Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy
Recently, my wife Donna and I visited Brazil as part of a trade mission from Elastomer Valley, a group of Québec-based businesses who have joined forces to pursue economic development opportunities. As the co-founders and co-owners of a growing manufacturing company with offices in Canada, the United States, and China, we enjoyed our first trip to Latin America.
Brazil is a vast and vibrant country with abundant natural resources and great human talent. It also boasts the world’s sixth largest economy and is Canada’s ninth largest trading partner. For Elasto Proxy, accessing the Brazilian market is a key part of our plan to increase exports of our custom-fabricated rubber and plastic components.
As one of just six Elastomer Valley companies that traveled to Brazil, Elasto Proxy benefited from business meetings scheduled by the Québec Government Office in São Paulo. Since March 2008, Québec’s office in Brazil’s largest city has been helping businesses like ours to form relationships with potential partners. Group events included presentations from international lawyers and customs brokers.
By focusing on vehicle parts and plastics, the Elastomer Valley trade mission provided Elasto Proxy with valuable opportunities to promote our application knowledge and experience in these areas. Our meetings with potential partners who produce tractors, trucks, buses, defense vehicles, and mobile vehicles were especially important, as these are industries we have served for many years.
All of the Brazilian businesses that we met with appreciated the quality of our work and how Elasto Proxy strengthens supply chains by manufacturing small quantities of custom rubber and plastic parts. Since many of these Brazilian companies are subsidiaries of North American and European entities, they already have vendors for high-volume production runs. Elasto Proxy’s ability to produce high-value, low-volume seals and gaskets captured their attention, however, and helped lay a foundation for the future.
Sealing solutions for specialty mobile vehicles, tractor and bus manufacturers, and defense applications weren’t all that we discussed, however. Doing business in Brazil is a social affair, with customs and routines that are more similar to those in Europe than in China. Personal connections develop alongside business relationships in Brazil, and we enjoyed getting to know our potential partners.
Brazil is open for business, as Elasto Proxy saw firsthand during the first of two planned trips there. We look forward to returning to São Paulo, as part of the SME Passport program in 2013, and encourage you to ask us questions about our trip by commenting on this blog entry. Brazil’s economy is booming, and Elasto Proxy is eager to share what we’ve learned.