KNOWLEDGE...CONNECTIONS...MARKET VISITS...SUCCESS! PROMOTING TRADE IN SERVICES BETWEEN COSTA RICA AND CANADA
GATEWAY TO TRADE COSTA RICA
GATEWAY to Trade costa rica
The GATEWAY to Trade Costa Rica programme was developed in the context of the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement, which is presently being renegotiated to include a trade in services component. The objective of the programme is to support enhanced economic development through improved business competitiveness and increased trade.
Priority sectors - those in which Costa Rica shares a particular competitive advantage to build upon, were the focus of the programme. The ICT sector was identified as the key sector of focus. The dental and medical tourism, as well as the educational tourism sectors were also identified as priority sectors and provided with support.
A multi-faceted, strategic approach was adopted in order to achieve the programme's objectives, focused on capacity building and export promotion initiatives - where the platform of capacity building served as the base for building export-readiness and subsequently engaging, with greater success, in the export promotion activities.
CAPACITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES
Export Plan Development
Company Profile Development
Twenty-five leading-edge Costa Rican ICT companies were selected to participate in the programme, following an indepth application process. Women-owned ICT businesses were strongly encouraged to apply to support a gender-balance in the programme.
To kick off the programme, the selected ICT companies participated in a 3-day export-readiness training programme tailored not only to service providers, but equally to the market (Canada) and the sector (ICT). The GATEWAY to Trade training programme, the only export-readiness training programme developed for service providers, adopts a 4-stage, logical approach, taking participants through 12 modules of export preparation. The training is practical and hands-on, incorporates exercises and supports participants in the development of their export plans.
Following the training, coaches specializing in trade and the ICT sector(learn about the GATEWAY team here), guided the ICT companies through the development of their export plans. Additionally, website reviews were undertaken, company profiles developed (view company profiles here) and pitches refined with the assistance of the GATEWAY team, ensuring that the companies were well prepared before engaging the Canadian market.
The first group of eight export-ready Costa Rican ICT companies participated in a trade mission to the Toronto-Waterloo region in late April, 2017 to meet with prospective partners and clients. The companies also had the opportunity to meet with key ICT-related organizations in the Toronto-Waterloo area and to be exposed to new ideas and best practices. Following the trade mission, select Canadian companies were invited to visit Costa Rica to further develop existing relationships, as well as establish new ones, with the Costa Rican ICT companies that did not participate in the trade mission to Canada.
Business to Business Meetings
In/Out Bound Trade Missions
DENTAL/MEDICAL/EDUCATIONAL TOURISM COMPANIES
While the participating companies from the dental, medical and educational tourism sector did not take part in the trade missions, they did however participate in a tailored GATEWAY to Trade training session. Additionally, with the support of PROCOMER's GATEWAY to Trade coaches, these companies were guided through the export plan development process.
A second training sessions to place in San Carlos, Costa Rica in an effort to emphasize poverty reduction in disadvantaged regions.
Market/sector-specific profiles were also developed to support companies from the priority sectors in their market research efforts with respect to Canada and to provide a platform to further knowledge and opportunities (view sector profiles here).
An additional critical component to the programme is the knowledge transfer/sustainability element. Twelve PROCOMER staff members were put through a rigorous train-the-trainer certification programme to obtain the 'GATEWAY to Trade Trainer' designation. This 5-step certification programme included: training participation, training delivery, undertaking an online exam, coaching companies in the development of export plans and a programme self-assessment.
In addition to the documentation process, the GATEWAY to Trade programme processes have been well-developed and documented to ensure that any programme aspect can be duplicated within PROCOMER.
This initiative was made possible through support provided by the Governments of Canada and Costa Rica.
GATEWAY to Trade in a Global Links Network Inc. initative