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If you are planning to grow your company, now is the time to start exploring export opportunities in the European Union (EU). Recently the European Parliament gave its seal of approval of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). As Canada’s second largest trading partner, EU offers immense openings to Canadian companies.

If you are a woman entrepreneur exploring your exporting options, now you can access unprecedented support to make connections with Fortune 500 companies in trade missions to the US. You may be eligible to receive funding for a portion of your travel expenses with the CanExport Grant.

As a business owner in an ideal world: You attend a trade mission and walk away with a signed deal. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live in an ideal world.

So what’s the real value of attending a trade mission?

Participating in a trade mission fits into the Market Research section of your Export Plan. A trade mission is not your export plan; it is one of the market research activities you will do in the process of determining what your export plan could be.

Attending a trade mission will provide you with:

Women are great networkers. While I often experience this at networking events in the city, it’s really when I go on international trade missions that I see just how impressive our BC women business owners are. Attending the dual trade mission to Atlanta (Women in Business Summit) and Orlando (WBENC) this past June was a prime example.The energy and excitement of being surrounded by top-notch talented entrepreneurs was inspiring.

When women succeed, the global economy grows. The crucial role of women in achieving prosperity and the need for gender equality was acknowledged by the world’s 20 leading economies (G20) ) in 2015, with the launch of an engagement group W20. Established in 1999, the G20 meets annually to discuss key financial issues affecting the global economy.

Planning to export? Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) can open doors of opportunities for you. They make flow of goods and services across international borders smooth and easy.

What is the purpose of FTA’s?

The chief goal of FTA’s is to make life easier for you, the exporter or importer, by removing barriers to international trade. While the primary focus is on eliminating tariffs, it also impacts non-tariff barriers, for example, quotas, intellectual property, competition policy etc.

If you have been thinking about growing your business in the US, now could be your time!

With a strong US dollar, a new export development grant and a number of valuable matchmaking events and conferences coming up, 2016 could be your year to access new markets in the US.

Here are 3 ways you can grow your business this year:

1. Cover Your Export Development Expenses with the CanExport Grant

The Government of Canada has announced CanExport, a program that provides direct financial assistance to businesses wanting to export to new markets.

This spring, Women's Enterprise Centre will be supporting women entrepreneurs at learning and networking events at home and abroad. There are opportunities to learn more about Supplier Diversity and how to leverage your certification and we'd like to help you make valuable connections.

Breakfast with Brands, May 14th, Vancouver