This might be the year to start exporting—and the new Export Navigator advisor for the Thompson-Okanagan is providing free support along the way.
Successfully exporting overseas was once a possibility only for those who could travel across the globe to meet with potential partners in-person at trade shows. Now, with travel at a halt, and relationships and opportunities moving ahead online, exporting is a possibility for just about anyone with an exportable product or service.
“There has always been a huge potential with exporting, and now with the global economy, it’s a much more even playing field with opportunities worth exploring,” says Amber Piché, the new Export Navigator Advisor for the Thompson-Okanagan region. The Provincial Export Navigator program supports entrepreneurs with free advice from export specialists to help determine readiness and strategies for exporting successfully, from product development and marketing to financials, networking and logistics.
Piché, who grew up in West Kelowna, has a strong understanding of marketing for key Okanagan industries and experience running a business and doing business internationally. Her career began in three core sectors: tourism, hospitality and wine, with roles at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, the Kelowna Museum Society, The Laurel Packinghouse Wine Museum and The Grand Okanagan Resort. Piché’s recent role in business development for an international corporate technology firm allowed her to travel the world, while making important contacts along the way. She says she is looking forward to putting her background to work to help business owners explore the possibilities of exporting.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping companies improve their business operations in the areas of marketing and business development, for example. I love seeing others realize their dreams and am grateful that I get to be part of the process,” says Piché, who will be supporting Export Navigator clients across the North Okanagan as well as Penticton, Summerland, Salmon Arm and Sicamous.
At a time when many business owners are looking at ways to overcome challenges and stay competitive, exporting could be the possibility entrepreneurs are looking for, offering a more diverse market, fostering innovation, and growing profitability through economies of scale.
Piché says it’s helpful to have an outside specialist to ask questions and help think beyond the day-to-day running of a business.
“Even inter-community exporting can feel like a big step when you’re first getting started, but it’s a great way to get your feet wet and see what’s possible. These small steps can build confidence in yourself, your business, and present the opportunities that further exports bring.”
Business owners considering exporting their products are encouraged to learn more and fill out an online application form at https://www.futuresbc.com/business/existing-businesses/export-navigator/.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery & Innovation and the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada.