Category: Internationalisation

More Meetings

Started another hectic day with a morning meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Met with Monika Surma (Trade Commissioner at the Department).

Monika provides advice to Canadian new media and software companies who are looking to trade internationally.

Had a fruitful conversation regarding needs of the Canadian companies when looking to export. Discussed the UK and European markets and specifically the Bridge to Growth initiative by Advantage West Midlands.

Monika was impressed with the program and promised to spread the word among her clients and colleagues

Making Waves On All Fronts

Met with Jim Maynard (President, Wavefront) and his executive team for lunch today (thanks for the sushi guys). I initially met Jim in summer 2008 when he and Michael Bidu (Executive Director, WINBC) visited us at the National B2B Centre.

Its impressive that Wavefront has grown by leaps and bounds in the last six months or so. Jim described an array of impressive partnerships he has forged globally, from Europe to Asia. These include acquisition of equipment and testing servers to help mobile start-ups thoroughly stress test their application prior to market launch.

Wavefront also has strong connections with carriers in North America and is looking to develop similar relationships with carriers in Europe and Asia.

And according to Jim and his team, this is just the beginning. They have plans to continue expansion of the organisation and looking to become a first point of contact for any mobile start-up company.

Between Wavefront and WINBC, British Columbia has established a solid foundation to help mobile start-up go from concept to market in relatively short time.

Small Business British Columbia

Met with George Hunter, CEO of Small Business British Columbia (SBBC) this morning. SBBC is a support organisation for small businesses in British Columbia. They provide assistance to individuals who are looking to start a business as well as to establish businesses to help them grow the company.

George has recently joined SBBC to head the organisation. He shared with me his vision for the organisation and where he wants to take it. He has set himself some impressive but achievable goals for the near future.

We discussed possibility of the National B2B Centre in the UK and SBBC working together to share knowledge and help companies in our respective regions.

Looking forward to working with George and SBBC in the future.

Pacific Northwest Wireless Summit International Forum

I had a pleasure of being on the panel of International Forum with Tony Fish (Co-Founder, AMF Ventures, UK), Jeanette Kopak (Director Project Operations, Centre for Digital Media, Canada), and Jim Baker (Chief Marketing Officer, Icomera, Sweden). The discussion was moderated by Peter Lesyk (Director Business Development, TELUS).

Jeanette demonstrated Movisphere, application that the students at the Centre for Digital Media created for Telefonica, Spain. Movisphere is a multi-platform, massively multiplayer online game where a player can seamlessly switch between desktop computers and mobile phones.

I did a presentation on the West Midlands’ Bridge to Growth program. The presentation was well received with several members wondering if other countries have similar programs. Jim Baker who is currently looking at locations in both the US and Canada for setting up his North American operations commented he wished a similar initiative was in place somewhere in North America.

Jim and Tony, both veterans of international business, commented the need to thoroughly understand legal and cultural differences when doing business across international borders. They mentioned that products and service that needs to be approved by government agencies could be a major stumbling block in international trade. Telecommunication equipment that uses different spectrum for example is one such hindrance.

Recommendation: Seek professional advice when venturing into international trade, but don’t let that be a barrier to lucrative markets for your products.

Bridge to Growth

If you are looking to expand your business to the UK, look at the West Midlands region, perhaps the perfect place to setup your British venture. With easy access to the London Metropolitan area, West Midlands’ cost of doing business is 30% lower than London’s.

And the Bridge to Growth initiative makes this deal even sweeter. A unique public-private sector partnership, you can quickly register your UK limited company free of charge.

But the offer doesn’t stop there. Free UK limited company is only the first step. To ensure your British company is on the right track, you will also get free advice on general tax and finance issues as well as general legal matters. These could include initial consultation, setup of an accounting system, taxation, etc.

While the above services will help you navigate the legal requirements of setting up a UK business, getting the business going quickly in a new market would mean finding a suitable office space.

Bridge to Growth got your covered there as well. The program provides either free office space for several months or a substantial discount, depending on the location you select. You have a choice of several locations throughout the West Midlands in one of the several participating science parks.

To top it all off, you also get access to discounted lead generation service, potentially allowing you to start selling right away.

So let’s see. Free UK Limited company, free consultation from accountants and lawyers for general finance, taxation and legal issues. Free or discounted accommodations for a few months and access to lead generation.

But wait, there is more. Advantage West Midlands, the regional development body and the organisers of the Bridge to Growth program, can also introduce you to an extensive network of regional partners. These partners can provide further help at no or very low cost. Partners like the National B2B Centre, Manufacturing Advisory Service, MediLink, and IT Futures to name a few.

So if you are looking to expand into the UK, setting up in West Midlands makes sense. You can setup your UK company quickly and at a very low cost, but with easy access to the British and indeed the European markets.

(I just realised, I sound like a commercial in this post. Wonder if there are any opportunities for me to work in one of those late night commercials).

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