I recently accepted a posting for EDC in China and am now directly helping small businesses and other Canadian exporters reach into emerging markets. Who’s ready to join me?
Since this column started in 2010, I have been encouraging Canadian small businesses to take the plunge and expand their business into emerging markets. After three and a half years of leading the Small Business Solutions team at EDC, it’s time for me to put into practice some of the things I have been suggesting to you.
I recently accepted a transfer into the hub of a key emerging market — Shanghai — to become EDC’s Chief Representative for Greater China. It is an exciting challenge that will put me right in the middle of the action to find ways to help more Canadian companies succeed in this mammoth of a market.
During my tenure as Regional Vice-President of Small Business, I had the opportunity to meet many Canadian entrepreneurs who impressed me with their success stories about growing globally. I know how challenging it is for small businesses to export and invest abroad, but I have also found that the most successful ones share three common strengths in particular:
First, they are innovative companies that are prepared to re-invent themselves. They are always looking for ways to improve their processes and products and invest in R&D, no matter whether times are good or bad.
Second, they are looking for new markets to export their products or services. Diversification from the U.S. market and entry into higher growth emerging markets is a key strategy; and
Third, they carefully plan their expansion into new markets, avoiding the temptation of moving too quickly.
While in China, my role will be to support Canadian companies that either have a presence in the market or are exporting there — or planning these activities. As we all know, China represents a market with almost limitless opportunities. Many Canadian companies have already jumped in and been handsomely rewarded.
China also comes with significant risks and challenges that should not be dismissed. EDC’s role in China, and mine, is to provide Canadian companies with financial solutions that will facilitate their expansion in the market. We do this mainly in partnership with other financial institutions. We also act as a connector, helping companies navigate the intricacies and complexities of China by pointing you in the right directions. For this, we leverage our partners from International Trade Canada, the various provinces, and industry associations, such as the Canada China Business Council (CCBC).
From a personal perspective, my move to China will allow me to also re-invent myself, developing my skills further to become better connected and knowledgeable in trade for the benefit of Canadian exporters – who are by and large small and mid-sized business. Thank you to all of you who have been following my column to date — I hope I was able to help inform and ignite your exporting ambitions. Going forward, one of my colleagues will continue to keep you posted on the latest export trends and tips for small business.
Xié xié and Zai Jian…hope to see you in Shanghai!
Visit EDC’s Web site for more small business solutions
EDC is Canada’s export credit agency, offering innovative commercial solutions to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. EDC’s knowledge and partnerships are used by more than 7,700 Canadian companies and their global customers in up to 200 markets worldwide each year. EDC is financially self-sustaining and a recognized leader in financial reporting and economic analysis.