Faye Roberts

Faye Roberts, Scout Public Affairs

Are you looking to grow your business beyond Canada’s borders?

Are you interested in tapping into global markets and finding new customers?

Are you considering investing in global locations to serve your global customers?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to know about the resources available to provide advice and support to Canadian companies looking to expand internationally. One important source of support is the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which is made available by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

The service boasts trade offices across Canada and 161 offices around the world that provide Canadian businesses with a range of advice and information to help them take advantage of global opportunities.

Waterloo Region is fortunate to be directly served by the Trade Commissioner Service and has its own office and Trade Commissioner. This means that all Kitchener-Waterloo area businesses have access to someone who is based locally and understands both the local and global environments.

Waterloo Region welcomes new Trade Commissioner

Syed Sameer Ahmed has been nominated to take on the role of Trade Commissioner for Waterloo Region, succeeding Robin MacNab, who retired from his role this September. MacNab worked with the Canadian Government for over 44 years and can be credited with helping to attract investment to Ontario and supporting Ontario-based businesses as they moved into new jurisdictions.

Ahmed brings a rich experience to his new role, most recently serving as the Counsellor and Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi since 2011. Ahmed has broad international experience, having served in the Southeast Asia and Oceania Relations Division, as well as Algeria, Libya and Morocco and New Delhi, India. His global experience is bolstered by his work in Saudi Arabia, Japan and the United Kingdom. Mr. Ahmed graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Science (Hons.).

Trade missions an opportunity to grow

Trade missions organized through the Canadian Trade Commission can be a pivotal tool in helping businesses get established in new jurisdictions; in fact, this is a focus for the trade offices. As current Minister of International Trade Ed Fast describes it, “Trade missions are an important part of our trade promotion efforts. They’re all about opening doors and providing on-the-ground support for Canadian companies as they meet and network with potential buyers and partners.”

Kitchener-based MappedIn, which makes indoor wayfinding technology, learned the power of trade missions earlier this year. A Financial Post article published in April quoted co-founder and CEO Hongwei Liu:

“I give a lot of credit to the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service. It has been amazing for us. Landing in Southeast Asia in five countries in 12 days, we received so much assistance from the service, setting up meetings, being able to speak the local language, taking us into boardrooms, providing background information on the companies we met. I don’t think our trip would have been nearly as successful without its help.”

The resources available to businesses to get on the right track with international markets and development are out there. Make a note to reach out to the Waterloo Region Trade Commissioner before you make big decisions about global expansion.

Photo: Parade of flags by Rona Proudfoot is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.