Business Women’s Trade Mission to Monterrey, Mexico,
TORONTO, ON – A group of 11 Canadian business women representing multiple industries who participated in a trade mission to Monterrey, Mexico, this month returned to Canada with some immediate business and leads. Spearheaded by the Toronto chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT-Toronto), the mission provided opportunities for female business owners and professionals to export and expand globally, as well as to showcase the contribution of women in international trade, in historically male-dominated industry sectors, in both Mexico and Canada.
“This was one of the best organized trade missions I have ever experienced because it was all about entrepreneurs,” said Myrna Bittner, CEO and Founder, RUNWITHIT Synthetics. “This mission’s spirit was to make things happen, to connect people, to progress things, and was not just political or diplomatic. I gained amazing contacts that would have taken me a long time to find and I had incredible meetings. I might go back to Mexico next month.”
Participants’ sectors included auto-manufacturing, IT, education, transportation, legal, international trade services and government. Coordinated by OWIT- Toronto Co-President Alma Farias, the initiative was facilitated by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service from Monterrey’s Canadian Consulate, in cooperation with the OWIT- Monterrey Chapter, the Ministry of Economy and Labour of the State of Nuevo Leon, and the Cluster TIC Nuevo Leon .
“The trade mission led to a better understanding of the business potential for Canadian companies and has already resulted in business for some,” says Farias. “It also inspired local amazing women entrepreneurs who now are planning a potential Mexican women trade mission to Toronto next year. I am so proud that OWIT-Toronto has fostered a two-way inclusive trade deal with Mexico in this special year when both countries celebrate 75 years of bilateral relations. And it could not have happened without the collaboration of our Canadian and Mexican partners.”
Activities kicked off with a networking breakfast hosted by OWIT- Monterrey with guest speaker Rhonda Barnet, Immediate Past- Chair of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), and the first female Chair in the CME’s history. “We were able to showcase what Canada is doing to increase female participation in manufacturing through the excellent presentation done by Rhonda on the CME- program #WE CanDoIt,” notes Farias.
Individual business-to-business meetings were held with potential customers, suppliers and business partners. Delegates also participated in conferences and meetings with local industry clusters, government and educational organizations, tours of various research and development facilities, and a visit to the Expo Manufactura trade show. An evening reception held later in the week was hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce-Monterrey and Canadian Consulate with more than 100 local business people in attendance.
“This trade mission was beyond everyone’s expectations and I’m convinced good things will come from it, “said Lyse Moreau, President and CEO, International Sew Right Co, a manufacturer of safety clothing. “I have already landed an order from the last meeting I had. I found everyone I met very proactive, and the trade show we attended was fantastic, with surprisingly good response.”
The trade mission was the first initiative after an MOU was signed by the OWIT-Toronto and OWIT-Monterrey chapters in March, 2017 in the presence of the Canadian Minister of International Trade and the Consul General of Canada in Monterrey. Supporters of the trade mission included EDC, Global Affairs Canada, Bennett Jones and the Ontario government.
OWIT-Toronto (The Organization of Women in International Trade-Toronto) (www.owit-toronto.ca) is part of an international non-profit professional organization with chapters around the world (www.owit.org), dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women.