On the map, Chile looks like a long, narrow strip of land, squeezed between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the snowcapped peaks of the Andes to the east.
Its geography is among the most unique in the world.
The country’s southern region is known for its snow-capped volcanoes, large lakes and evergreen forests.
It is in these forests that you’ll find cutting-edge forestry sector technology created by Quebec’s Teleforest.
Ça Commence Chez Nous
It all began in the green, boreal forests of Quebec, where the Gauthier family have been working in the timber industry for decades. “We’ve been in the bush for generations.” says Daniel Gauthier, CEO of Teleforest Inc., a company that develops and sells products to transport lumber in hard-to-reach areas. “And the industry didn’t change for one hundred years. That was, until the Sky-Log came along”
Using practical knowledge gained in his 30 years experience in forestry, Mr. Gauthier revolutionized the industry by creating Sky-Log, a cabling system that allows timber to be harvested on steep slopes.
Teleforest’s Sky-Log cableway recently made waves at one of the largest international forest industry trade shows in the world, ExpoCorma 2015, in Concepcion, Chile.
The Journey to Export Success
Business does not always go according to plan.
“There was that time we shipped out a system and never got paid for it,” recalls Mr. Gauthier. “The buyer thought they had paid, but our email transmissions were hacked and the money was re-routed into a different account. We got most of the money back eventually…but that was very stressful”.
In February of 2015, EDC connected with Teleforest at a trade show and was able to learn about Sky-Log and how it could benefit the forestry industry. “Teleforest had an innovative product in a sector that hasn’t innovated much” said Philippe Duford, Senior Associate, EDC, “the product had potential in markets where steep slopes logging common.”
That summer, EDC organized an in-Canada trade mission with Arauco, one of its international strategic accounts. Over the course of a week, Canadian companies were introduced to senior procurement officials at Arauco. The mission included a meeting with Teleforest.
That meeting met with mixed results. “The language barrier was difficult,” says Mr. Gauthier “It was frustrating because I knew my technology could succeed there. I just needed to be able to communicate that.”
Still, energized from the introductions, Mr. Gauthier accelerated the process of refining Teleforest’s online presence and marketing materials. When Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) contacted him and asked if he was interested in participating in ExpoCorma 2015, the largest forestry trade show in Chile, he agreed.
The journey to ExpoCorma truly was a cooperative effort: EDC, GAC and BDC account managers all worked with Teleforest to address their needs.
Pairing with the other Canadian forestry companies in the ExporCorma contingent was beneficial as well. “It was a great group,” says Mr. Gauthier “very friendly and willing to help each other out, exchange ideas and concepts. We weren’t a group of competitors in Chile, we were Team Canada.”
ExpoCorma was a success for Teleforest. They had multiple requests for proposals and follow-up meetings and returned home to find their first purchase order.
“I can see us opening an office in Chile,” he says “it will ease communication and as winter is our slow time in Quebec, it’s the busy season in Chile. It works out perfectly.”
And the relationship continues between Teleforest and EDC. “EDC’s involvement was a necessity.” Explains Gauthier “The preparation and planning, market knowledge, the introductions and connections in Chile would have been virtually impossible to make without the help of EDC. The future looks bright with their partnership and support.”
Canada Hearts Chile
A priority emerging market under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan, Canada has had a strong and growing trade and investment relationship with Chile since the inception of The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) in 1997.
Since then, two-way trade has more than tripled and at the end of 2014, Canada’s direct investment in Chile stood at more than $18.3 billion. This makes Chile Canada’s top direct investment destination in South and Central America.
You, EDC and Chile
EDC provides support to Canadian companies planning on or currently doing business in Chile. Regional representatives have developed strategic relationships with major buyers in key sectors as well as an extensive network of local contacts in the market.
EDC is well positioned to help Canadian companies through a range of financing and risk management services. Learn more about EDC’s service here.