Two years ago an earthquake struck the Philippines, devastating communities. Today, homes in those neighbourhoods are being rebuilt using Canadian-made systems designed to stand up to the impacts of harsh environments and natural disasters.
In the Phillippines and other markets worldwide, Woodbridge, Ontario-based Nuform Building Technologies is not only coming to the rescue, but also expanding its market reach for its innovative building systems, which perform exceptionally well in areas that are prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, high humidity and heat and more.
The company now sells its energy-efficient and durable homes and other structures in some 60 countries worldwide. After the 2012 earthquake, Philippine officials asked Nuform for help with the re-building process.
Plans are now in place for Nuform to supply its products for constructing homes and buildings that can withstand earthquakes and storms, says Emmanuel Paul, Nuform’s manager of business development, who adds that helping its customers deal with challenges is “part and parcel with the business.”
While its portfolio or innovative and cost-effective building products are the root of Nuform’s export success, Paul says experts, such as Export Development Canada (EDC) commercial markets account manager Richard Ross, have helped provide valuable guidance and other support that have helped the company succeed abroad.
“Without some of the structures we have in place with EDC, including backstopping LCs (Letter of Credit) and exporter’s insurance, we wouldn’t be able to export to countries like the Philippines or Nigeria, which is our second-largest market,” says Paul.
Ross says Nuform’s representatives stay in contact with EDC locations around the world and “often ask us for marketing intelligence, such as white papers and government actions, to identify potential market opportunities.”
While Nuform has established a niche in countries that are prone to natural disasters, it is also building its reputation domestically, says Paul. “The typical Canadian thing to do is the opposite of saying ‘look at us.’ We knew we were good, but we were happy staying below the radar,” he says, adding that a new management and branding plan has helped turn the company into a leader for sustainable construction materials.
Critical changes that Paul made when he took over as manager of business development have led to a dramatic increase in production over the last two years. Among his efforts, Paul has hired new and experienced staff, improved Nuform’s online image and deepened the firm’s participation in networking and other trade events.
Noting that he welcomes invitations to represent Nuform – and Canadian technology – at trade events in Canada and on missions abroad, Paul says activities like these are ideal ways to develop relationships and connections that can prove crucial to identifying new opportunities.
Emmanuel Paul, manager of business development at Nuform Building Technologies, offers 3 key tips for companies wanting to explore export ventures outside Canada:
- Find your niche. Nuform identified an opportunity to enter markets in countries prone to extreme weather events and other natural disasters. By supplying competitive, affordable and sustainable building materials, Nuform has become a supplier of choice in these markets.
- Extend your reach. Nuform has built strong relationships with international partners during inbound and outbound trade missions, which often resulted in new international deals.
- Tap available resources and expertise. Beyond using EDC receivables insurance and other financial products, Nuform stays in touch with EDC representatives who provide help with local market intelligence and connections to potential partners.