We’re on a Mission!


Are you interested in growing your business via export? If so, here are details on two trade missions to the U.S. taking place in June.

We are working with partners from across Canada to find women business owners who are poised to capitalize on the opportunities that will be presented on these missions. If you are interested in either or both of them, give me a call (204-988-1872). I am available to help you assess the options so you can make informed decisions, outline a plan and then navigate the process to capitalize on these opportunities.

While it is unlikely you will sign a contract with a large corporation after taking part in just one trade mission, you will make connections with influencers who can help you understand international trade. In most cases, companies that are successfully navigating the export waters have had help from many individuals and organizations. Taking part in trade missions will help you build those connections.

Growing your business via export is like taking a course; studying is required and there will be homework assignments. Meeting influencers such as trade commissioners is like studying; attending these trade missions is the homework assignment.

1. Atlanta Trade Mission: Women in Business – North America Business Summit

  • When? June 15-17, 2016
  • Where? Atlanta, Georgia
  • Length? 3-days
  • Who should attend? Any woman business owner who is operating in industries such as Construction, Aerospace, Information & Communications Technology, Automotive, Cleantech/Sustainable Technology, Products/parts/services and is interested growing her business via export. For more detail on the types of businesses within these broad industry categories that are sought for this trade mission, go the Business Women in International Trade webpage and click on the link entitled Innovation Technology Wish List.
  • Who is organizing it? Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta along with the Government of Canada Trade Commissioner service and staff that lead the Business Women In International Trade (BWIT) program.
  • What is special about this event? It will be an intimate, focused event and there will be matchmaker opportunities available. The BWIT staff are leading the effort to set up match-making opportunities between corporations and the women business owners to explore business opportunities on a one-on-one basis.
  • Cost? There is no registration fee for the Atlanta Trade Mission; your costs will be travel, accommodation, meals and personal expenses.
  • Who will I meet? Representatives from corporations located in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Mexico.
  • Where do I go for more information? Contact Nancy Brommell (nbrommell@wecm.ca or 204-988-1872). More information can also be found on the BWIT site.

2. WBENC Conference and Business Fair

  • When? June 21-23
  • Where? Orlando, Florida
  • Length? Between one and four days, depending on the parts you want to attend. The big day is June 22. This is the Business Fair portion where conversations and connections can be made with representatives from more than 300 corporations in attendance. These corporations have supplier diversity programs and are looking for new suppliers.
  • Who should attend? Women business owners from all industries. However, it is ideally suited for women-owned businesses that are product/manufacturing oriented and are selling to retailers. There are excellent opportunities to explore how to get your products onto store shelves in larger corporations. For example, Walmart has a large presence at WBENC because it has set very high corporate targets for incorporating women-owned products into their retail stores. There will also be many other large corporations taking part including agri-food companies such as Kellogg’s and Cargill.
  • Who is organizing it? This event is organized by the Women Business Enterprises National Council. While the conference has been taking place for many years, it is just in the last 5+ years that Canadian women business owners have been invited to participate.
  • What’s special about this event? This is a “supplier diversity” event. It is designed for women who own 51% or more of their corporation and who want to explore opportunities to grow their businesses by becoming a supplier to a larger corporation.  I wrotethis blog after last year’s WBENC Conference and it will give you an idea of what to expect. Note point #4 in my post about a B.C. based business called Horty Girl.
  • Cost? The registration fee for the WBENC Conference and Business Fair is $799 (U.S.) plus airfare, accommodation, some meals and personal expenses.
  • Who will I meet? There will be representatives for many large corporations as well as regional corporations and companies. You will also get a chance to meet other women business owners from across Canada (usually about 100 women business owners representing pretty much every province); the U.S. (expect to see 3,500 women business owners at this event); and other parts of the world who, just like you, are trying to grow their businesses. You will also meet trade commissioners from the Government of Canada, staff from other women’s enterprise centres, representatives from WEConnect International and WBE Canada. These organizations certify “women-owned” businesses and assist their members in understanding how to capitalize on supplier diversity programs.
  • Anything else I need to know? There are a couple of other events that are held just prior to the WBENC Conference and Business Fair, which you may want to attend: the WBE Canada Breakfast with Brands (morning of Tuesday, June 21) and WEConnect International Day (Monday June 20; open to WEConnect certified women business owners only). These events are separate from the conference so you do not need to attend them to attend WBENC.
  • Where do I go for more information? Contact Nancy Brommell (nbrommell@wecm.ca or 204-988-1872). More information can be found on WBENC Conference and Business Fair website.

Exporting to the U.S. – Let’s Get Serious

I also recently participated in the Mission to the Border, a bus tour organized by the World Trade Centre – Winnipeg. This recent blogsummarizes what I learned about exporting to the U.S.

Conclusion (finally eh!)

If you’ve gotten to the end of this blog post and you are more excited than ever about growing your business via export and/or supplier diversity, give me a call (204-988-1872) or email me. I am available to guide you through the process.

There are a few programs that may be able to help you offset the costs associated with attending these trade missions:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Written by Nancy Brommell, Business Advisor at the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba.