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To help Calgary companies increase their export potential, the Trade Accelerator Program Calgary (TAP) was launched in 2018 to serve as a one-stop shop for a company’s export needs.

The TAP workshops offer participants exclusive access to coaching and advice from top exporting advisors who help companies develop and implement their export plan.

Three cohorts completed the program in 2018 with a range of specialties ranging from technology to oil and gas services and food and beverage. Results of the program have already been realized from export contracts in the millions to securing distribution channels and completing first test shipments.

Three graduates of the program shared why TAP made a difference for their business.

Secret Spirits

1. What challenges did you face when you first decided to export?
Our business is based on the sale of alcohol; the regulatory challenges are extreme. Trying to decide on the best route to market was the hardest piece and we are still pivoting to maximize our profits and distribution.

2. How did TAP address those challenges?
TAP helped us think more creatively about ways to get to market but still be in control of the process.

3. How has TAP affected your plans to expand your business?
By opening an opportunity to sell directly to consumers anywhere in the world, we can truly begin to think about increased production and revenues in the years to come.

Great Products and Services Inc.

1. What motivated you to apply for TAP?
Our company had been doing import and export since 2011, but with the business growing, we are facing more challenges and difficulties. We needed to find financial support, professional legal consultants, and other resources and tools to enable us to reach our goals for success.

2. How did TAP address those challenges?
Through TAP, we were introduced to suppliers, manufacturers and logistics companies that wanted to work with us.  TAP also assisted us with our business plan and helped us find the finance programs and funds from government and banks.

3.  How has TAP affected your plans to expand your business?
The TAP program helped us professionalize our export capabilities, making it easier for us to access funding and other supports. For example, without the business plan drafted during the program, we were not quite ready to apply for funding – now we have applied to many funding programs and attracted investors.

NOBAL

1. What motivated you to apply for TAP?
NOBAL is a startup whose primary clients are all international brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and PUMA. As such, it is critical to know as much as possible about exporting goods around the world. Resources such as TAP are critical for start ups like ours to grow faster and learn what we don't know. 

2. Were there any hurdles you faced when you first decided to start your export journey?
Some of our biggest hurdles revolved around shipping and supply chains worldwide. TAP helped us to discover Calgary-based resources to help us export our goods around the world in a much more sustainable way. We started using some of the resources we learned about in the program on the same day.

3. What did you get from TAP that you wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else?
We were excited to gain access to a unique network of peers, mentors and service providers that we had not met before and to which we could all give and receive value. We now have a number of service providers we can reach out to as we expand worldwide to receive help in everything from legal advice to accounting help to government support.

The next TAP workshop begins on March 5, 2019. Review the application package for more information and eligibility requirements.

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