Export Navigator clients Alex Stuart and Michael McManus with their revolutionary fire suppression system.

South Vancouver Island businesses achieve international success with Export Navigator

How small businesses are finding new customers in changing times

As a year of uncertainty continues, it has become more critical than ever for small businesses to find creative ways to succeed, and many are turning to Export Navigator for advice and support. Operating across B.C., the free Export Navigator Program has been helping businesses grow since 2016 — now, it’s stepping in to help businesses like Guardian Fire Shield from Ladysmith to innovate and adapt.

Export Navigator is a free program that connects business owners with a local export advisor who can help them find new customers beyond B.C. From growth planning to information about exporting, business owners across the province have applied free advisor support to expand with confidence.

Throughout the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the advisors at Export Navigator have been helping businesses find ways to pivot and succeed in the face of new challenges — such as taking advantage of e-commerce platforms and learning how to access government funding resources. With more businesses turning to the program, its success stories now span a range of industries and countries.

Honorable Minister Mungall, responsible for the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness, believes it’s the local aspect of Export Navigator that has been fundamental to its success in helping small businesses:

“As a resident of a rural community, I see so many innovative people creating products and services that deserve wider distribution. Every business and every community is different, and I think that’s why Export Navigator’s regional approach has been so valuable.”

Cowichan-based export advisor Fabrizio Alberico has been working with businesses across the south of Vancouver Island to help them export. One of Fab’s success stories is Guardian Fire Shield, a domestic fire suppression system. Ladysmith-based entrepreneur James Stuart knew his product had the potential to increase fire safety outside of Canada but required additional knowledge on what resources were available to his business. With Fab’s expert guidance, James Stuart is expanding talks with international distributors in the UK, Mexico, & the Philippines and exploring new government funding possibilities.

“Our focus for 2020 is to continue discussions with Distributor interests in the United States, UK, Mexico, and the Philippines to advance Guardian Fire Shield™ as a Canadian technology. There is comfort in knowing that we can call on Fab for guidance, support with funding applications and referrals to assist us with growing internationally.”

From solo startups with a small customer base to larger corporations that already export to some select markets, Export Navigator is available to businesses of all sizes based in Vancouver Island and B.C. outside of Greater Victoria and Greater Vancouver.

To continue helping businesses in Vancouver Island, the free program is accepting online applications. To support underrepresented groups, businesses owned by Indigenous Peoples, women, and youth can expect specialized support and are encouraged to apply online.

Export Navigator gratefully acknowledges that we live, work, and play on the traditional territories of the Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia.

Small Business

Just Posted

The salmon run has also begun at Goldstream Provincial Park for the 2020 season. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Salmon returning to Sooke River

Charters Salmon Interpretive Centre closed but trails remain open

The clearing of the land for the new Vancouver Island Regional Library in Sooke began Thursday. The $7.5-million building on Wadams Way between Anna Marie and Townsend roads will include more than 14,400 square feet of space, children’s area fireplace lounge, laptop bar and community space. The library is expected to open in spring 2022. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
Ground-breaking for the new Sooke library

New Sooke library expected be completed by spring 2020

Sooke Elementary kindergarteners Zoe Sperrer (left), Christel Loutet, Chase MacKay and Gr. 5 Jace Ferris are helping to plant a native plant garden on their school property. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Sooke Elementary plants native plant garden with help from community

Sooke Elementary teachers, students expand backyard garden

Saanich police are warning residents that rutting season has begun and deer may get their antlers tangled in items left in yards. (Saanich Police Department/Twitter)
Deer with items tangled in antlers spotted in Saanich as rutting season begins

Police, B.C. Conservation Service warn of possibly aggressive bucks through fall

Saanich South Liberal candidate Rishi Sharma commits to addressing issues at the five-way intersection of Interurban and Wilkinson roads in partnership with the municipality if elected. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich South Liberal candidate commits to improving Interurban/Wilkinson intersection

‘Confusing five-way intersection,’ needs attention, Rishi Sharma says

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

The Cowichan Steelheads’ Jesus Martinez (left) and the Cowichan 49ers’ Daryl Rodgers chase down the ball during Saturday night’s all-Cowichan clash at the Sherman Road turf. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan masters derby takes unexpected turn with broken leg

Soccer community comes together in midst of battle

Larry Whetstone is concerned about the condition of Jeffries Road, where he has lived for 30 years. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Poor condition of rural road in Cowichan has resident fed up

Transportation Ministry says repair plan under development

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Most Read