The Centre for Global Enterprise hosts inaugural RBC-Schulich enterprise forum “Success without Borders™”
On June 24, 2015, over 70 Small to Medium Sized Entrepreneurs (SMEs) gathered at the Schulich School of Business to learn the tricks of the trade in growing their companies on international soil.
Panelists Scott Drugo from Teknion, Les Mandelbaum from Umbra and Donald Ziraldo from Ziraldo Estate Winery shared their successes and failures on expanding their businesses to compete in a global marketplace. In growing their brand globally, they have stimulated the Canadian economy and joined the global value chain.
Executive Director for the Centre for Global Enterprise (CGE), Lorna Wright said the objective of the Success Without Boarders Forum is to show SMEs real world examples of Canadians who have succeeded in global markets and the steps they took.
“The panel started small and now they are global powerhouses,” Wright said. “This event shows how it is done and motivates more of our SMEs to follow in their footsteps. We are following that into the coaching clinics that delve down into the practicalities of the things that you need to know. ”
The event offered coaching clinics where SMEs were given advice to enable them to succeed internationally, as well as a networking component to connect attendees with similar businesses and Schulich graduates.
“The team of volunteers today from all of our different programs showcases our talent,” Wright said. “The SMEs can see potential interns as potential permanent employees, and students get a more in-depth perspective of what work is like, particularly on an international scale.”
Keynote speaker for the event, Peng Sang Cau, came to Canada as a refugee from Cambodia in 1980. Now the President and CEO of Transformix Engineering, she built it from a local engineering service provider into a global concern that has customers in eight different countries.
“We were able to capture the core message and branding of our unique technology and target the right audience,” Sang Cau said. In Canada’s economy, SMEs report only eight per cent of significant export activity while employing 60 per cent of the labour force. Like Cau’s company, other Canadian businesses could benefit exponentially from international expansion.
“In 2005 Transformix was at the verge of bankruptcy. I truly believe that if we stayed local we would have been bankrupt by now,” Sang Cau said. “Going global saved our company and helped us achieve triple digit growth.”