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SME Counsellors Network: Inaugural CUSMA SME Dialogue is a Success

Friday, May 27, 2022 4:24 PM | Anonymous

OWIT-Toronto participated on panels during a CUSMA SME Women’s Entrepreneurship webinar on May 25 during the first-ever CUSMA SME Dialogue focused on women. Presented by Global Affairs Canada, Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, the US Trade Department of Commerce and  the Ministry of Economy of Mexico, this event brought together SMEs, support organizations and government reps to discuss resources and strategies for  strengthening trade under CUSMA, boosting cooperation and helping more SMEs reap the benefits of trade.  

As part of a panel of women entrepreneurs from Canada, the US, and Mexico, Kelli Saunders, President of Morai Logistics and a former OWIT-Toronto Woman Exporter of the Year award winner, shared her insights on the Mexican market and tips on doing business there:

  • Benefits of doing business in Mexico include the ability to cut costs without sacrificing services there, outstanding education and labour force, and closer nearshoring. 

  • Developing personal relationships and trust is key but it is also important to connect with the right people to get decisions made.  Having bilingual staff contributes to stronger communications. 

  • Meal time is also important in business development.  If you are invited to a breakfast meeting, you have likely scored that trust since deals are sealed there; lunch is more casual and dinner more fun.

  • People in Mexico want to know about your family.

  • The business dress code is different – ladies dress smartly and typically wear suits.

  • Know what resources are available to help you export and take advantage of them. 

OWIT-Toronto’s  VP International, Susan Baka, participated in a panel about resources available to help women businesses leverage CUSMA and do business in North America.  She spotlighted OWIT as a valuable resource and highlighted three things in particular that OWIT offers that contribute to the growth of women globally:  trade missions, international networking, and mentoring new chapters. 

Our chapter is part of the SME Counsellors Network, which brings together women’s support organizations from Canada, the US and Mexico, to collaborate and to discuss strategies and resources for helping women leverage CUSMA. 

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