Taking your business to global markets

Applications are now open for the Trade Accelerator Program London cohort, an initiative designed to prepare businesses for expansion into international markets

IF YOU’RE RUNNING a business that’s looking to develop and grow its export strategy, the London Economic Development Corp. (LEDC) is encouraging you to apply for this fall’s upcoming Trade Accelerator Program.

The program — TAP, as it’s known — is a program supported by Export Development Canada in partnership with the World Trade Centre Toronto and is designed for small- and medium-sized businesses to help them “learn the ins and outs of exporting, discovering the resources available to companies and find out how to build and sustain a profitable future.”

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The program is being broken off into a number of regional and thematic cohorts, with the London-region cohort starting September 8 and running for seven days over five weeks. The regional program is being spearheaded and delivered by the LEDC and is being delivered virtually this year.

The program will be taking upwards of 12 entrants for its London cohort session, says LEDC director of business development, Larry Mackinnon. While they’re keeping it pretty open-ended, he says their ideal candidate is a business that’s already doing around $500,000 in revenue. “They expect they can grow, and they’ve got some time that they can set aside for this,” says Mackinnon, referring to firms suited for the program.

Candidate firms can either be new to exporting entirely or be trying to figure out how to break into new export markets.

Taking your business to global markets trade accelerator program TradePhoto: LEDC director of business development, Larry Mackinnon

“We’re looking for companies from any sector,” Mackinnon continues. If it is an exporting business that they hadn’t expected, or that is trying something new, even better, he adds.

For participants, the program builds towards developing a complete strategic export plan, which historically has offered a major boost: the program claims that companies that completed the program realized an average of 33 per cent revenue growth, and 71 per cent of past participants have started exporting their products to new markets.

“We will connect your business with top industry experts, provide you with necessary coaching needed to build a personalized export strategy,” says the program description, “and equip you with the tools and resources to find success and grow your business.”

The program concludes with one-on-one mentoring with trade experts to refine and improve business plans.

Even for maturing businesses, getting into the export game can be challenging, Mackinnon points out. There are cultural differences that can come up, as well as the more predictable business issues of regulations, taxation and legality.

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He stresses that the program is a significant commitment for the companies involved, but that the payoff is that they will walk away from it with a plan in hand that hopefully leads to drumming up more export business.

Applications for the program are now open, and Mackinnon says they have a soft target of mid-August to have the London cohort finalized.

More information and the application form is available on the World Trade Centre Toronto website. Taking your business to global markets trade accelerator program Trade Kieran Delamont

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