Export Development Canada’s recent webinar, Cultural Diversity: Understanding International Business Etiquette, delivered a clear message: If you want to expand your business abroad, developing your cultural intelligence is paramount. Following are links to the many helpful resources identified throughout the program to help you do just that.
Courses, comms and country insights
Part of Global Affairs Canada, the Centre for Intercultural Learning offers courses and guides to help Canadian business professionals develop the necessary intercultural competencies to ensure international success. They include:
- Courses and workshops: Covers a range of topics designed for those who interact with international partners and customers.
- Publications: Includes research and discussion papers, as well as access to complimentary publications such as A Profile of the Interculturally Effective Person.
- Intercultural adaptation assessment tool: Provides a situational test to measure your ability to judge intercultural situations.
- Country insights: Cultural profiles of more than 100 countries, including business etiquette, verbal and non-verbal communication styles and emotional cues.
The World Trade Centre-Toronto is part of the World Trade Centers Association, which has more than 320 locations in 90 countries worldwide. It runs a series of trade-enabling programs to help Canadian businesses succeed globally. Cultural training is part of all three levels of programming.
- International Trade 101 Education Program: This 90-minute seminar is aimed at businesses new to exporting. Provides an introduction to the opportunities associated with international trade, including resource connections to support trade growth.
- Trade Accelerator Program (TAP): Dynamic, hands-on, six-week program geared towards small- to medium-sized enterprises, providing essential knowledge, resources and coaching to strategically scale-up, develop and execute an export plan.
- Market Activation Program (MAP): Experiential program offering outbound trade missions for Toronto businesses seeking international opportunities.
In addition to providing risk-management, financing and working capital solutions, EDC offers free access to trade and economic insights for global markets. Contact a trade advisor at 1-888-220-0047 or by emailing your inquiry. Be sure to tap into the following resources:
- Country Risk Quarterly: An interactive guide with timely economic and political information about more than 100 international markets.
- Global Export Forecast: A bi-annual forecast identifying major forces affecting the world economy and their implications for Canadian exporters.
- Global Economic Outlook: Provides insight on the political, environmental and economic shifts in the world and the new risks and opportunities they pose for exporters.
- TradeInsights: Online newsletter featuring blogs, articles and commentaries on a range of trade-related issues and events.
Feet on the ground
Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has more than 1,000 trade professionals operating in 160-plus markets globally. Start by contacting a trade commissioner in the Canadian regional office closest to you to learn how to get export-ready. Keep in mind, their CanExport Program provides financial support to small- and medium-sized Canadian businesses looking to do business in new international markets. Find out if you’re ready to enter markets abroad and which ones are best for you:
To gift or not to gift
Although it’s customary in many markets and cultures to exchange gifts, it’s critical to understand the difference between cultural expectation and legal requirements. What might be acceptable in one market can be illegal in another. Get up to speed on legal practices and what you can do to develop your own compliance program, including a policy on gift-giving.
- Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA): It regulates how Canadian companies and their international agents must conduct business with foreign government officials.
- Keeping Corruption Out: This EDC guide for Canadian exporters provides warning signs of corruption, as well as proactive steps you can take to minimize your risks.
- Canadian Centre of Excellence for Anti-Corruption (CCEAC): Highlights best practices to help prevent, detect and deter corruption-related issues. Be sure to check out their Toolkit for developing and implementing your own compliance program.
- Transparency International: This independent organization has more than 100 national chapters worldwide that work with partners in government, business and private sector to put effective measures in place to tackle corruption. Search their online Corruption Perceptions Index to see how different markets fare around the world. They also have an Anti-Corruption Compliance Checklist to self-assess your organization and have a framework to work from as you move forward in developing your own compliance program.
- World Bank: Provides access to their annual Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) rating system.