Connectionz is a recently established Toronto-based company whose purpose is to assist New Zealand companies successfully enter and develop business in Canada, particularly Eastern Canada, and North Eastern USA.
With a population of 35 million, a GDP 12 times New Zealand’s and much in common including language, government, health, education and legal systems, Canada is an attractive expansion option for New Zealand businesses seeking to expand overseas. The greater Toronto area alone has a population in excess of New Zealand’s and the provinces of Ontario and Québec have a combined population of 22 million.
However, surprisingly, New Zealand – Canada trade activity is relatively low, Canada only ranks as Zealand’s 17th largest trading partner.
Connectionz founders, Kiwi ex-pats and long term residents of Canada Rob Wilson and Ross Pinkerton, decided to form the company after observing a parade of Kiwi companies visit Toronto for business development purposes in recent years that were never to be seen or heard from again.
While the potential benefits of doing business in Canada are significant there are many challenges, some of which are not readily apparent, “The difference in time zones, Canadian business culture, regulations and bureaucracy are barriers to New Zealand companies’ success here” says Rob Wilson. “Attempting to navigate the abundant Canadian bureaucracy and manage all the requirements of doing business in Canada from New Zealand is not easy and often results in significant delays, unwanted cost and failure.”
New Zealand companies that have succeeded in Eastern Canada; New Zealand Lamb, Jade and more recently Foster-Moore and Vend, all have one thing in common – local representation. Maintaining a presence in the market is critical to being taken seriously and achieving success. Long distance communication using the technology available today is great for support but is not effective for business development and relationship purposes, particularly if your competition is located here.
However, for most small and medium New Zealand companies establishing a permanent office in Canada is neither practical nor affordable. Connectionz can help by providing strategic advice, market development plans and in-market sales, account management, strategic partner management, distribution and administration services and resources.
Reaction to Connectionz launch has been positive. Ross Pinkerton visited New Zealand in July to introduce Connectionz to both the private and public sectors. “I was overwhelmed by the level of interest and support” says Ross “The companies I met with realise the potential of Eastern Canada and are keen to explore the opportunities that exist. We are already working on several initiatives as a result.”