honouring Our Ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day

Every year on April 5, Taiwan honours its dead with a special festival. The festival is called Qingming, but it is often referred to as Tomb Sweeping Day. In Mandarin, Qingming is roughly translated to “Pure Brightness Festival,” and the day is intended for people to go outside and enjoy the spring weather while paying respects to their ancestors.

On Tomb Sweeping Day, the people of Taiwan traditionally go on family outings to visit the graves of their departed relatives. The families will usually pray at each grave site before sweeping and cleaning the grave as a sign of respect. Some families will even sing and dance at the gravesites and offer food and wine to the deceased.

Willow branches are a very common sight on Tomb Sweeping Day. It is believed that willow branches will fend off the evil spirits that roam around on Qingming. As such, people will carry willow branches with them, and some will even hang the branches from their front doors.

Another Qingming tradition you’re sure to come by is a bite-sized snack called caozaiguo. Caozaiguo consists of sweet dough made with rice flour, sugar and East Asian herbs that give the snack a green colour. The dough is then usually filled with ground meat or bean paste.

Tomb Sweeping Holiday-1988

Since 1975, Tomb Sweeping Day has always been observed in Taiwan on April 5, in order to honour the death of Chiang Kai-Shek, a Chinese political leader who ruled Taiwan for 30 years. Chiang’s legacy is the subject of much debate in Taiwan, but Tomb Sweeping Day is still recognized every year on the anniversary of his death.

For Canadians in Taiwan that are looking to take part in the festival, the Danshui Foreign Cemetery in Taipei is the perfect place to go.

Many Canadians are buried in the cemetery, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been maintaining the grounds every Tomb Sweeping Day since 1984. Don’t miss your chance to take part in this unique and meaningful festival!

Event Recap: Working in the Entertainment Industry in Taiwan

Event Recap: Friday, 15th January 8-10pm at DV8 Pub

We had a great event a few Fridays ago at DV8: excellent speakers and solid support from our hosts Gary O’Connor and Stephen Hepples, as well as the entire DV8 staff. Thanks also to Chef Jason for the good food!

Our first speaker was Elias Ek, founder of B2B sales and marketing firm Enspyre. Elias talked about the Foreign Entrepreneur’s Workshop on January 28th, in cooperation with the City of Taipei Department of Economic Development.

The workshop (there was an earlier one on November 30) will provide a space for foreign entrepreneurs to share their frustrations with local government officials, in the interest of reforming government policy over time. In addition, expat small business people can also learn how to apply for grants and subsidies to start or grow their businesses.

Then we had three speakers who presented on the ins and outs of being an expat entertainment worker in Taiwan:

First, we had Mr. Brook Hall, Managing Artistic Director at The Lab Space. Brook gave the packed room a run down on his long career in Taiwan. He said it took him years and years to get comfortably established, and encouraged anyone interested in acting to contact him to get more info on how The Lab Space can help them. The LAB Space on Facebook.

Contact Brook
Email:bfly.efx@gmail.com
Tel:  02-28985382

Second, we had Mr. Daniel T, of the Foreign Students Club. Daniel spoke mainly about being a model and actor in Taiwan, and gave useful tips about working with agencies. If you are interested in modeling or the Foreign Students Club (which aims to help foreign students have the best possible experience in Taiwan) you can contact Daniel through the FSIT Facebook page.

Last but not least, DJ Marcus Aurelius described his journey as a DJ (plus writer, actor etc.) in Taiwan. Among several great take-aways was this: Don’t burn your bridges! He said that he had previously had issues with Frog in a Sock, but now they are working together in harmony. Take the long-term view and grow positive relationships!

After his speech, Marcus went on to DJ for the rest of the evening, laying down some great tunes for the convivial after-party. Want to contact Marcus? Find DJ Marcus Aurelius on Facebook or email him at DJMarcusA@gmail.com.

Stay tuned for more fun and useful events by the CCCT Small Business Committee!

Photographer: Josh Yang – Visit the CCCT Small Business Network Facebook album for event photos.