Wisconsin businesses will have a chance establish or expand their export sales in a series of eight trade ventures spanning the globe through April 2024.
“These are boots-on-the-ground opportunities to develop markets and build valuable relationships,” says Katy Sinnott, WEDC’s vice president of global trade and investment. “WEDC’s slate of Global Trade Ventures provides a great opportunity to make contacts, demonstrate products and services, and build valuable business relationships internationally.”
WEDC’s Global Trade Venture Program has scheduled in-person trips to markets in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Destinations for 2023-24 include:
- Belgium and the Netherlands, Sept. 9-16, with stops in Amsterdam and Brussels
- Poland, Nov. 11-18, centered in Warsaw
- India, Dec. 2-9, with stops in Mumbai and Delhi
- Mexico, Jan. 28-Feb. 2, with stops in Monterrey and Mexico City
- United Arab Emirates, Jan. 27-Feb. 1, centered in Dubai
- China, March 9-16, with stops in Shanghai and Beijing
- Canada, April 7-12, with stops in Toronto and Winnipeg
- Germany, April 6-13, centered in Munich
Sinnott says the trade ventures remove logistical obstacles that companies can encounter when they attempt to arrange meetings internationally.
In addition to offering travel at a subsidized rate, the trade ventures provide a personalized experience, with WEDC and in-market trade representatives conducting market research on each company’s behalf to identify potential trading partners.
WEDC also handles the logistics, transportation, translation, and scheduling so participants can focus on business matters.
“We try to add value, so that the time spent by businesses is productive and profitable. Overcoming linguistic and logistical challenges would be a heavy lift for most companies, but we’re able to manage those issues,” says Sinnott.
Participating companies receive a high-level country briefing from WEDC’s market development director before a well-organized tour of the country’s major markets. At each stop, companies participate in pre-arranged, customized meetings with potential partners whose needs or capabilities align with the Wisconsin company’s export objectives.
The 2023-24 calendar includes several industry-specific opportunities. The trade venture to China specifically targets manufacturing businesses and will feature a trade show. Multi-sector manufacturing will also be the focus of the Mexico trade venture. The United Arab Emirates trade venture will focus on health-related companies and will coincide with a trade show focusing on Arab health; the Germany trade venture will be tailored for biotech firms and is planned to take place in conjunction with the Analytica trade show.
WEDC has also expanded its offerings for the coming year by partnering with other organizations. It is teaming up with the Council of Great Lakes Governors and Premiers (CGLGP) on the Poland trade venture, which will be a multi-sector event organized around a trade show focused on rebuilding war-torn Ukraine. CGLGP is also organizing the multi-sector venture to India. The U.S. Commercial Service is organizing the trade venture to the United Arab Emirates, and WEDC will support companies’ participation.
The collaborations encourage Wisconsin companies to engage with the high-quality programs already taking place and help build a critical mass of companies for each program, says Sinnott. “We’re exploring how we can continue to expand, make our trade ventures more robust, and add more value .”
The trips to Belgium and the Netherlands, Poland, India, and Canada will all be multi-sector ventures. The Canada trip is offered in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
Traditionally, WEDC’s trade ventures have been heavily attended by small and midsize businesses.
“We’ve seen companies with two to five employees on trade ventures, along with larger companies,” says Sinnott. “It’s fantastic to see smaller companies go to a foreign market and find success or meet a distributor suited for that particular business.”
Further details will be posted on WEDC’s Global Trade Ventures webpage as registration opens for each trip. To express interest in being notified when a particular trip opens for registration, contact WEDC Global Trade and Investment Director Aaron Zitzelsberger at 608.210.6734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.