2018 Export Business of the year finalists

2018 Export Business of the year finalists

< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment

Sponsored by:

B4CHECKIN

What inspired your company to become involved in export?
We never considered we wouldn’t be exporting; we never really had a choice. Our software was aimed at independent hotels with more than 75 rooms and with the limited market in Halifax, the easiest place for us to start was in larger cities within Canada and the U.S.

What is your organization’s biggest achievement to date?
We have created the hotel industry’s first integrated payment solution, which eliminates the need for hotels to send paper forms to their clients to get credit card information.

What do you feel is your biggest contribution to the local business community?
All of our staff is local (with the exception of one employee based in the U.S.), and most of our recent hires have been students fresh out of local universities, so we encourage young grads to stay here rather than seek opportunities in other cities.

What do you think Halifax needs to do in order to grow?
Halifax’s greatest strength is its opportunity to grow. Halifax is a city where young people want to live, play and work. With thousands of students graduating each year, governments of all levels need to ensure that they have programs geared so that these graduates can take advantage of opportunities to make Halifax home. In doing so, they will make Halifax grow.

BLUELIGHT ANALYTICS

What do you enjoy most about working with international markets?
Working with international markets offers insights into diverse ways of conducting and growing a business. As a small company, working with international markets has given us the opportunity to develop our products to respond to the needs of different markets and generate value for our customers. It also facilitates exposure to new customers that can have the confidence that BlueLight has the ability to overcome obstacles related to cross-cultural or regulatory challenges.

What is your organization’s biggest achievement to date?
Through our technologies, we have collected more than one million unique data points, allowing us to continue to grow our one-of-a-kind database, while enhancing our ability to provide an analysis and custom recommendations to our clients. The data we have, which is collected by clients using our technologies, is enabling us to develop better industry relationships, expand into different verticals and offer better data-driven solution to our clients to ensure success.

Why did you choose Halifax?
Being located in the Atlantic Time Zone allows BlueLight to easily communicate with customers from as far away as Europe and Australia throughout the day. With Halifax being a natural port, BlueLight has been able to develop a strong customs and logistics network, which has been essential in getting our products to market within strict deadlines. Additionally, Halifax’s sophisticated research and academic community allows BlueLight to leverage and hire local expertise to refine and develop new product offerings.

INTERTALK CRITICAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS

What inspired your company to become involved in export?
Necessity breeds opportunity, and that is quite true for us given our industry. The long life cycle of our products means that once a system is in place, it can be 10 to 15 years before it may need to be upgraded. Public safety is a fundamental service all over the world, and as there are only so many public safety agencies in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada — we cast our net as wide as we can.

What do you enjoy most about working with international markets?
The nuances of conducting business in different areas are always enjoyable to learn — even in markets as “local” as the U.S., things are as different between Pennsylvania and Oregon as they are between Nova Scotia and Alberta. Adapting tone, verbiage and our general business approach to suit the market is a fun task.

What do you think Halifax needs to do in order to grow?
Halifax needs to fully embrace its emerging reputation as a technology center — with the strong, young, capable workforce grown from our many local
universities and with so many transcendent technology companies doing such great things in international markets, we can no longer afford to be known as a “fisheries and lumber” province. The future of Halifax and Nova Scotia is in technology and we need to become immersed in changing the perception people may have about Halifax and what is being accomplished here.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an exporter?
The ebbs and flows of politics is always something to keep an eye on — not only is our industry heavily influenced by political agendas, but also the impacts to trade and financial markets plays a role in determining the course of our business.

VERB INTERACTIVE

What is your organization’s biggest achievement to date?
We’ve done business all over the world, but our proudest achievement is employing more than 100 people in Halifax, building a gorgeous office for our team downtown and knowing that we are providing local youth with an opportunity to work with amazing brands outside of Nova Scotia. There is a sense of pride knowing we live in Halifax, but build strategies that connect with travelers around the world — and we did it without spending any money on marketing. That will always be more rewarding than revenue targets to me.

What do you feel is your biggest contribution to the local business community?
The fact that we have grown revenues 25 to 30 percent, year after year, consistently and continue to employ more and more Nova Scotian talent every year. We like to take care of our people and our community, and that includes reinvesting in downtown Halifax. Call me old-fashioned, but I get a certain sense of pleasure from knowing we put food on the table for more than 100 families in our city.

Why did you choose Halifax?
Halifax is home. Halifax is where I was born and Halifax is where I wanted to build a business. We are growing our business in other regions, but Halifax will always be home to me, and the headquarters of VERB.

WORLD LINK FOOD DISTRIBUTORS INC.

What is your organization’s biggest achievement to date?
Growing the business to the point where we have been able to create more than 40 direct jobs in Nova Scotia and raise the profile of this region internationally.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an exporter?
The biggest challenge has been raising the capital necessary to purchase enough products to generate profit on the razor-thin margins that exist in the seafood industry.

Do you have any advice for other businesses that want to start exporting?
The most important aspect of exporting is based on relationships. You need to know both your customers and= your suppliers, so you can make sure you are delivering what the customers wants.

What do you think Halifax needs to do in order to grow?
Halifax needs to improve its infrastructure, including transportation and transit, while still maintaining the small town feel that makes it such a great place to live.

What do you feel is your biggest contribution to the local business community?
The direct and indirect jobs created by doing business in the city.


< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment

Stay Connected

Sign-up to receive important updates on Halifax Chamber events, Member benefits and advocacy news.

Small Business Week