Delaware companies find export opportunities on trade mission to Mexico
Sanjay Kapuria wasn’t sure what to expect when he agreed to join a Delaware trade mission to Mexico earlier this fall. He knew that Mexico held opportunities for Jaykal LED Solutions, his lighting business, but wondered whether the trip would be worth the travel costs.
As it turned out, the answer was a resounding YES: “It was totally worth it,” Kapuria said. “Totally.”
Kapuria explained that he got everything he hoped for and more out of the trip:
- A pre-mission briefing session
- Translation of marketing materials
- Time spent with Delaware’s in-country trade rep
- One-on-one meetings with hand-picked decision makers
“The support and experience that the team provided was a huge help,” he noted, “and the way this was executed was exemplary to say the least.”
Kapuria was one of five Delaware business owners who traveled to Mexico in early October to explore export opportunities there. Over the course of the 5-day trip, the participants attended a total of 35 one-on-one meetings with leadership of potential partners and distributors in three major cities. Experienced translators joined them in the meetings, while capable, friendly drivers took them from appointment to appointment through the congested streets of Mexico safely and on time.
Before leaving for Mexico, the attendees met with Global Delaware team members for a pre-trip briefing, where they discussed logistics, cultural considerations, and best practices for optimizing their time on the mission. The State also arranged to have their marketing materials translated to Spanish.
In-country trade rep Miguel de Regil set up specific meetings for each attendee to match them with partners and help them achieve their specific goals on the mission. Miguel was also on-hand throughout the trip to provide support and information.
“We are very lucky to have Miguel on our side,” notes Beth Pomper, Delaware’s export advisor. “He is knowledgeable, experienced, and has an extensive network. Every single meeting he organized was on point, which meant our participants were able to thoroughly leverage their time in Mexico.”
“From my first introduction and still to this day, I have been very impressed by the individuals involved in executing the trade mission,” says Jeremy Dayton, executive VP at Polymer Technologies. “They not only planned the mission very well, but continue to be engaged and supportive on a day-to-day basis.”
Each participant paid $500 to attend the trip, as well as travel and lodging costs. The $500 covered pre-briefing sessions, translation, logistics organization and market research, as well as the interpreters and drivers. “The services provided by the State of Delaware are valued at $6,500 per company, but companies are only charged $500, because the State is willing to invest in companies’ export success,” explains Beth Pomper. “On top of that, a portion of the participants’ travel expenses were eligible for reimbursement from grants available for export activity, bringing the total cost way down.”
All five participants reported they achieved solid leads and follow-up, and are already projecting that the trip will generate new business and new relationships.
“It was a wonderful, eye-opening experience for us,” Kapuria says. “If a company is looking to get into a market where a mission is headed, they should definitely give it a try. Instead of knocking on doors, the trade mission offers dedicated time for you to pitch your business to qualified leads.”
“Ultimately, success falls to the companies participating, their value propositions and market needs,” Jeremy Dayton adds. “But without the well-planned and hands-on approach of the mission’s lead personnel, too many other variables can affect outcomes.”
Why attend a trade mission?
A trade mission can be a strategic and cost-effective way for a company to explore export opportunities in a particular company. Here are some of the potential benefits:
- Learn about the culture, economic environment, and business practices of the country.
- Explore market opportunities for your product or service in the country—collect market information and research.
- Meet with industry experts, distributors, and potential buyers.
- Come back with new ideas for products, services, and collaborations.
- Establish relationships and solid follow-up.
- Sign partnerships and cooperative agreements for further business development.
- Close deals by obtaining sales and contracts!
- Meet other local business people with similar goals.