Looking to expand your business beyond Canada?

Faye Roberts   

Business Operations Industry Government Manufacturing export global markets manufacturing trade

Tap Canada's trade commissioners to help access global markets.

Made in Canada, a respected international brand. PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

Are you interested in tapping into global markets and finding new customers. Are you considering investing in global locations to serve your global customers?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to know about the resources available to provide advice and support to Canadian companies looking to expand internationally.

One important source of support is the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which is made available by the Federal Global Affairs Canada department. The service boasts trade offices across Canada and 161 offices around the world that provide Canadian businesses with a range of advice and information to help them take advantage of global opportunities. In their own words, the Trade Commissioner Service provides businesses with “on-the-ground intelligence and practical advice on foreign markets to help … make better, more timely and cost-effective decisions in order to achieve … goals abroad.”

An opportunity to grow


Trade missions organized through the Canadian Trade Commission can be a pivotal tool in helping businesses get established in new jurisdictions; in fact, this is a focus for the trade offices. The federal trade commissioner services are designed to assist Canadian companies export successfully and to stimulate foreign investment on Canadian soil.

Businesses on the cusp of an expansion into new markets often do not have the expertise to navigate the red tape or the connections to tap into all the connections that can make a market expansion successful and that is where the Trade Commission staff can help. In the same respect, companies hiring talent from other jurisdictions may need additional support to process immigration papers and get boots on the ground in order to grow its business, this too presents an opportunity to reach out to the Trade Commission.

Small business has relied heavily on the resources available through the Trade Commission to dive into new markets by attending Trade Missions. The reality is that an invite to a Trade Mission won’t come out of nowhere you need to put your business on the radar by reaching out to your local politicians and Trade Commissioner to request meetings, pitch your business to articulate your unique opportunity and how they can help.

Kitchener, Ont.-based MappedIn, which makes indoor wayfinding technology, learned the power of trade missions earlier on as a technology start-up. A Financial Post article published in 2015 quoted co-founder and CEO Hongwei Liu:

“I give a lot of credit to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. It has been amazing for us. Landing in Southeast Asia in five countries in 12 days, we received so much assistance from the service, setting up meetings, being able to speak the local language, taking us into boardrooms, providing background information on the companies we met. I don’t think our trip would have been nearly as successful without its help.”

In 2017, MappedIn, announced it had partnered with business development firm Cameron Thomson to assist with its Asian expansion strategy, which was propelled by its early exploratory meetings and the assistance of Canada’s Trade Commissioner Services.

The resources available to businesses to get on the right track with international markets and development are out there. Make a note to reach out to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service before you make big decisions about global expansion.

Scout Public Affairs Inc. partners with leaders and organizations to achieve business and personal objectives by developing teams and improving their effectiveness through the application of proven communications and corporate affairs expertise.


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