Trade Mission Helps Northern Michigan Companies Establish Business Connections in Canada
United Engineered Tooling of Traverse City was one of several Michigan companies to take part in a trade mission to Calgary, Canada hosted by the Global Trade Alliance of Northern Michigan. Watch the video to find out how the trade mission helped United Engineered Tooling make business contacts in Canada.
United Engineered Tooling of Traverse City and Master Craft Extrusion Tools, Inc. of Northport were two of four Michigan companies to participate in a June trade mission to Calgary, Canada. The mission focused on the oil and gas sector in Alberta and was hosted by the Global Trade Alliance of Northern Michigan, a program of the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.
“I was very impressed with the Global Trade Alliance,” said Dietrich Heyde, the owner of United Engineered Tooling. “They worked very hard to set up potential new customers for us that we met with. More than likely I never would have met those potential customers on my own.”
As part of the trade mission the Global Trade Alliance and Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) had a “Pure Michigan” exhibit booth at the bi-annual Gas & Oil Expo in Calgary, a trade show with approximately 20,000 attendees. The booth represented seven different Michigan companies and the Northwest Michigan Tooling Coalition, which is a partnership of 11 precision manufacturers.
“The variety of industries that oil and gas touches, and the reliance on machinery manufacturing, make the oil and gas market very promising for Michigan companies,” said Jaclyn Sanborn, Business Connections Manager at the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, one of the trade mission organizers. “Alberta’s oil sands developments are growing quickly with limited labor. Companies there are looking for cost effective solutions that don’t rely on the local labor force, and that means outsourcing.”
In addition to the booth at the Expo the State of Michigan’s shared trade office in Canada, with services provided through the Great Lakes Council of Governors, provided business matchmaking services so that companies on the mission had pre-arranged appointments with prospective buyers.
“The engineering and manufacturing talent in the state definitely showed off its capabilities and got some attention at the show,” said Chris Bosio, an MEDC international trade manager. “Each company walked away with solid sales leads and a better understanding of where they fit in the marketplace.”
Companies attending the mission were eligible for State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grants to cover up to 50% of their expenses for the mission. The STEP is supported by a grant from the US Small Business Administration to the MEDC. STEP is administered locally and in the 36 counties of the UP and northern Lower Peninsula by the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.
The Global Trade Alliance is planning another trade mission to Calgary in June of 2014 to attend the Global Petroleum Expo. That event is larger than the expo they attended this year and will offer expanded opportunities for Michigan businesses to make connections in the oil and gas industry. For more information about that trade mission or the STEP grants businesses should contact Chris Bosio at 517-348-9256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Global Trade Alliance of Northern Michigan, a program of Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, coordinates export assistance efforts through partnerships with the US Small Business Administration’s STEP Program and the MEDC’s Exporting Assistance Program. That partnership includes financial incentives to support export operations; export counseling, referral and information; international trade education; peer networking; promotional events, missions and shows. More at nwm.org/global-trade.
Northwest Michigan Works! is an essential resource for employers and job seekers in the Northern Michigan area.Kathy Stuart, Michigan Rubber Products Human Resource Manager