Monday, December 19, 2016

Now is the time to export to the USA

This post brought to you by HSBC Bank Canada. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Canadian Entrepreneur.

As economic growth lags in Canada, businesses are increasingly being urged to export their goods and services. Simply put, Canadians have special access to major markets such as the U.S. and Europe. Companies that don't take advantage of these special trade relationships are leaving money on the table – and possibly even risking their futures by clinging to a slow-growth economy.

But trading across borders isn’t easy. You need new capabilities and contacts to make the most out of these opportunities. The good news is that once you master these tools and relationships, you’ll be miles ahead of your stay-at-home competition – and ready to take on the world.

At a seminar in Toronto in November, HSBC assembled its top trade experts to meet with entrepreneurs and business executives to explore the opportunities and challenges of selling to the U.S.

Why head stateside? HSBC’s chief U.S. economist, Kevin Logan, foresees strong growth for the U.S. economy, stemming from low unemployment, a robust energy sector (which, unlike Canada’s, can make good returns on prices of US$60 per barrel), and the prospects of higher infrastructure spending promised.

To take advantage of U.S. growth, exporters will have to be innovative, responsive, and aggressive, according to HSBC’s chief Canadian economist, David Watt. He noted that being just two days’ drive from most markets means Canadians can serve U.S. clients faster and more efficiently than competitors in Europe or Asia. “Speed to market” can be a Canadian brand.

To help you hone that advantage, here are a few export tips from HSBC’s trade experts:

  • Make sure you develop the right business relationships. Successful exporter need talented advisors to help them understand local market conditions and master the required banking, legal, and tax issues.

  • The U.S. is a huge market, with significant regional and local variation, so you also need to have the right distributors and sales agents on the ground. Cate Luzio, HSBC’s New York-based executive vice-president, said many foreign companies come to the U.S. expecting they can tackle the whole country at once.

  • Start with your own relationships and work out from there. Ask your banker, lawyers and accountant about best practices and required resources in the markets you're eyeing. And leverage your contacts in other industries, too – they may have ideas that will give you an advantage in your niche.

  • Financing your U.S. activities can get very complicated, so leverage your domestic resources as much as possible. As one HSBC banker noted, you can borrow against your Canadian assets to fund expansion in the U.S. That should get you a bigger loan and better rate than going to a U.S. bank, which will likely treat you as a stranger with no track record.

  • Be patient. As one business owner in the audience advised: “Establishing a U.S. presence is going to take longer than you think.”

  • All the same, be ready in case you're an overnight success. “Often customers trip up because they take on too much business early on,” one banker warned. “It’s a big market. So watch what you wish for.”

  • Planning to do business in the US? Watch this free Webinar replay here for additional tips and insights.

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    Tuesday, December 06, 2016

    Meet the 2016 National Startup Canada Awards Winners

    “Congratulations to the 2016 Startup Canada Awards winners, each of whom have been recognized by their peers as strong role models for Canadians of all ages and entrepreneurs across all sectors for championing a culture of entrepreneurship. Each recipient is driving impact in Canada and globally, and represent the greatness and diversity of Canada’s entrepreneur community.”

    - Brenda Halloran, Chair of the Startup Canada Board of Directors
    Click here to read the full press release. 
    Watch the 2016 Startup Canada Awards Video
    Outstanding Impact and Enduring Legacy in Canadian Entrepreneurship

    Randy Yatscoff is an entrepreneur, community builder and mentor who has been instrumental in building Edmonton into a thriving entrepreneurial city. 
    Randy is committed to mentoring and supporting the growth of early-stage companies, and has mentored 500 companies since 2009. Over the years, he has helped technology-based companies raise more than $250 million. In 2010, Randy formally joined TEC Edmonton, where he is now the Executive Vice-President of Business Development.

    "This award is a recognition of the support of my family and all the colleagues who I have associated with over the years. Without their support this award could never have happened." - Randy Yatscoff, winner of the 2016 Adam Chowaniec Lifetime Achievement Award
    Watch the Video
     Advancing The Environment and Culture for Entrepreneurship in Canada
    "I believe it's up to me, and to seasoned entrepreneurs like me, to give back. This award shows me I'm not alone in this belief, that our national startup community recognizes championing others to success as a valuable form of leadership." - Meredith J. Powell, winner of the 2016 Startup Canada Entrepreneur Promotion Award.
    ENTREPRENEUR PROMOTION AWARD |  Meredith J. Powell, Vancouver, BC

    Meredith Powell is the co-founder of Vancouver-based non-profit The Next Big Thing, which empowers youth with the tools they need to succeed as entrepreneurs. 
    Launched in 2013, the incubator has had more than 50 entrepreneurs go through the program - raising nearly five million dollars in seed financing and creating more than 80 new jobs. Powell is also the founder and CEO of Powell and Co., a company that specializes in bespoke startup strategy and rapidly scaling early stage organizations.
    Watch the Video
    ENTREPRENEUR SUPPORT AWARD |  North Forge Technology Exchange, Winnipeg, MB

    North Forge Technology Exchange is a collaborative innovation network in the heart of Winnipeg. North Forge is home to Canada’s largest non-profit fabrication lab and provides entrepreneurs with world class mentors, subject matter experts and a multi-stage startup program. 
    Watch the Video
    POLICY PRIZE Brad Woodside, Fredericton, NB

    Brad Woodside is the former Mayor of Fredericton, and the city's longest-serving mayor. A long-time advocate for innovation who led the city through two major development strategies - Vision 2000 and Vision 2020, Brad Woodside Championed Fredericton as a Smart-City with a bold vision of becoming the Startup Capital of Canada.
    Watch the Video
    STARTUP COMMUNITY OF THE YEAR | Startup Fredericton, Fredericton, NB

    Startup Fredericton is an essential leader in creating a collaborative culture locally and across the Atlantic Region. Startup Fredericton, in partnership with Ignite Fredericton, and more than 20 entrepreneur support organizations created Taskforce Fredericton Startup Network with a mandate to steer the entrepreneurial direction alongside grassroots entrepreneurs and business leaders.
    Watch the Video
    Entrepreneur-led Businesses Demonstrating Excellence
    "We see the Startup Canada Global Entrepreneurship Award as a testimony to our extensive work in bringing our nurse-inspired Canadian innovation to internationalhealthcare markets, and we hope that this award will inspire other Canadian entrepreneurs to look beyond our borders for expansion." - Tony Abboud, VP of Business Development at Surface Medical Inc and winner of the 2016 Startup Canada Global Entrepreneurship Award. 
    GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AWARD | Surface Medical Inc, Calgary, AB

     Founded in 2010, Surface Medical is dedicated to creating innovative products like CleanPatch to reduce the transfer of infection and facilitate the safe administration of healthcare for the benefit of practitioners and patients. 
    Watch the Video

    iBIONICS is the creator of the Diamond Eye - a state of the art technology that uses a microchip solution to restore vision. As a 1-year old startup, iBIONICS punches above their weight in their R&D, robust commercialisation and global drive. Their bionic eye solution will potentially impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of people afflicted with degenerative retina diseases.
    Watch the Video
    SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AWARD | Aki EnergyWinnipeg, MB

    Founded in 2013 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this Indigenous-owned social enterprise partners with First Nations communities to ensure renewable energy systems are cost effective, and provide positive return for the community. Aki Energy is responsible for installing over $6 million in renewable energy systems in First Nations communities in Manitoba, leading to over a quarter of a million dollars in annual bill reductions to date.
    Watch the Video

    Founded in 2007 in Kamloops, British Columbia, iTel Networks offers one of the fastest and most reliable business internet and telecommunications networks in Canada. iTel Networks has quickly become one of Canada’s fastest growing telecom companies - a fierce competitor with revenues and employees growing over 20% annually.
    Watch the Video
    Exemplifying the Spirit of Canadian Entrepreneurship 

    "The award is an affirmation to me that even a person with obstacles ranging from a verbal impediment to being a young ambitious person can be recognized for their pursuit to change their communities and country." - Swarochish 'Swish' Goswami, winner of the 2016 Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
    ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD | Dax Dasilva, Montreal, QC

    Dax Dasilva is the founder of Lightspeed - a cloud-based point of sale and inventory management software system that is transforming the restaurant and retail industries. Dax is also the founder of Never Apart, a Montreal-based non-profit organization bringing social change and spiritual awareness through cultural programming with global reach and impact. Through Never Apart, Dax has launched various special projects including Colour by Icons - a colouring book and gallery exhibit showcasing historical figures in the LGBT community.
    Watch the Video
    WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR AWARD | Nadia Hamilton, Waterloo, ON

    Nadia Hamilton is the founder of Magnusmode, a Waterloo-based technology company that provides tools and applications to enhance the quality of life of those with developmental disabilities. Nadia is both an entrepreneur and a life-long advocate for families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder. 
    Watch the Video

    Eli Fathi has built, scaled and exited many great companies in the National Capital Region. Currently, Eli is the CEO of MindBridge Ai. The company's mission is to augment human intelligence with a powerful Ai to help professionals detect and prevent employees from committing fraud.
    Watch the Video
    YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR Swarochish ‘Swish’ Goswami, Calgary, AB

    Born in Singapore and raised in the Canadian Prairies, Swish is a 19 year-old University of Toronto student who started his first business at just 7 years old. A serial entrepreneur and innovator, Swish built seven high-impact ventures including World Youth FundThe Next Foundry, and Rafiki Media.