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Navigating Canada’s Public Funding Landscape: Five Tips to Keep in Mind

Posted on May 25 2016 | Author: Jessica Taylor

Public funding is unchartered territory for many, especially entrepreneurs starting their first venture or entering a new market. Often times program guides are littered with unfamiliar vocabulary and requirements can be unclear and confusing. So where do you start? Whether your next steps are contingent on securing funding or you are looking to leverage a private investment, there are few things to keep in mind when navigating the public funding landscape. This blog aims to provide you with tips that will increase your likelihood of receiving public funding:

1. There are different types of public funding; understand what makes the most sense for your project.

Most public funding can be categorized as one of the following:

  • Grants, contributions and financial assistance
    • These programs run on a cost-share basis and require that you report the outcomes of the project; however, most do not require you repay the funding body.
  • Loans and cash advances
    • When dealing with loans and cash advances it is critical that you understand the terms of your specific agreement. Ask questions of the funding partner and seek out a mentor who can review the agreement.
  • Loan guarantees
    • A government guarantee can attract creditors, providing a sense of security in providing financing to an early stage company.
  • Tax refunds and credits
    • Certain activities, such as research and development, are eligible for tax credits and the government offers a number of tax incentives that can help reduce your overhead costs.
  • Wage subsidies
    • Hiring grants and wage subsidies are available for a variety of different roles. In particular, a number of programs focus on new graduate hiring incentives that can make onboarding a new employee or position more feasible.

Canada Business Network provides a great overview of the types of funding that are available in Canada.


2. Demonstrate the benefit beyond your organization.
It is important to show the funding organization that the project will benefit the rest of your industry through increased revenues, job creation or other economic means such as providing equipment or services to other ventures. This can be illustrated by providing letters of support from other organizations or collaborating with an industry partner or academic institution for a project that is mutually beneficial.


3. Know when to apply for government funding.
Timing is critical when applying for government funding. Public funding programs operate in one of two ways:

  • Continuous application intake:
    These programs receive, review and approve applications on an ongoing basis until the program is fully subscribed or the government’s commitment has ended/is completed. This has a “first come first serve” mentality and timing of your submission may be more crucial to success.
     
  • Application intake period:
    Other programs set a “call for proposals” or intake period, which is a specific period of time where applications will be accepted. Once the intake period ends, all of the applications are reviewed and funding decisions are made. If a company does not get their application in during this time, they must wait for the next intake period.


4. Different levels of public funding
In Canada, public funding is available at all levels of government including federal, provincial, territorial, regional and municipal. As a small business it’s a good practice to be aware of the various funding organizations and their programming. A few of the key funding organizations are identified below:
 

Federal
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)     
Agriculture Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
Farm Credit Canada (FCC)
FedDev Ontario
Western Economic Diversification Canada
 

Provincial
Innovacorp
Innovation PEI
Investment Agricultural Fund  
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)      
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Municipal
Regional Innovation Centres 




 

* Check your city’s economic development website for information about locally available funding. 

Caution: Stacking (using multiple sources of funding for one project or application) is possible, but there are a number of considerations and rules. It is recommended that entrepreneurs seek counsel from an organization or consultant that has experience in this space.


5. Collaborate.
Partnering with an industry member or academic group can make you eligible for new programs. As well, certain programs provide a higher cost-share for collaborative projects, some of which are only open to industry who have partnered with academia. For example, the Growing Forward 2 Program has a funding stream called Organizations and Collaborations run through the Agricultural Adaptation Council and NSERC runs various funding programs that businesses partnered with academics are eligible for.

Businesses of all stages can benefit immensely from the support of government funding. Keeping yourself informed about what is available and connecting with consultants and organizations that can assist with the application process will make accessing public funding a much easier process. When considering a new project or venture be sure to keep these tips in mind and reach out.

 

Jessica Taylor 
Senior Analyst, Food & Food Systems

 






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Starting With Social Media

Posted on May 13 2016 | Author: Rebecca Reynolds

Social media can be a valuable resource for marketing your company affectively and affordably. There are numerous channels and resources to utilize, which could be intimidating if you’re new to many of them. But the potential growth and business exposure could be significant, even for the smallest of marketing budgets.

Social media enables companies to be more engaged, while promoting their business in a very simple and direct manner. Traditional marketing can be pricey in comparison to marketing over social media platforms – which can be as simple as posting a comment that your followers can discuss, and thus generating exposure for your company. You’ll invest in time what you save in dollars.

Steps To Success

1. Do Your Research
With many social media platforms, it’s important to know which is more appropriate to support your company’s goals. For example, if your social media target is to build stronger brand loyalties, Facebook is the best platform. Or if you’d like to develop more business-to-business relationships, than focus your efforts on LinkedIn.

Understanding each platform’s audience and using them correctly can grow your following and minimize your future social media efforts. For a summary on some of the most popular platforms, see the image below.

2. Create Your Accounts
To start, it is most effective to focus on one or two platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter for example. When creating your accounts, ensure that your profiles enable your customers to contact you:

  • Profile Photo: Usually the company logo is the most effective image.
  • Website URL: No matter what platform you use, your website URL should always be accessible.
  • Location: On platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, including your location can help your customers find your business easily.
  • Contact Information: Including a phone number or e-mail on your account can help facilitate interactions with potential customers.

3. Time To Connect
Once your profile and all relevant information are up and ready, you can begin following and connecting your network. Be sure to connect with your employees as they are usually the most eager and ready to share company information. You should consider following other companies and contacts in your industry, news stations, government bodies and even your competitors.

4. Plan Before You Post
Each social media platform has varying applications and logistics. To explain further, Twitter is much more rapid and quickly consumed compared to Facebook which is more about posting quality over quantity. Every platform needs specific and active attention in order to be utilized successfully. Consider creating a schedule of the type of content and when to post it to help track and organize all the information you are sharing.

A rule of thumb known in social media is the 80/20 rule. It suggests that only 20% of the content you post should promote your company directly and could include posting useful statistics, testimonials, sales promotions and more. For the other 80% of content, you should consider posting interesting information, like relevant news articles, industry trends as well as responding and interacting with your network. The 80/20 rule is a helpful guideline because it encourages you to focus on your audience’s interests, in order to engage with them sufficiently. 

5. Combine Your Efforts
If used effectively, social media has the ability to enhance your online exposure as well as drive more traffic to your website. When appropriate, sharing content from your website (Company or Industry News, Services Offered, etc) can assist with creating awareness as well as drive traffic to your website. Another example of great content to share is the company blog, further promoting the knowledge and expertise within your company.

6. Respond, Retweet, Repeat
Company social media accounts are not all just posting. It is equally as important to be active and responsive with your social media community, which includes responding in a prompt and timely manner, especially in regards to negative comments. A timely response can assist with demonstrating the importance your company places on customer service. Monitor your feeds and be mindful of what your following is discussing as well as industry trends and news. This will help you target your content towards the topics your audience is interested in and help gather a strong following.

7. Keep The Connections
Make sure your network can follow you! Make links to your social media platforms readily available.

  • Place social media icons on your website, either at the top or bottom for your website, ensuring the icons are visible on majority of the pages.
  • Add social media share buttons under your blog posts as well as links in your email signatures
  • Consider adding a live feed from your most active social media platforms to the homepage of your website.

Although this is just scratching the surface, mastering the basics for maintaining and growing your social media network will help make it a more manageable and worth-while time investment for your company.

 

Rebecca Reynolds
Marketing & Events Assistant 

 

Sources:
www.socialmediaexaminer.com
www.businessnewsdaily.com
www.socialmediatoday.com

Photo:
www.marketingleap.net
 






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What’s The Key Ingredient for Innovation in Food and Agribusiness?

Posted on May 06 2016 | Author: Admin

A recent article in a business publication reported that the most overused business buzzword today is “innovation.” Clearly, everyone is talking about innovation, but how can it be implemented successfully?

The key to unlocking innovation in today’s marketplace is having the right talent in place - leaders with the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and personal characteristics.

Truly innovative companies look for people with the ability to capitalize on the company’s creative and financial resources all along the supply chain. They recognize the following realities when it comes to their human talent:

Innovation has to be system-wide - across the supply chain, and include finance and marketing.

Paul Miller, Managing Director and Food Sector Lead for Kincannon & Reed, said, “We are seeing the same challenge to innovate across all slices of the supply chain - in large and small companies, ingredient companies, packaging and equipment companies, as well as food processors and marketers.”

“For example, organic products have had impressive growth and companies see opportunities there. But one challenge in creating these products is determining what the supply line should look like.” Miller said, “For instance, pastures with cattle or fields with corn have to be pesticide-free for three years as a first step to organic certification. As a result, we see some innovative food companies trying new approaches such as buying farmland directly.”

“Meanwhile, the ingredient companies are telling us: ‘We need people who understand consumer insights and can help us create solutions for our customers to satisfy their wants and needs,’” Miller added. “On the Research and Development and Product Development side, many business-to-business clients no longer rely solely on their customers to tell them what consumers are thinking. They are taking the initiative to understand on their own what is driving consumers, so they can innovate earlier.”

Hand in glove with this trend, the large food companies say they are looking to their suppliers not just for solutions, but for ideas. They want suppliers who can say, for example, “We’ve found new ways to take sodium out of products and still maintain the taste.”

Miller said, “Innovation is not just taking consumer insights and creating a new product. It’s looking at how the product fits within the life stages of consumers, then packaging and selling in more sophisticated and ‘honest’ ways.“

As a result, we are doing more searches all along the supply chain for roles with job titles such as Chief Product and Innovation Officer,” Miller said.

Innovation requires leaders who can drive flexibility in a company’s operations and manufacturing.

Smart companies know they can no longer base their manufacturing strategy solely on long production runs to be efficient and hold down unit costs.

Miller explained, “In key operations and supply chain roles, clients talk about the need to be innovative in manufacturing and supply chain processes to allow for more efficient change-overs and short-runs. It’s the same in establishing and securing supply lines. Suppliers say they need to do this for their customers, particularly their clients with cutting edge products or packaging.”

“We see large food companies backward integrating to achieve agility,” said Miller. “They want executives who understand this approach and who have done it.”

Companies are achieving innovation through “co-creation” and “science community,” as well as through mergers and acquisitions.

Michael Whitney, Managing Partner and Region Leader for Kincannon & Reed in Europe, said, “Some large multi-nationals have made huge strides using co-creation. They have assembled a cadre of high-quality innovation managers from both R&D and Commercial to lead their strategic global projects. In parallel, they have increased the level of understanding of science and technology among non-technical people, particularly in Marketing and Sales.”

Whitney continued: “Innovation from Mergers & Acquisitions can be a key growth driver if the companies get it right, but sometimes they struggle to extract the maximum synergies from the integration. There are other challenges. For example, the new entity may give scientists too much free rein or, conversely, because the acquiring firm has a different attitude to risk, there is less freedom to innovate. Others report that although they accessed new value streams, their development and execution strengths have been at risk as they try to harness the new shared capabilities.”

Says Miller: “A key success factor in these mergers and acquisitions is how the larger company manages the smaller ones without stifling creativity or harming the smaller company’s brand.”

How does the demand for innovation affect your talent search?

Miller stated, “We explore innovation as a desired quality in every conversation we have with clients about a potential hire, regardless of the role’s function or level. Food and ingredient companies want people who can identify trends and consumer insights, and move quickly to address them. They want people who can envision using the full capabilities of an organization and understand what a flexible supplier looks like.”

Whitney concluded: “Because so much is riding on bringing in the right person, we engage in a very deliberate process to ensure we present a slate of candidates with the combination of skills, experience, and personal characteristics that will fit with the innovation goals and culture of each particular client.”


Article provided by: www.KRsearch.com

About Kincannon & Reed
Kincannon & Reed recruits leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy. Their focus is on the interrelated realms of food, agribusiness, and life science. Their clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, as well as investment funds, financial institutions, industry associations, universities, and non-profit and development organizations. This sector knowledge streamlines the search process and enables them to better asses a candidates organizational fit and more compellingly present to them a client’s opportunity. In addition, the principals at Kincannon & Reed are former senior executives from the sectors they serve. This distinctive difference allows them to understand at a personal level, not just at an intellectual level, the environment in which you operate. The result is a quality conversation around your needs and a smoother recruitment process. To learn more about Kincannon & Reed, visit: www.KRsearch.com






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Using Case Studies to Improve Internal Business Operation

Posted on April 27 2016 | Author: Britney Hess

Using Case Studies to Improve Internal Business Operation

Internal case studies can introduce a company’s values to employees. They can also be used as an effective tool to evaluate key lessons learned, including best practices and potential areas for improvement.


Why should you use case studies for training new employees?
In a small start-up, it can be easy to maintain communication flow between the founder or CEO and the small team that is driving the business forward. Growth is often a goal of smaller start-ups, however many challenges can be associated with it, including the onboarding process. Internal case studies can be used as a time-sensitive training method to convey the organization’s values, processes, and key historical events (e.g. important clients or pivot points). Additionally, they can stimulate discussions around improving internal processes.

What does an internal case study look like?
A typical business case study is a detailed account of what happened in a particular company, industry, or project over a set period of time. Having case studies from several departments in the organization helps to give employees a broad understanding of the company’s goals.

The reader is given details about the situation, often in a historical context. Objectives and challenges are outlined, followed by actions taken, conclusions, and lessons learned from the experience.

What are the benefits of using internal case studies?

  • Expedites the onboarding process - faster understanding of company culture and history.
  • Stimulates discussion - allows conversations to start regarding best practices.
  • Prevents repeat mistakes – learning from the past.

Getting started – how should you write a case study for training purposes?

  • The goal is to capture an interesting situation or challenge, and then bring it to life with words and information. Creating a story line makes the information engaging.
  • Make sure readers can skim the page for the relevant information. Certain formats can help facilitate this, such as headings or subheadings.
  • Highlight certain sections like “lessons learned” or include a short summary or timeline. Visuals are helpful.
  • Find a case study template and stick to it.

Britney Hess
Junior Analyst

 

Resources

University of Notre Dame, how to write a business case study: http://www3.nd.edu/~sbyrnes1/pdf/Writing_Resources/Writing_Case_Study.pdf

Using case studies for knowledge transfer:
https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/L-and-D-Blog/2012/07/Using-Case-Studies-in-Learning-and-Development-Projects-a-Lessons-Learned-Approach.aspx?_ga=1.88559835.1336840469.1460658580

Photo by:
Best Finance. (2015). How to Choose a Currency for Your Offshore Bank Account. Retrived from: bestfinancenetwork.com/tag/banking-services






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Consumer Business Economic Update

Posted on April 25 2016 | Author: Admin

Key indicators combine with analyst sentiments, search engine and social media trends to provide a revealing snapshot of Canada’s consumer business sector.

The thirteenth edition of Deloitte’s Consumer Business economic update for Canada provides a snapshot of key business indicators across the retail, consumer packaged goods (CPG) and travel, hospitality and leisure (THL) sectors.

The newsletter also aggregates search-related data for online travel, products and shopping with social media trends and analyst sentiment.

Economic indicators
The Canadian economy experienced a 0.8% real GDP growth rate in Q4 2015.

Retail trends
Same store sales year-over-year growth increased by 11 bps from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015.

Travel, hospitality and leisure trends
The majority of key indicators in travel and leisure continue to be positive for this quarter, with hospitality as an exception.

Consumer packaged goods
CPG sales experienced a lower year-over-year growth in most categories in Q4 2015 compared to the growth experienced in Q3 2015.

Social media
Kijiji, a free Canadian local classifieds site has continued to retain its position (as in the previous three quarters) as the top online search in the Shopping category by Canadians in Q4 2015. The second and third positions on the list in Q4 2015 were “walmart”, the American multinational retail corporation that operates a chain of discount department stores and “netflix”, the American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media.


View the full report.
For more information, please contact the Deloitte team.






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The Maritimes Are Keen on Agri-Tech

Posted on April 14 2016 | Author: Jennifer Kalanda


Earlier this year, the Bioenterprise Maritimes office locations delivered the Accelerating Agri Innovation event series, which was comprised of two events and attracted nearly 200 people between them.  The event series included the Accelerating Agri-Technology Innovation Summit in Truro, Nova Scotia from February 10-11, 2016, and the Accelerating Agri-Entrepreneurs & Innovation event in Charlottetown, PEI from March 21-22, 2016.

These events brought together agri-businesses, industry stakeholders, academia and government to explore and promote the entrepreneurial ecosystem in agri-technology. The focus was to build on the region’s innovative agriculture, agri-food and bio-based products economy. 

Attendees had the opportunity to network, make valuable connections and learn about the resources that can support the path of innovation and the market.  The event series also created a platform for the attendees to contribute to the conversation on the future of the agri-technology and collaborate with leading industry experts in Atlantic Canada.

The event series included keynote and panel presentations that provided agri-businesses, and other attendees with commercialization guidance as it pertains to this agri-technology sector.  These presentations ranged from understanding the services available to support the journey to market; how to build a successful business model that will attract investors and strategic partners; how to react in the market; and understanding what funding is available and how to prepare in order to access it.

Presentations were also made by agri-businesses, showcasing their innovations, and sharing their industry insights, the highs and lows from their path to market and what the future of agri-technology looks like for them.

The Accelerating Agri Innovation event series attracted nearly 200 attendees between the two events, with approximately an even divide between agri-business; industry stakeholders and service providers (both public and private); government and academia. 

The event series had support and panelist speakers from the following key organizations involved in the agri-technology ecosystem:
 

                     BioNB
Innovacorp
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Perennia
PEI Business Federation Ltd.
PEI ADAPT Council
BIO|FOOD|TECH
PEI Business Women’s Association
Dalhousie University
Springboard Atlantic
PEI Association of Newcomers
National Research Council Canada
                  Perennia BioVentures
Farm Credit Canada
Bioenterprise Capital Ventures
Deloitte LLP
Farm Centre
Natural Products Canada Inc
Canada’s Smartest Kitchen
Community Business Development Corporation
Bioenterprise Corporation
PEI Rural Action Centre
Innovation PEI 
       

Throughout the Accelerating Agri Innovation event series, many trends within the agri-technology and Maritimes ecosystem were identified.

  • The pathways to market for agri-technology innovations and businesses are often very unique compared to other technologies.
     
  • The agri-businesses who are based in the Maritime regions have demonstrated strong market potential to succeed within their region and beyond.
     
  • The size and scale of a business does not measure market success.
     
  • There are many valuable resources in the Maritimes dedicated to supporting innovation and technology development.  These resources and organizations are also eager to collaborate towards enhancing the commercialization process.
     
  • Some of the top priorities of organizations in the ecosystem include being able to mitigate risk and foster success for the agri-technology ecosystem.
     
  • The Maritime Provinces are home to a significant amount of funding sources and opportunities that companies of any stage or sector could potentially access. 

It is evident that the east coast is driven to see the agri-technology sector prosper and the Bioenterprise Maritimes office locations in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will continue to lead and support the commercialization of agri-businesses.


Jennifer Kalanda
Marketing Manager

 






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What is HACCP? A Comprehensive Look at What HACCP Means and What it Takes

Posted on April 11 2016 | Author: Admin

We know HACCP has to do with food safety. But what is HACCP (pronounced ‘ha-ssup’) really? What does it mean and what does an organization need to do to have HACCP certification? HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). This should not be confused with HARPC, which will be discussed in a separate article on our website.

HACCP is definitely not new to the food industry. It was initially developed in 1959 by the Pillsbury Company, The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The original intent of HACCP was to guarantee the safety of food on space missions, to deal with concerns about crumbs and liquid droplets in zero gravity and ultimately to deal with concerns related to microbiological safety.

In simplest terms the goal of HACCP is to apply a common sense application of technical and scientific knowledge to a specific food production. Part of the HACCP process is to systematically prioritize and control hazards as well as to identify where and how these hazards might occur either in your ingredients, your finished product, your process or your distribution. When HACCP principles are in place, there are defined actions implemented to prevent, eliminate and reduce potential hazards. That’s not all. The next important part of HACCP is monitoring and verifying the applications and effectiveness of these actions to make sure the risks of hazards are decreased. The end result is the production of a food product that is much safer to consume.

Step 1: Put together your HACCP team
To prepare for an effective food safety HACCP program, the first step in the process is to choose your HACCP team. Ideally your HACCP team should represent all parts of your operation. Quality assurance and quality control personnel are an essential part of every HACCP team, but production, maintenance, purchasing and management employees should not be overlooked and have much to contribute to the success of implementing a HACCP program.

Step 2: Prepare a flow chart
After choosing your HACCP team, the next preparation step for the HACCP implementation process involves describing your products and identifying their intended use. This is not a difficult step and is simply acknowledging and documenting what you already know about your product and its destination after leaving your production facility. Creating a diagram of the flow of product from receiving to shipping is the next preparation step and is an excellent exercise in understanding how materials, finished product and people flow through your plant.

Step 3: Identify your hazards
The next step is to conduct a hazard analysis of your process and raw materials. Conducting hazard analyses of your process involves asking the question what are the possible biological, chemical and physical hazards that can occur in my process?

A biological hazard is one that can cause illness. It can involve contamination by bacteria, virus, parasite or any organism that can produce a toxin.

A typical chemical hazard is one that can cause injury or poisoning and includes even naturally occurring substances such as allergens. Other chemical hazards can even include intended ingredients but used in a manner as to exceed the intended amount. Antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides are examples. Chemical hazards also include ingredients that are accidentally added – such as cleaning chemicals, paint or pest control chemicals.

A typical physical hazard is any foreign object accidentally added that can cause injury. Examples of this are glass, metal grindings, screws, bolts, stones, pebbles and hard plastics.

Step 4: Determine the CCPs and limits
The next important principle in the development of your HACCP program is determining the critical control points (CCPs) and establishing critical limits. A CCP is any step (or activity) which adds an element of control to the production environment and can be applied to your process. The CCP is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level. An example of a biological CCP to reduce a possible biological hazard involves a heating step in your process for a specific time and temperature. An example of a physical CCP to reduce a possible physical hazard involves having your product go through a metal detector. Once the CCPs are established the limits for each point need to be established. For example, for the elimination of a potential biological hazard we would cook a food product at a designated minimum temperature for a designated minimum amount of time.

Step 5: Don’t forget the prerequisite program!
For a complete HACCP program to be in place a prerequisite program is also required. A prerequisite program reduces the likelihood of certain hazards from occurring. Often prerequisite programs are facility wide and if not followed, bring significant food safety concerns. Many recalls are not related to CCPs but rather to failures in prerequisite programs. The WHO definition of Prerequisite Programs is practices needed prior to and during implementation of HACCP which are essential for food safety. They can be divided into the following groups: premises, personnel, transportation, sanitation, equipment, and recalls. Procedures need to be written and implemented and need to be made available to everyone who has a role in monitoring your process, implementing corrective actions, and verifying that the steps implemented are effective.   Finally, procedures need to be in place for record keeping and documentation.

In essence HACCP is a system what when properly designed, implemented and maintained, results in the production of safer food, improved workplace safety, increased market access, protection against liability and sets the company on a pursuit for continuous improvement.

Article provided by: dicentra.com

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com






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Market Research and Your Company

Posted on March 23 2016 | Author: Alex Lazier

The advent of advertising was here. The date is November 2nd, 1920 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the first radio advertising licence had just been purchased. While undeniably monumental, early advertising lacked the direction and precision which market research would eventually facilitate over the decades to come. Early marketing managers would simply create and advertise with the optimism that readers would be influenced through the information provided. However, it was not until Harvard psychologist Daniel Starch pioneered the first market research firm in the mid-1920s that quantifiable data was utilized in supporting serious company strategies.

Nearing a century later, market research has evolved into a pillar of corporate strategy. With increasingly precise technologies and algorithms with abilities to collect information on the most specific of demographics; effective businesses have rooted themselves in high-level market research.   

Though broad in terminology, market research is defined as “The action or activity of gathering information about consumers' needs and preferences.” The current mediums of which this information is identified and interpreted include:

Market information

  • Being cognisant of applicable commodity prices on the market
  • Recognition of supply and demand situations
  • Understanding social, technical, and legal aspects of market

Market segmentation

  • The division of the market or population into subgroups with similar motivations
  • Division allows for deeper analysis of geographic differences, personality differences, gender differences, demographic differences, technographic differences, use of product differences, and psychographic differences

Market trends

  • Identification of patterns in the market
  • Ability to forecast events which have bearing on profit, production, and market value

SWOT analysis

  • Written analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) to a business

Marketing Effectiveness

The measure of marketing ROI through the means of:

  • Customer analysis
  • Choice modelling
  • Competitor analysis
  • Risk analysis
  • Product research
  • Advertising the research
  • Marketing mix modeling
  • Simulated Test Marketing

How can your company benefit from Market Research?

As mentioned by the Canadian Government, the goal of conducting market research is to equip businesses with the information needed to make informed strategic decisions on innovation, growth, and the 4 P's:

  • Product — Improve product or service based on findings reflecting customer wants and needs. Focus on features such as function, appearance and customer service.
  • Price — Set a price based on popular profit margins, competitors' prices, financing options or the price a customer is willing to pay.
  • Placement — Decide where to set up and how to distribute a product. Compare the characteristics of different locations and the value of points of sale (retail, wholesale, online).
  • Promotion — Figure out how to best reach particular market segments (teens, families, students, professionals, etc.) in areas of advertising, publicity, social media, and branding.

In summation, by conducting research on a regular basis, businesses keep up with the market dynamics by pre-emptively adjusting to new regulations and technological breakthroughs. While intuition through experience can prove helpful at times, it is research and facts that paint the more accurate picture of your company’s market.


Sources
Diaz Ruiz, C. A. (2013). Assembling Market Representations. Marketing Theory 13 (3): 245–261.
Drucker, P. F. (1974).
 Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices. Australia: Harper & Row. p. 864.
Government of Canada. (2015). Market research and statistics. Canada Business. Retrieved: March 16, 2016
Pauline M., Mark T., Barbara S., Michael S. (2009) The SAGE Handbook of Marketing Theory. SAGE Publications. p. 61-82.

Photo Sourced
Best Finance. (2015). How to Choose a Currency for Your Offshore Bank Account. Retrived from: bestfinancenetwork.com/tag/banking-services

 

Alexander Lazier
Market Intelligence Specialist
Bioenterprise Corporation






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Thinking of expanding to new markets? Consider this first!

Posted on March 04 2016 | Author: Admin

Thinking of expanding to new markets? Here’s what to consider before taking the leap

Expanding into a foreign market can offer many benefits for private business, including increased sales, higher profits, competitive advantage and a reduced dependency on domestic markets, to name a few. However, it can also present new challenges and risks that require careful consideration. Here are some ideas to help you navigate through the process:

Set the right strategy and priorities
Planning for expansion is a strategic exercise that involves identifying the market that meets your private company’s needs from among the many attractive options. Your strategy should consider the markets, your products or services and your overall goals for international trade. This may seem daunting, but without a full analysis of each potential market you risk choosing a market that may not be the best one for your business.

Develop the skills to evaluate, plan and execute entry into a new market
Companies expanding overseas, especially for the first time, need to acquire some new skills and expertise. It’s important to understand the effort of conducting business in a given foreign market and investigate the regulatory environment, the culture and the ability to operate seamlessly. Also, determine whether there’s a clear and growing demand for the type of products or services you offer, a base of potential clients who have the interest and money to buy and what the competitive landscape looks like.

Understand cultural, product and regulatory differences
Local culture and customs can have a significant impact on expansion. It can affect marketing your product, human resources and your methods of conducting business. It’s a good idea to get advice from someone with expertise in the market’s cultural norms and nuances. Being respectful of cultural differences can help you avoid making costly faux pas.

Get the right advice
Even where good data and information are widely available, look for people on the ground to advise you. Nothing beats real life experience when it comes to export know-how. Try to network with people who have lived in, conducted business in or have some type of connection to your target market. The information they can provide is invaluable.

Build a strong management team
Building a team of people you trust, and who share your ideas about running your private business, is an essential step in expansion. Your management on the ground needs good local knowledge and experience that can drive expansion and ensure linkages with your home market. Develop a strategy for recruitment and keep in mind that management skills needed to get a new operation off the ground may not be the same ones needed once your business is well established and growing.

Create a governance structure
Attempting to micro-manage a local operation from afar is unlikely to be successful, but you will need to retain oversight. Impose a clear decision-making process that empowers local managers to run day-to-day operations effectively while working toward the business’s strategic vision.

Be clear about your objectives and monitor progress
State your goals at the outset, along with measurable performance indicators that can be tracked by both local managers and your head office. Staying on top of progress to plan will help minimize risks and enhance your success in the market.

Your rationale for a move into a new market may be one of opportunity — overseas markets can offer exciting new prospects, high growth potential or the chance to better serve existing clients. Alternatively, it may be one of risk. You owe it to your business to do the research necessary to decide if it’s the right strategy to pursue.

By Bill Hamilton and Brock McMillan at www.financialpost.com

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Co-operative Education Programs: How Students and Employers Benefit

Posted on February 10 2016 | Author: Kelly Laidlaw

Co-operative (co-op) education allows students to alternate periods of academic study with periods of work experience from across several fields in both the private and public sectors. Over half of Canadian undergraduate university students participate in co-op education and internships, spanning numerous majors, and those numbers are on the rise.

Co-op education is an excellent opportunity to provide “hands on” industry experience to students before they enter the workforce on a full-time basis. Additional benefits of co-op education to students include:
 

  • Co-op students are able to test theoretical concepts that they learned in the classroom in a real-life work place setting. This provides students with a more well-rounded and realistic view of industry than academics alone can provide.
  • Co-op placements help students evaluate the suitability of their career choice before they commit to a full-time position.
  • Co-op students are able to build a network of industry contacts, learn to communicate professionally, and develop relationships with mentors.
  • Career-related experience will help to build students’ résumés, providing them with a clear competitive advantage when applying for jobs.
  • Co-op students are provided with the opportunity to learn new skills and build relationships with employers that could lead to a position post graduation.
  • Co-op education provides students with financial resources to help pay for their education, while earning credits toward their degree.
  • Co-op students are able to test skills learned in their studies, and to expand their knowledge through related work experience.

The benefits of co-op education also extends to employers, including, but not limited to:

  • Employers benefit from staying on top of new knowledge, trends and perspectives coming out of the universities.
  • Co-op students provide an infusion of bright, passionate, and enthusiastic people to the workplace. Students can bring innovative thinking to workplaces, improving business operations.
  • Co-op programs provide employers with the opportunity to meet short term staffing needs due to sick or parental leaves, vacation schedules, or transfers.
  • Existing employees get the opportunity to develop their management skills and gain the satisfaction of mentoring co-op students.
  • Co-op students can strengthen relations between academic institutions and industry.
  • Employers have year-round access to co-op employment opportunities, which can significantly reduce labour costs.
  • Co-op placements allow employers to vet and gain access to well-qualified employees upon graduation.

There are options available to help employers add a co-op student to their team. One example is the Co-operative Education Tax Credit, which is a refundable tax credit. It is available to employers who hire students enrolled in a co-operative education program at an Ontario university or college. This allows corporations to claim 25 per cent of eligible expenditures (30 per cent for small businesses), with a maximum credit of $3,000 for each work placement. For more information visit: http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/cetc/.

Additional funding opportunities for Canadian co-op education programs are listed here:
https://uwaterloo.ca/hire/recruit-waterloo/financial-support#Topfundingopportunities

Bioenterprise has seen the value in participating in co-operative education programs for several years now.  In fact, we are a proud recipient of the University of Guelph’s “Co-op Employer of the Year” award. We hope to continue to support the learning goals of students who are looking for opportunities to gain experience in the agri-tech industry. In the long term, we see the importance of contributing to the increasingly productive and innovative future workforce that Canada needs to compete globally, as driven by the next generation. 

Sources:

Kelly Laidlaw
Program Manager, Corporate Relations

 






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