WEDC investment to assist with creating materials for global markets

MADISON, WI. AUGUST 27, 2020–Osceola-based Branches LLC is receiving a $25,000 state grant to assist with market customization activities that target European and Canadian consumers.

The International Market Access Grant (IMAG) from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the company’s plans for literature translation and design with the goal to make their sales literature more accessible to a global market. Currently its point of purchase (POP) labels are printed in English. Using these grant funds, Branches will translate the POP label into French, Spanish and at least one Scandinavian language.

“Exporting is a vital business strategy for reaching new markets and advancing growth,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “The International Market Access Grant will make a great impact on Branches’ international growth strategy and provide the ability to compete in the global economy.”

“WEDC has been honored to support Branches since 2017, not only through the IMAG Program, but through ExporTech™ as well,” said Katy Sinnott, WEDC vice president of global trade and investment. “IMAGs help Wisconsin companies continue expanding their exports in the best of times, but the grants are particularly important during the challenges of COVID-19 where many companies are facing budgetary challenges. The IMAG can provide that needed cash injection to get an export project off the ground.”

Branches is the world’s largest manufacturer of quality canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard paddles. Located in northwestern Wisconsin, the company was founded in 1982 and remains a privately held manufacturer. Most of its parts are made in the U.S., and all paddles are assembled at the company’s Osceola facility.

“As a small, lean manufacturer, we run on razor-thin margins, and the IMAG affords us the opportunity to take calculated risks to increase our brand awareness and presence internationally that we otherwise may not have the capacity to accomplish,” said Susie Kadlec, customer service and inside sales representative for Branches. “Modifying our point of purchase materials has been on the priority list for a number of years now, and through the support of the IMAG, we are finally able to put some emphasis on getting it done.”

WEDC’s IMAG, part of the Global Business Development Program, provides funding to support a company’s specific export development and deployment strategy with WEDC’s international staff. Since 2014, WEDC has awarded more than $5.5 million in IMAGs to 326 companies statewide.

ExporTech™ is a 12-week export strategy development program designed to speed a company’s ‘go to market’ timeline. This program provides financial and technical assistance to eligible Wisconsin companies and develops a customized international growth plan for each company’s product in key markets.

For questions about the IMAG program or to request additional information, contact Aaron Zitzelsberger, international grants manager or Katie Wall, international grants coordinator.