Meghan Dear – Making the Most of International Expansion Opportunities

Meghan is the founder and CEO of Localize, an awareness platform to educate shoppers about where their food comes from. She leads the vision to build a service that shares better food information at the shelf’s edge, so consumers can finally shop in peace with the right information at hand. Meghan was the 2016 AWE Emerging Innovator Award recipient.

Over the last year Meghan has been leading the Localize team in preparation for expansion into the United States. They’ve focused on two major events in order to make this happen, the first of which was attending the trade mission, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

“WBENC was an extremely exciting experience, but one which I initially hovered around the decision of attending. It turned out to be a transformative opportunity that led to a lot of good intelligence, good contacts, and at least one ongoing test relationship that could grow into a major commercial opportunity for us.”

Meghan also took part in the Canadian Technology Accelerator program in Boston. “I attended it to get my business ready in really practical ways for U.S. expansion. The reason why we have been able to do some pilot testing is because of that community that we grew in Boston around the business.”

As a hesitant first-time attendee herself, we asked Meghan what advice she has for entrepreneurs considering their first trade mission. “It’s hard to make decisions around things like trade missions because these are expensive events, and you don’t know what’s going to happen there. You can almost guarantee that something’s going to happen. Nothing is going to happen if you don’t go. These are intensive opportunities to connect and to find allies and partners and they’re missed opportunities if you don’t go.”

Within the next year, Meghan plans to bring Localize into having a coast-to-coast presence with thousands of stores in Canada, and three major partners in the U.S. “Where we want to be in the next 5-10 years is in every single grocery store, delivering every kind of socially relevant piece of information that helps shoppers make better decisions with their dollars.”

“I am extraordinarily thankful for AWE and the risk they were willing to take on my business and on me. It’s really tough being in non-traditional businesses like mine, with a non-traditional leader like me,” she adds in, jokingly. “Having organizations like AWE supporting us is so important for us to be able to find our allies and get to where we need to be.”