Export Navigator clients and InWater Technologies founders Stephanie King & Kurt Lang.

North Vancouver Island businesses achieve international success with Export Navigator

How small businesses are finding new customers in changing times

As a year of uncertainty continues, it has become more critical than ever for small businesses to find creative ways to succeed, and many are turning to Export Navigator for advice and support. Operating across B.C., the free Export Navigator Program has been helping businesses grow since 2016 — now, it’s stepping in to help businesses like InWater Technologies from Campbell River to innovate and adapt.

Export Navigator is a free program that connects business owners with a local export advisor who can help them find new customers beyond B.C. From growth planning to information about exporting, business owners across the province have applied free advisor support to expand with confidence.

Throughout the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the advisors at Export Navigator have been helping businesses find ways to pivot and succeed in the face of new challenges — such as taking advantage of e-commerce platforms and learning how to access government funding resources. With more businesses turning to the program, its success stories now span a range of industries and countries.

Honorable Minister Mungall, responsible for the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness, believes it’s the local aspect of Export Navigator that has been fundamental to its success in helping small businesses:

“As a resident of a rural community, I see so many innovative people creating products and services that deserve wider distribution. Every business and every community is different, and I think that’s why Export Navigator’s regional approach has been so valuable.”

Port Alberni-based export advisor Brady Calancie has been working with businesses across North Vancouver Island to help them export. One of Brady’s success stories is InWater Technologies, a water quality monitoring company based out of Campbell River. Joint founder Stephanie King had ambitions to export to Chile and Australia but needed to know more about how to comply with complex foreign market regulations. With Brady’s expert guidance, Stephanie has been overcoming these challenges and setting her business up for success in the international market.

“We are looking to develop relationships with distributors in Chile and Australia. Challenges in expanding to these markets are mainly a result of navigating through the various regulations surrounding exporting. Brady has been tremendous in providing us with answers to many of our export questions. His Export Navigator presentation was extremely informative for our team.”

From solo startups with a small customer base to larger corporations that already export to some select markets, Export Navigator is available to businesses of all sizes in North Vancouver Island and across B.C.

To continue helping businesses in Vancouver Island, the free program is accepting online applications. To support underrepresented groups, businesses owned by Indigenous Peoples, women, and youth can expect specialized support and are encouraged to apply online.

Export Navigator gratefully acknowledges that we live, work, and play on the traditional territories of the Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia.

Small Business

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