By ANDREW WAREING
The June 8 to 11 trade mission by Team Northern Ontario is more than just a meet-and-greet in Detroit for Northern Ontario businesses.
The key, says North Bay Chamber of Commerce export development officer Jay Aspin, is in the education of the businesses going to Detroit to better prepare them to take advantage of the marketing opportunities they encounter while there.
The mission is being headed by FedNor and Rural Development secretary of state MP Andy Mitchell.
He, along with chamber of commerce representatives and 20 companies from across Northern Ontario, will be travelling to Detroit in an effort to gain more export opportunities.
To be part of the trade mission, the companies involved had to meet several criteria, including being incorporated, in business for a minimum of two years and a gross annual sales of $250,000-plus although preference will be given to companies with $500,000-plus and in exporting.
Aspin says the array of businesses represents a multi-sectoral crosscut of business in Northern Ontario.
“What we have are businesses that have reached the height of their expansion potential in a domestic market and are interested in expanding their horizons in growth and employment potential.
“These companies are going to increase their business,” he says. “They are going to be exposed to new markets and potential new business partners. This is an opportunity to increase their business, employ more people and grow. Of course, with the multiplier effect, this will mean growth in other businesses that service them as well.”
Detroit was chosen because of the size of the market - Michigan is Canada’s largest state trading partner - its population and its proximity to Northern Ontario.