Diaspora Canadians are Key to Success for Companies Looking to Expand Internationally - New Canadian Media

Diaspora Canadians are Key to Success for Companies Looking to Expand Internationally

by Samantha Lui (@samanthalui_) in Toronto Studying business techniques used by some Canadian immigrants can be useful for entrepreneurs looking to expand their companies into…

by Samantha Lui (@samanthalui_) in Toronto

Studying business techniques used by some Canadian immigrants can be useful for entrepreneurs looking to expand their companies into the international market.

That was the theme of Tuesday’s The Power of Diaspora Networks Conference held at the Ted Rogers School of Management in Toronto, where entrepreneurs and business advisors opened up about their experiences and offered advice for those wanting to learn how to export their goods and services globally. 

According to entrepreneur Yan Martindale, networking and making connections in the early stages of her business played a major role in her success. 

Martindale, who emigrated from China to Canada 15 years ago, worked in information technology in New York and as an insurance broker before launching Panacea Aftermarket Company, an international industrial parts supplier that specializes in the forklifting industry, with her husband in 2009.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“It’s about who you know. Networks are the most important things for any business.”[/quote]

Martindale faced many challenges while getting the company off the ground. For example, a large competitor who had tried to stop Martindale’s business warned vendors in Asia that it would stop doing business with them if they dealt with Panacea.

Challenges like this ultimately led Martindale to cold call a director of a forklifting parts company in China and introduce him to her business. She told him that she could make his site look better by explaining that Panacea could help Chinese vendors and manufacturers break into the forklifting industry in North America. He ended up giving her free advertising on his website for seven days. 

Martindale continued to contact vendors in China. She has since been able to establish cooperative partnerships with forklift parts manufacturers in mainland China and Taiwan. 

“It’s not about what you know,” Martindale says. “It’s about who you know. Networks are the most important things for any business.”

Victor J. Garcia, another conference speaker and a member of the Board of Directors for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, agrees. 

Having moved to Canada from Argentina 35 years ago, Garcia has helped non-profit organizations and educational and research institutions with programs focused on job creation, innovation, education and community integration. He is also the Vice President of the Canadian Hispanic Congress and an adjunct professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“It is a pro to understand how people think, how people do business, how conversations happen, how relationships happen.”[/quote]  

He says that entrepreneurs should find someone to help them achieve their goals if they can’t do it themselves, noting that researching provincial and federal government resources can often provide companies with a lot of information on how they can export their goods and services internationally. 

“Always connect with someone that knows more than you did,” he shares.

“It is a pro to understand how people think, how people do business, how conversations happen, how relationships happen.” 

But according to DATAWIND CEO, Suneet Singh Tuli, perseverance and understanding the culture of international markets are also ingredients for achieving success. 

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”Coming from Canada, and coming from a Canadian environment, we saw opportunities and problems easier.”[/quote]

Since founding his computer hardware company with his brother Raja in 2001, Tuli says the pair has had to learn how to persevere in a new environment. When he and his brother decided to place their focus on helping improve the educational system in India – as DATAWIND’s inexpensive devices allow access to the Internet at lower data costs and faster speeds across congested mobile wireless networks – they soon learned that they did not understand how the country’s market worked.

“The misconception that because we spoke the local language [and the fact that] we looked liked locals didn’t mean we knew how to do business in India,” he shares. 

Having moved from Iran to Fort McMurray, Alberta, Tuli credits his Canadian upbringing with eventually helping him and his brother understand how they could bring their products into India’s marketplace.

Since then, they’ve become the largest supplier of tablets in India and have been able to expand their business to countries like Nicaragua, Mexico and Uruguay. As well, one of DATAWIND’s products, the Aakash tablet, has since been dubbed the cheapest at $35 (U.S.) a unit by India’s Economic Times.

“The advantage of being from Canada is that we saw the opportunities easier than the locals did because I think there was a level of acceptance to the problems of [their] environment,” he explains. “Coming from Canada, and coming from a Canadian environment, we saw opportunities and problems easier.”

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