International experience is becoming critical to compete in Canada’s expanding markets
You don’t have to go abroad to get international experience. But you do have to engage with the rapidly globalizing forces in Canada’s landscape in order to afford yourself the leadership opportunities that will determine your future role in Canada.
Canada is on the brink of tremendous change. We are working with a Prime Minister dedicated to establishing Canada as a key player in the international landscape. Canada’s renewed commitment to global partnerships, for economic and social means requires individuals who are adaptable to globalization and have the critical skills necessary to understand the complexities of internationalization.
Markets in Canada are changing rapidly with growing opportunities trickling in from quickly-developing regions such as Asia, Brazil and Russia.
Tapping into these markets directly or indirectly can be the key to helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) counter the volatile exchange rate and rising competition from these same regions.
[Business Development Bank of Canada]
The internationalization of Canadian business has accelerated due to low trade barriers, lower transportation and communication costs, and broader economic diversity. As a result, significant opportunities exist for Canadian SMEs. To remain competitive, these enterprises need a strategy around global value chains. A better knowledge of the competitive landscape helps firms differentiate their products and address needs of niche markets.
Despite the increasingly important role of international trade as a driver of economic development, only a small proportion of Canada’s SMEs are currently internationally active.
While the bulk of Canada’s exports is clearly concentrated in the hands of a few larger firms, it remains key to understand how Canadian SMEs can engage in global value chains in order to compete in their respective markets.
[Business Development Bank of Canada]
We found that enterprises that have internationalized their activities the most are those that innovate the most.
Innovation allows them to have new products or better products than their foreign competitors.
[Government of Canada]
This research points to the relevancy and growth of internationalization in Canadian enterprises, and why we – as youth in Canada – should invest in the international experience we are getting in order to provide the needed resources for Canadian enterprises.
This information was compiled by various public and private sector resources openly available on the internet. Then why do more than read this? Canada is not lacking access to data on the internationalization of Canadian business. Canada is not lacking in youth who understand how to effectively analyze a market and determine the direction that markets are moving.
Canada, and arguably the world, is lacking in leadership.
Youth have the opportunity to take a leadership role, contributing international skills, experience and languages to maintain a global competitive advantage for Canadian enterprises.
Access to international forums – such as AIESEC – that encourage leadership skill-sets, prepare youth to tackle some of the main obstacles encountered by Canadian enterprises: the high costs of internationalization, a lack of information about overseas opportunities, and the laws and regulations governing foreign markets. Effective engagement with the factors of internationalization in a leadership role allows youth to build relationships with foreign stakeholders and business partners, adding diverse perspectives, experiences and skill-sets.
Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, an AIESEC alumni himself, recently published a think-piece examining the “leadership crisis” of the world, resulting from narrow, short-term self-interests of those in positions of power. Our understanding of how the world is working and the various issues that compound it has grown exponentially, and this provides us with the opportunity to determine how we want Canada and Canadian businesses to position themselves within this global landscape.
When aligned with values such as acting sustainably, demonstrating integrity, and living diversity, leadership – and particularly youth leadership – can fundamentally impact the globalization of Canada.