Entrepreneurs Undaunted by Global Economic Slowdown
As technology brings the world closer together, more entrepreneurs are seeking to expand by introducing their products and services to foreign markets. Some look to the United States while others see opportunities in far-flung regions of the globe.
A recent study by KPMG LLP shows that despite the slumping economy worldwide, nearly two-thirds of private company owners in Canada intend to forge ahead with global expansion plans in the next five years.
Many that have made inroads outside Canada are enjoying consistent success. Harry Chemko, chief executive officer of Vancouver-based Elastic Path Software Inc., and Jason Billingsley, vice-president, innovation, built the business into a $10-million company, with 85% of its revenue generated from sales outside Canada. On graduating university in 2000, the pair originally launched the company as a consultancy firm called Ekkon Technologies, with just 10 employees. Now, the company specializes in e-commerce and software solutions that power online retail sites for some of the largest brands in the world and competes with giants such as IBM and Microsoft. It has more than 90 employees and operates in two countries with plans to expand to more.
"If you're going to enter a new market you need to do things in a fairly decisive manner," Mr. Chemko says. The company founders last month were awarded the Business Development Bank of Canada's Young Entrepreneur of the Year along with its Export Excellence Award. "You really do need to move part of your organization there instead of just hiring a few people there."
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