Over the past two weeks, AWE had the exciting opportunity to accompany a few of our most driven entrepreneurs on a dual-city trade mission, led by the Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) Program at Global Affairs Canada. The mission included stops to Atlanta, Georgia for the Women in Business: North America Summit, followed by a stop in Orlando, Florida for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference and Business Fair.
As a first time event, the Women in Business Summit in Atlanta drew in an impressive 560 participants from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. The knowledge taken away will foster growth of businesses, contributing to a diverse North American economy.
First-time trade mission attendee, Michelle Cotton, President of Solstice Canada, shared the following with us about her experience at the Women in Business: North America Summit:
“I found the trade mission to Atlanta to be really useful. It was a good place to start to build relationships and to take our first steps towards doing international work. We were also able to develop relationships with provincial and federal government support personnel to help us manage the rest of the steps.”
In the second half of this dual-city trade mission delegates joined us from across the globe, travelling from South America, Europe, and Asia to participate in WBENC, an absolute global go-to event. Conference halls were buzzing with women business owners and corporations excited to meet each other. Our team felt truly in awe of the incredible businesses these women are growing. Each and every delegate exuded motivation, drive, and purpose, creating an energizing atmosphere.
Meghan Dear, CEO and Founder of Localize, participated in the 2015 WBENC trade mission and after an amazing experience knew that she had to return to build on the successes of the previous year. A strong advocate for trade missions as a vital piece to achieving the international growth she is pursuing with Localize, Meghan had this to share about the conference:
“WBENC is a great event to connect with companies and receive immediate, direct feedback on how to build a direct business relationship with them. It is both an ideal place to start your cross-border trade development, and to grow your business further. If you are a women-owned business who wants to do business in the U.S., you really need to attend next year.”
These trade missions are of such importance for entrepreneurs to attend because they give women-owned businesses in Canada the chance to make important connections to procurement professionals from major U.S. and global companies, in all industries, who are seeking products and services from diverse suppliers.
“The BWIT trade mission is an incredible opportunity to build valuable connections with potential corporate and government buyers as well as other women owned businesses that are supplying to corporations. The trade mission offers a professionally organized way for Canadian business owners to make the most of the event by providing support before, during and after the events,” says Marcela Mandeville, COO at AWE.