Kenn Oliver (kenn.oliver@thetelegram.com) 

The world is getting a little smaller every day, but with that comes big opportunities for international business development, whether it’s exporting or importing products or services.

That’s especially true for companies operating in this province.

In an effort to capitalize on those opportunities to the benefit of their respective memberships, a number of industry groups in this province have come together to form TradeNL.

“As we’ve started meeting to talk a little bit more about what we are doing, we started to see the value in sharing with each other the activities we’re pursuing so that we can understand where there’s potential for us to leverage the activities of one another,” explains Kieran Hanley, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA).

“It’s really about sharing resources, intelligence in various markets around the world, ideas and experiences on different strategies and different activities.”

Joining NEIA in TradeNL is the Atlantic Canada Aerospace and Defence Association (ACADA), Mining Industry NL, the provincial chapter of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME-NL), the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI), the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industry Association, OceansAdvance and the Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE).

Collaboration among many of the groups isn’t new; in fact it’s quite common. But having it all under one banner helps to eliminate redundancy and makes for more efficient use of each group’s resources.

“There are some markets on the trade piece that some of the other groups are more familiar with than we are,” explains NLOWE CEO Paula Sheppard, “and if we have a member organization that wants to go to that market, why would we go brand new into it when one of the other groups have already gone there and they have the on-the-ground expertise?

“Same with us, I know there’s been markets we’ve been into or some training we’ve been doing that we’ve already experienced that we can now share with them.”

It’s especially beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises.
“The businesses we represent are very small. They don’t have the time to go out seeking services from everyone,” explains Sheppard, “so they can come to NLOWE and we can say we’re part of this trade network.”

Hanley says TradeNL also serves to create a greater awareness of the supports and resources that are available from groups like the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC), among many others.

“Sometimes you lose the greater message that there is a significant amount of support out there,” he says. “Under this one banner we can probably work better with the EDCs of the world to communicate the benefits of their programming to Newfoundland and Labrador businesses overall.”

At tradenl.ca, members of all groups will be able to find out the various events, missions and programs being offered by each industry association.