Despite the COVID-19 crisis and economic instability, it’s time to talk about exports, according to the Sherbrooke Innopole’s Executive Director, Josée Fortin.
That’s what some 100 entrepreneurs will be doing on April 24 at the Times Hotel during the Grand rendez-vous de l’exportation, organized by Carrefour Québec International in collaboration with Sherbrooke Innopole. About a hundred participants are expected.
For Ms. Fortin, it is when a company exports to only one country that a danger arises. “If the country or the continent is hit, the company is necessarily hit as well. If you have a diversification of places where you export, it can compensate for the risks you face,” she says.
If a company only does business in Asia, it is not in a good situation,” she says. However, if it’s in Asia, Europe, North America and maybe even South America, then we can compensate for that. It makes the company less vulnerable. It is like a financial portfolio. »
The Executive Director of Carrefour Québec International, Catherine Gervais, had the same speech. Exports are still relevant and important,” she says. What’s important is market diversification and it’s our mandate to help companies see the opportunities. It’s not just the United States. There are other interesting markets. You just have to adapt your strategy according to the market that will pay off. Every company has its own recipe: just because a competitor is in a market doesn’t mean you have to go there as well. »
Etienne Lemieux, CEO and co-founder of the company Spi Bio, who continuously monitors Legionella Pneumophila in water systems, sees the current situation as a double-edged sword. “There is market uncertainty, so my customers may be less willing to buy,” thinks the entrepreneur, who is currently in the process of selling to New York customers.
“But it confirms that people see a high importance on public health, he relativizes. In 2015, in a single event, legionella sent more than 100 people to hospital and killed 12. Like the Coronavirus, that’s cause for concern. We’re in the same engine: people are afraid, homeowners are afraid of the economic impact it represents and are taking preventive measures. This confirms to me that people are ready to invest in making cities safer, to put measures in place to prevent epidemics. »
For Mr. Lemieux, the experience of exporting can be frightening. It is to combat this fear that the entrepreneur will address the participants of the Grand rendez-vous de l’exportation.
We are often afraid,” admits Mr. Lemieux, who will be attending the event as a guest speaker. We put a lot of energy into finding clients, but it’s because we’re afraid to go into the export business. We have to fight that fear, because if you want to develop a large business, to go from a small business to something bigger, you have to go to your neighbour. »
The employer would like to go from 17 employees to a few hundred.
“The export process is less and less scary. [Now] it makes sense to me. A year ago, it didn’t make sense because there was too much uncertainty,” he says.
Entrepreneurs will be coming to share their marketing experience in different markets, Gervais says. “Concrete results are the networking that takes place, she believes, recalling that this is the third edition of this event. Companies will come out inspired and will network. »
We’re here to explain the customs process or just to find the right market,” she says. For those who are well established in Quebec and looking to grow, the most important thing is to make an action plan. »