Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) – Missions and Events

Upcoming Trade Missions and Webinars

Women-focused trade missions are designed to help women entrepreneurs achieve success in international markets. Women benefit from the advice and assistance of the Trade Commissioner Service before, during and after the trade mission. If you are ready to export, BWIT can help you prepare for the trade mission and get the most out of it.

Go for the Greens Business Development Conference for Women

The Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) program of Global Affairs Canada, in partnership with the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) and the Consulate General of Canada in Miami, is leading a trade mission to the tenth annual Go for the Greens (GFTG) Business Development Conference for Women Entrepreneurs. The trade mission will take place from February 14-17, 2018, at the BoardWalk Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Save the date - June 17-21 2018  - BWIT Trade Mission to Detroit, Michigan

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference and Business Fair in Detroit, Michigan (June 17-21, 2018): The world’s largest conference targeted to women who want to access supplier diversity opportunities through U.S. Fortune 500 companies will be held this year at the Cobo Center. This dynamic conference will feature three days of acclaimed speakers, executive workshops, matchmaking, and networking opportunities, including the WBENC Business Fair – with more than 300 exhibitors and procurement specialists.  Participation in the BWIT Trade Mission provides access to programming designed specifically for Canadian women-owned businesses.

Preparing for a Trade Mission

Experienced exporters will tell you that much of the success of a trade mission is decided in advance by the amount of preparation you do. Here’s a summary of the key preparations your company needs to undertake to succeed:

Match your firm’s capabilities with opportunities in the host country

Before you get on a plane, you need to ensure that your company’s strengths are a good match with market opportunities in the destination country. That means you should:

  • ensure the most senior people available (i.e. those with the authority to make decisions) are going to represent your firm;
  • analyze your company’s readiness to export;
  • do some research to ensure that the host country represents a good opportunity for you.

Do your homework

How well you prepare ahead of time is critical for making the most efficient use of your time while on the mission. Ensure that every company representative participating in the mission has reviewed all available briefing, training materials and market research well in advance. You should have a sound grasp of who the potential customers are, who your competition is and how you can best compete.

Matchmaking: Ask mission organizers to arrange the right meetings in advance

You want to be sure meetings in the host country will provide you with relevant information for your company - with “qualified” business candidates. You can help make this happen by:

  • submitting a profile that details your company’s strengths and capabilities and your expectations for the mission;
  • describing, in detail, who would likely be your best potential customers and contacts;
  • submitting your requests for meetings early, so the mission organizers have time to identify the best possible candidates;
  • using the Internet or any on-line communication facility set up by the organizers to connect with your host-country colleagues and target customers in advance.

Set appropriate expectations and goals

You need to be realistic about how long it will take to develop the market, what can and cannot be accomplished in an initial meeting, and what the trade mission experience will and will not deliver. Review your goals and expectations with the mission organizers to ensure that your goals are reasonable, attainable and affordable.

Ensure your company’s marketing/promotional materials are appropriate for the host country

Consider whether you need to:

  • adjust the “benefits” messages and style of language. Some benefits may be more or less important to potential customers in the host country, depending on local market conditions and competitive products available. Also, business communication styles in some countries may be more or less formal than they are in Canada;
  • have at least some of your marketing collateral translated;
  • assess whether your promotional material is indeed “world class” - professional, clear, and reflecting an understanding of the local market;
  • ensure that all of your business materials include details vital to international communications, e.g. your business card must include country and area codes for telephone and fax numbers, your e-mail and Web site addresses, and complete addresses for all of your company's offices and representatives.

Plan in advance for post-mission follow-up

Follow-up should be frequent, consistent and should focus on building the business relationship. For example, upon returning home, sending a quick letter to the people you met with during the mission, to provide additional information or just to thank them for meeting with you, will go a long way toward building solid, lasting trade relationships.

Women’s Networking and Business Development Events

Each year many events are held specifically for women entrepreneurs. These events provide valuable networking opportunities to meet other business women and learn about the unique opportunities available for women-owned businesses. 

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service can introduce you to the right people and help you connect with potential partners or clients of your industry at trade events, from trade shows to government-led and women-led trade missions. Find major trade events in Canada, around the world and view webinars.

Business Women Awards

The achievements of successful women entrepreneurs are worth celebrating. The following is a list of upcoming award ceremonies, and may also include upcoming opportunities for award nominations.

Past Webinars and Trade Missions

Past Webinars

Past Trade Missions