Interested in Export? Trade Missions are Key

Posted By: Nancy Brommell, Business Advisor, Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba

There is a lot of attention on growing business via export these days, enhanced by things like the NAFTA renegotiation discussions and the signing of new trade agreements. Hopefully, as a business owner, you are asking yourself, “How can I benefit from these opportunities?”

All experts will agree that a good Export Plan should not be based on throwing spaghetti at a wall map of the world as the means of deciding where best to export your products and services.

Researching and planning are key elements to building your export strategy. “But how do I do that?” you are probably asking. Two words: TRADE MISSIONS. That what these women business owners did in 2016.

Nothing beats meeting and talking with people, and that is the beauty of participating in a trade mission. There is a wonderful trade mission called Go For the Greens, which will be held from February 13-17, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. I describe it as wonderful because it is a smaller event than most trade missions or trade shows. As a result, it is an excellent opportunity for women business owners who:

  1. Are at the early stages of researching the possibility of exporting as a way to expand and diversify their business,
  2. Learn best by meeting and talking with people, and/or
  3. Have done some research and know that there is potential for their products and services in the Florida region.

During this boutique-style Go For The Greens trade mission, you will:

  • Learn about exporting into the U.S.
  • Meet Canadian government trade commissioners and learn how they can help you grow the export dimension of your business; there is a fun and dynamic networking reception on the Wednesday (Feb. 13) evening for all the Canadian delegates, trade commissioners and other support staff; it’s always my favourite part of a trade mission
  • Explore export opportunities in the Florida region, which is the fourth largest economy in the U.S.
  • Participate in B2B (business to business) match maker meetings and get a clearer picture of what potential buyers look for when choosing suppliers
  • Meet other women business owners from across Canada and the U.S. that you will learn from and might also start doing business with (it happens!)

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has a free online guide called Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting, a must-read especially if you are at the early stages of growing the export dimension of your business. You may want to take a look at it before you attend Go For The Greens.

If the U.S. is a market where you already know you would like to export, then you will want to check out the TCS online document on Exporting to the United States – A Guide for Canadian Businesses.

The Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC), of which the Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan (WESK) is a member, works collaboratively with the Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) to support Canada’s export-oriented women-owned businesses at local and international levels.

Written by Nancy Brommell, Business Advisor, Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba.