The Director of Economic Development in Steinbach is calling it a great steppingstone. Michelle Bezditny is referring to a meeting held Wednesday afternoon in Steinbach.
Steinbach Economic Development hosted Andrew Smith, who is the representative to the High Commission of Canada trade office. Together, with representatives from his regional team, Smith met with some key stakeholders to talk about international trade, specifically to the United Kingdom.
Bezditny says Steinbach's vision is to be a centre for advanced agribusiness. She notes that even though Steinbach is based in the Canadian prairies, businesses are exporting across the world. Bezditny notes they are still in the exploratory stage of being a centre for advanced agribusiness and Wednesday's meeting was a great steppingstone to getting there.
According to Bezditny, the reason why this meeting focused on exporting to the UK, is because the UK and Germany have been identified as Steinbach's primary market opportunities for exporting within the agribusiness space.
"As we continue to explore what that means for our local companies and opportunities for expansion globally, if we identify that these markets aren't a good fit for our local companies, we'll pivot and explore other opportunities," she says.
However, she notes hosting Smith and his team from the High Commission helped the stakeholders present on Wednesday to learn more about what could work for their business and what are some challenges they may need to overcome.
"And hearing from our key stakeholders specifically really, really, really enhances the great work that they continue to do as business and ultimately being able to expand their business operations is a resource that we are proud to be a part of at Steinbach Economic Development," adds Bezditny.
About a dozen people attended Wednesday's meeting in Steinbach. Bezditny says she feels there is absolutely an opportunity overseas that some businesses in Steinbach are not tapping into. Bezditny says the UK should be considered as either a prime market to begin their vision or to explore plans for exportation. She notes Wednesday's meeting was an opportunity for these stakeholders to network in order to expand their operations.
As part of Wednesday's discussion, the group also talked about the potential for local businesses to take part in future trade missions overseas.
Meanwhile, Bezditny says one of her highlights from Wednesday was a story she heard of one local business that started in Steinbach a handful of years ago. She notes this business is thinking big picture and reached out to a trade commissioner's office in order to move beyond the radius of Steinbach.
"I never get sick of hearing their story and how they have this collective vision to expand their operations but also their efforts in giving back to the community," she explains. "This business can operate anywhere, and they chose Steinbach and they chose Steinbach to hire a workforce, to give back to the community, to donate."
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