June 25, 2012 10:15 AM
While a start-up expanding into cross-border or international sales or operations isn’t exactly behind enemy lines, it can be hard to know where to start. Fortunately, this is an area where they can get by with help from friends, and friends of friends.
EidoSearch has a natural U.S.-Canada link in its co-founders’ geographies; president David Kedmey spends a lot of time in New York City, while CEO Xiao-Ping Zhang teaches out of Ryerson University in Toronto. Even still, Kedmey said the Canadian Consulate and Trade Commissioner was a great help, and said it should be the first call a start-up makes when expanding into a new region, especially in absence of local connections.
“I can’t think of a better place to start,” he said. Specifically, Kedmey pointed to the support and aid of Miriam Leia Bekkouche, innovation officer at the Canadian Consulate General in New York.
“Her focus is to help foster the international Canadian-New York connection,” he said. “They really are about helping start-ups. They have an incubator (the Canadian Technology Accelerator) now in New York City to help Canadian start-ups, and they help make connections right away.”
The Consulate helped introduce EidoSearch to its network of VCs, angels, other entrepreneurs and even potential customers. A meeting between Bekkouche, himself and a rep from Ontario’s Communitech ultimately led to a meeting with the Golden Triangle Angel Network. The connections can be indirect, he said, but are important.
What has really impressed Kedmey about the Consulate’s involvement is the commitment to Canadian entrepreneurs from all levels.
Once ready to sell into a foreign market, Canadian businesses can look for help from Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada’s export credit agency. Beyond its finance and risk management services, the organization has detailed insights and networks of connections around the globe.
For smaller companies selling into a foreign market, EDC can help provide credibility as well as building connections with potential buyers, said Elliott Gillespie, sector advisor on information and communication technologies for EDC.
Backbone will continue to follow EidoSearch’s sales efforts and successes in print and online over the next year, as we follow the winners of our Alpha Exchange Innovation Campaign.
Lawrence Cummer is a freelance writer with over 15 years of experience writing for periodicals, business and communications agencies. He is former senior writer and editor of the technology trade publications Network World Canada and Communications & Networking Journal, respectively. As well, he has been a senior contributor to a variety of publications.
A frequent writer for Backbone Magazine, Lawrence currently covers a range of topics, including general business, information technology, telecommunications, physical security, occupational safety, and home construction and general contracting. Lawrence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karyn Barnes email -
Thanks for your insights. I enjoy reading your posts. It may be of interest to start-ups that when they are ready to expand into the UK, they can seek assistance from UKTI in Canada. http://ukincanada.fco.gov.uk/en/business/