Local Entrepreneurs Explore New Opportunities East

July 4, 2019
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Two Halifax-based entrepreneurs are headed to China later this month with the hopes of growing their businesses by entering the Chinese market. Trevor Silver, CEO of tREv Clothing, and Tracy Brown, COO of ValuedOption Inc. will spend 15 days building new relationships with import and export partners and participating in lectures led by world-leaders in the technology industry.

Advancing Nova Scotia Business with China

Earlier this year, Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre (SMUEC) put out a call for local entrepreneurs looking to build business connections within China and to explore new import and export opportunities.

“In an ever-increasing ‘global marketplace’, China is front and centre as a developed country with huge market potential and cutting-edge technologies; as Nova Scotia-based business’ seek exporting potential and expansion opportunities, China has become a destination of choice for founders,” says Jason Turner, Senior Project Manager, the Spark Zone.

Over the years, Nova Scotia has emphasized the importance of building new relationships with China in order to advance businesses within the province.  Nova Scotia’s business dealings with China led to $719 million in exports in 2018, up from $114 million in 2011. This shows the immense opportunities available to businesses who import and export with China. It is important that Nova Scotia businesses continue to be innovative and gain access to new resources, helping them build connections with businesses in China in order and enter the Chinese market.

Opportunity East

Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre, in partnership with the Saint Mary’s University Confucius Institute, established “Opportunity East”, a program which provides leading companies insight into doing business in China and with China-based entities. Accepted companies will be travel together to China where they will spend 15 days touring infrastructure, building relationships with industry leaders, and learning the steps to effectively import/export with China.

With the Confucius Institute primarily focused on organizing the entrepreneurship activities to take place in China, the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre focuses on recruiting Nova Scotia businesses and provides $1,000 in sponsorship to individuals accepted into the program. The first intake saw nearly twenty applications collected; last week, twelve individuals participated in a one-day training session offered to anyone interested in learning about Chinese business etiquette and import/export practices. The training session was facilitated by executive members of Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), the Confucius Institute, and Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre; participants took away valuable insights into doing business with China.

Local Entrepreneurs Travel to China

Two Halifax-based entrepreneurs, Trevor Silver, CEO of tREv Clothing, and Tracy Brown, COO of ValuedOption Inc. will be traveling to China on July 6, where they will spend 15 days visiting some of China’s leading technology companies including SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd; Baidu; and Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. During their time in China, the two will attend lectures on topics such as Green Entrepreneurship in China and the Sharing Economy, as well as present their business plans to a group of Chinese investors.

Trevor Silver founded tREv Clothing back in 2017, an apparel and accessories brand that stands for trust, respect, educate, and value. The company is currently selling products across North America, building awareness through celebrity endorsements on social media and attending New York Fashion Week events. tREv Clothing products are sold at pop-up events, trade shows, online, and locally. The company spent the month of December 2018 conducting sales and market research at the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre’s very own airport kiosk, The Runway, located at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Trevor has traveled to Los Angeles to pursue research and development for the company, and for the last two years, he has worked towards building stronger ties within China to help grow the business.

“I am able to source and find samples via the internet, however, to have a first-hand experience in [China] and connect with suppliers directly and learn tips, best practices, and advice from professionals will allow me to better navigate in the future,” says Silver.

Tracy Brown, MBA’06 joined ValuedOptions Inc. (VO) in 2018 as the Chief Operations Officer. The company, which provides data analytics consulting services, was founded in 2016. Tracy joined the team with the goal of transforming the company from a service-based to a product-based company. ValuedOptions Inc. is currently developing a unique sensor and software technology that will collect and transmit three-dimensional motion data, also known as inertial measurements, and provide feedback in real-time over a remote or wide area. The technology provides instant feedback, without reliance on wires, cellular, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth services. The analytics system is built with proprietary software architecture, allowing easy customization for every user.

In the last 6 months, VOI has received funding totaling $80,000 from the National Research Council of Canada to support product development. The company is currently seeking new opportunities to enter the Chinese market.

“Building greater awareness and connection with new cultures will escalate our vision of business development to a global scale and inspire VOI to expand its outlook and understanding of international business opportunities,” said Tracy. “My motivation to participate in this program is to be immersed in the Chinese language, business practices, and culture. This is critical for success in securing long-term commercial relationships with Chinese clients and investors,” says Brown.

Thank you to Nova Scotia Business Inc. for supporting Opportunity East and providing training to participants of the program. We wish Trevor Silver and Tracy Brown safe travel to China and look forward to following up with both entrepreneurs to what new opportunities will come from the program.

For more information about Opportunity East or other business accelerator programs run through the Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre, email [email protected]

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