Exporting: the growth engine for business

Do you have a great product or service that you want to offer to an international market? Not connecting with the right contacts, not having the right tools, or the right partners might be the things keeping you from succeeding internationally. The decision to expand into a global economy can be a very profitable venture, but navigating through the services, contacts, foreign market information and international business opportunities may be intimidating. 

Many local Medicine Hat companies are already exporting their products and services to global markets and there are still many more that can get on board. Perhaps your company is wanting to go there but is struggling to determine the next steps. There are fabulous resources and existing programs available for businesses that are considering exporting.  Here are a few:

First, TFO Canada (sponsored by Global Affairs Canada) has an online Export Readiness Quiz that you can try to help you assess your readiness. This quiz may help you answer the question, “Is my business ready to export?” Deciding whether you should export your products or services will require some careful analysis and understanding of the market. You should also take time to learn about benefits and possible challenges.  

In 2016, The Alberta Government made an important announcement regarding new export programs that will help Alberta companies who want to explore international exporting opportunities. This resource called the Alberta Export Expansion Package consists of three programs allocated with $3 million per year to assist entrepreneurs in launching their business overseas. This answers the question, “Is there grant funding to help?”  

Pursuing international business arrangements can present costs and risks.  You may have questions about insurance and financing. Export Development Canada (EDC)provides support to companies by providing insurance, bonding (standby letters of credit & guarantees) as well as financing.

Another question may be, “How do I get my goods and services noticed by international companies?”  There is a database where you can register your company. The Industry Canada database allows domestic and international companies to browse their database and search for Canadian businesses who might be able to provide goods and services. To register your company, you will need to set up an Industry Canada account with a username and password. Select the “Register/update” tab to get started with your registration.

Another misstep in establishing international business is not having enough knowledge about exporting. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has provided a comprehensive step-by-step guide to Exporting. It is an excellent resource.  

According to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service research:

“companies using TCS services export 20.5% more than those that don’t, and access 20.9% more markets.” 

To help improve your awareness of the existing programs available, please consider joining APEX Alberta at our next free Exporting seminar. The purpose of this seminar is to promote and connect business to the existing partners and support programs that are available. You will have the opportunity to meet the partners that can connect you to foreign buyers and global supply chains, learn about international markets, existing trade missions and ask your questions. We want to help you navigate the exporting market and get the support you need. 

The Exporting seminar is scheduled for Friday, September 29, 2017 at the Medicine Hat College. You can register for this free event by going to EventBrite.

This was written by Elizabeth Blair. Elizabeth is the regional innovation network (RIN) coordinator at Community Futures Entre-Corp and works to oversee activities with APEX Alberta. APEX is a Regional Innovation Network that supports the growth of innovative and technologically-oriented businesses in Southeast Alberta.

APEX is a collaborative initiative between three core service providers: Community Futures Entre-Corp, Medicine Hat College; and Alberta Innovates. APEX strives to support local entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises to develop and adopt new technologies, commercialize innovative new products, improve productivity, and get connected to Alberta’s Innovation System.