WBENC 2017 Trade Mission: so much more than just a tradeshow

Nancy Brommell October 4, 2017

The WBENC Trade Mission in June was an opportunity for Canadian women-business owners with exporting goals to connect with corporate supplier diversity specialists, as well as export-oriented support organizations.
The WBENC Trade Mission is composed of a number of different events offered by a number of different agencies, all of whom focus on assisting women business owners in expanding and attaining their exporting goals through learning and networking opportunities.
The feature event, of course, is the WBENC Business Fair, where women business owners walk the trade show floor and connect with buyers and supplier diversity specialists from corporations that are interested in expanding and incorporating majority women-owned business products and services into their supply chain. Here you can see Hailey Jeffries chatting with the supplier diversity specialist from Starbucks.
However WBENC is more than a trade show. This year, the 2017 WBENC Trade Mission provided Canadian delegates (women business owners) many opportunities to make connections at a number of programs facilitated by support organizations, including:

  • Two BWIT (Business Women in International Trade) Networking Receptions where Canadian women business owners got an opportunity to meet women business owners from other provinces, as well as some of the Canadian government trade commissioners, both of whom can be very helpful and influential in exploring export opportunities.
  • WBE Canada Breakfast with Brands where Canadian women business owners got an opportunity to have 15 minute one-on-one and small group table discussions with corporate buyers and supplier diversity specialists who are particularly interested exploring opportunities to incorporate majority-women-owned Canadian businesses into their corporation’s supplier chain.
  • WEConnect International Day and Reception where Canadian women business owners connected with women business owners and corporations from other countries around the world.
  • Match-maker meetings for corporate buyers and certified women business owners to explore specific export opportunities more deeply.

WBENC week is the third week in June every year. This year, it was held from June 18-22. Next year, it will be held in the week of Jun 17-21 (so mark your calendar NOW!).
An interesting element of WBENC is that it is held in a different U.S. city every year. This year it was in Las Vegas, Nevada; next year it will be in Detroit, Michigan. This allows women business owners to learn and explore regional as well as the large, national corporate export opportunities.
There were almost 100 Canadian delegates from most of the provinces. Delegates are women like Tatiana Wensley and Hailey Jeffries.
Hailey is President of a newly established company called Prairie Fava, an agri-food ingredient supply company headquartered in Glenboro, Manitoa dedicated to supplying fava beans ingredients to food and pet food manufacturing corporations. www.prairiefava.com
Tatiana is Director of Tamponato Corporate Gifts headquartered in Vancouver B.C. that specializes in the design, customization and manufacturing of corporate gifts made of cork. www.tamposkine.com
As you can see, they are two very different companies, one is in the agri-food products manufacturing industry; the other in corporate gifts industry. But they have one key criteria in common: they are both interested in expanding their businesses via export.
For more information on the WBENC 2017 Trade Mission, contact your regional WEOC organization.

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