Export Achievement Awards Brings Recognition and Returns
Friday, May 9, 2014
At the 2013 Export Achievement Awards, New Glasgow-based Velsoft received the Exporter of the Year Award for their overseas success selling innovative, customizable, e-learning products. The top honour was accepted by Jim Fitt on behalf of his company. Jim appreciated that success overseas didn’t always translate into recognition at home.
“When I went up to receive the award,” Jim recalls, “I looked out across the audience and the look I read on most of the faces was ‘Who is this guy?’. We’re in 164 different countries around the world with a 100%-made-in-Nova-Scotia product, but people here had never really heard of us.”
Things sure have changed for Jim and Velsoft since winning that award.
Now, Jim is a sought-after participant in policy discussions, trade missions, business panels, and the media. He was approached for his input during early drafts of the Ivany Report . “Winning that award really put us on the Atlantic Canadian business map,” Jim says. Not only has newfound recognition opened up speaking opportunities, it has opened up market opportunities, as well.
The latest trade mission Jim participated in offered the opportunity to build business in the Bahamas. While Velsoft hadn’t been targeting this market prior to the mission, Bahamian businesses were eager to embrace Velsoft’s products. One thing his widespread travel has taught Jim is that Canada has a very strong brand.
“People around the world love working with Canadians,” Jim asserts. “They see Canadian-made products as reliable, trustworthy, and high quality. We have a reputation for having very high standards.”
The award has also “put the wind in the sails of our organization” as Jim puts it. The rural Nova Scotia business has a distinct, fun, forward-thinking culture that Jim considers part of its intrinsic value. Since winning, he’s seen a real change in the team of 15 employees: renewed pride in what they do and how they do it has fueled their creativity and innovation. The heightened profile has also started to attract talented individuals who hadn’t previously recognized Velsoft as a potential employer.
In short, winning 2013 Nova Scotia Exporter of the Year has made Velsoft a poster child for successful export growth and has made Jim Fitt a credible, persuasive voice for Nova Scotia business development.
“We’ve learned there are many government agencies that work very hard behind the scenes to identify and celebrate success. I feel strongly that we earned their support, and that it makes their job to help us much easier when we’re willing to help ourselves. It’s very nice to be considered a good example of that.”
The Nova Scotia Export Achievement Awards luncheon will be held on May 29th, 2014 at the World Trade & Convention Centre in Halifax.