Kickstart your business growth through export
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
by Heather Laura Clarke
The right tools, resources and relationships can drastically change the growth possibilities for a company – and that’s exactly where Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) comes in.
This fall, NSBI is partnering with Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to offer workshops with timely, practical information for Nova Scotia companies looking to grow their markets outside the Province. Workshop topics range from U.S. tax requirements to trade regulations in China.
Jessica McCall, who runs NSBI’s export education program, says the “Think Export” workshop breaks down myths and fears about exporting, addresses common questions about getting started, and encourages business owners to take the next step.
NSBI brought the three-hour workshop to towns across Nova Scotia last year, and McCall says it was inspiring to meet with so many engaged business owners.
“It was wonderful to see them becoming so encouraged and energized about what export could do for their business,” says McCall.
“These workshops increase the business confidence level and show companies exporting is something they can do — from here — to grow their business and contribute to the success of our province.”
Export Development Canada (EDC) research has shown when a company embraces exporting, it’s likely to be 30 per cent more productive and experience annual growth at a rate 20 per cent faster. Exporting also increases innovation by 25 per cent and companies make 121 per cent more revenue than average.
For companies looking for comprehensive “how to” export information, the six FITTskills courses (created by The Forum for International Trade Training) will be held across the province — with brand-new content — starting this fall.
“Companies can get tactical, hands-on experience and training on international trade, finance, sales and marketing,” says McCall.
“NSBI encourages Nova Scotia companies to build their export tool box.”
NSBI’s newest series, “Think Global,” targets the current trends and issues keeping business owners up at night — like intellectual property protection and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Business owners can sign up for sessions on topics they’d like to know more about, and McCall promises they’ll pack a lot of valuable information into a single morning.
“We want these sessions to fit into the pace of business where time is just as valuable as money,” says McCall. “We’ll give them what they need to make decisions and be strategic in their planning, and we’re moving towards making content available online. Sessions and courses are listed as they become available.”
One upcoming session focuses on doing business in the U.S., and speakers include a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) specialist from Washington D.C., a U.S. tax specialist and a U.S. immigration specialist.
McCall says sometimes business owners are hesitant to reach out to NSBI because they assume their company is too small or not ready to export. NSBI has an online exporter self-assessment tool that takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
“It helps companies understand where their gaps are, and determine which courses are the best fit,” says McCall. “We’re happy to talk about where they are in their journey and what could be most helpful.”
Of course, NSBI’s support for local businesses goes beyond continued education workshops. NSBI has programs to help with market research and making connections with industry experts and potential clients.
“With our Global Advisors program, you can be connected with a senior-level person in your sector anywhere in the world,” says McCall. “These are people with a strong connection to Nova Scotia — an ex-pat, someone who went to university here — and they can provide an on-the-ground story about doing business in a particular city.”
NSBI’s goal is to increase the number of exporting companies in Nova Scotia, as well as increase the value of those exports. To make this happen, NSBI builds relationships with local businesses — giving them the tools they need, showing them how to get into markets, and helping them make the right connections.
With a team dedicated to working specifically with new exporters, NSBI helps business owners navigate specific opportunities and challenges. There are Regional Business Development Advisors working in every region across Nova Scotia, ready to lend a hand in person. Sometimes a simple coffee meeting makes all the difference in a company’s success.
“We work with companies that are doing great things. Our job is to show how much growth they can achieve when they add export into the mix,” says McCall. “NSBI takes care of business.”