Trade Missions and Events
Women entrepreneurs are continuously striving to achieve more, and new opportunities are always presenting themselves.
- Trade Missions
- Preparing for a Trade Mission
- Women's Networking and Business Development Events
- Business Women Awards
BWIT Trade Missions
Trade missions are about opening doors, providing on-the-ground support, business-to business meetings, establishing contacts, gathering information and providing tools for all Canadian exporters, specifically small and medium-sized enterprises.
Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) Trade Missions
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.
Upcoming Trade Mission
- September 22-24, 2016 - Canadian Business Women’s Trade Mission: Go For the Greens Business Development Conference for Women
Previous Trade Missions
- June 15-17, 2016, Atlanta, Georgia - Canadian Business Women’s Trade Mission North American Business Summit, and
- June 20-23, 2016, Orlando, Florida - Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference and business Fair Orlando, Florida
- June 20-22, 2017 - (*Save the Date*) - Las Vegas, NV - WBENC 2017 National Conference & Business Fair
Canadian Trade Missions
- Thursday, June 2, 2016 – Ready, Get Set, Go! Prepare for BWIT’s Trade Mission to Atlanta and Orlando in June.
- Tuesday, May 3, 2016 – Maximize your Export Potential: Business Women's Trade Mission to Atlanta and Orlando, June 2016
- Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - Business Women – Get to know how the CanExport Program can work for you!
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.
- August 4-7, 2016 - Dallas, Texas eWomen Network International Conference
- September 29, 2016 - Toronto, Ontario WBE Canada Conference
- October 19-21, 2016 - Montreal, Quebec International Aviation Womens 28th Annual Conference
- November 6-7, 2016 - Toronto, Ontario WEConnect International in Canada Conference
- November 19, 2016 - New York, USA Women's Entrepreneurship Day
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.
- Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Celebration of Achievement Awards
- Cartier Women's Initiative Awards
- Catalyst Canada Honours
- Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards
- Organization of Women in International Trade – Toronto
- Profit/Chatelaine W100 – Celebrating Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs
- Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- Stevie Awards for Women in Business
- Women of Influence – RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards
- Prix Femmes d’Affaires du Québec (available in French only)
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.
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