We are always on the lookout for new talent; that is, we search Central Alberta for businesses ready to take the next step in their development by moving into international markets. Tundra Petroleum Services is an example of a company who has found success in a new market (Mexico), and we think they’re a great model of what companies can do to expand globally.

According to Susan Morrison of Tundra Petroleum Services, Tundra’s journey started when they began to receive requests to participate in tenders with overseas companies, from Oman to Australia to Eastern Europe. In the beginning, they did nothing, but one day the team asked themselves, “Do we want to look at this?”

Tundra attended a Canadian Council of the Americas (CCA) event regarding energy in the global market. Canada’s Ambassador to Mexico, Pierre Alarie, was a speaker. He spoke with such warmth and passion about Mexico and the opportunities there because of the Energy Reforms; the Tundra team was inspired to research Mexico and Latin America as potential target markets.

Tundra had originally been researching Oman, Romania and Ukraine, and there was very good potential for success in all those countries. However, Mexico had some benefits the other countries didn’t. Geography, NAFTA, the values Canada and Mexico share, ease of transition for both Tundra’s people and equipment in terms of the environment as well as ease of transportation. The big question was, was there work there for Tundra?

Tundra was invited to participate in a Canada / Alberta Trade Mission to Puebla to the CMP (Congreso Mexicano de Petroleo), Mexico’s largest annual oil and gas show. Tundra did not find a partner during that trip, but they knew there was work for them in Mexico. Before Tundra’s team left they had registered for the next event, The Oil & Gas Review Summit; they were going to go and learn everything about the energy reforms.

In between those events Tundra contacted everyone they had met during the trade mission; the other companies that had participated, the embassy, and everyone from the show. They were introduced to many more people and planned to meet them on the next trip.

Back in Canada, Tundra participated in every relevant event possible: conferences, seminars, and webinars. They kept in contact with everyone they met. Tundra planned another trip to Mexico, this time to tour areas and facilities, meet more companies, re-establish contacts face to face and continue searching for a partner.

Tundra travelled to Mexico once a month. When they felt uncertain, they reached out to resources. These resources were the people who were not only willing to listen, support and encourage, but who would also go above and beyond in an effort to keep things moving in a company’s chosen direction.

Tundra met with Pam Steckler and learned about Access Prosperity in August 2017 at the “Entering Strategic Foreign Oil and Gas Services Markets” event. A week later they met to discuss Tundra’s plans for international expansion. Pam’s excitement, support, knowledge and experiences were greatly appreciated. The most valuable thing Access Prosperity did in assisting Tundra to reach its goal was being available as a resource that could support Tundra with knowledge and experience.

Tundra wants to expand to all of Latin America. The original countries of interest (Oman, Romania, and the Ukraine) are not off the table either. Tundra is a small company and simply doesn’t have enough resources yet to take on more international projects.

We had one last question about Tundra’s experience: What would you say to other businesses considering international expansion and participation in Access Prosperity’s International Business Development Program? Here is Susan Morrison’s reply:

If you want it to be quick, fast and easy, don’t do it.

If you thrive on challenges and learning, do it.

If you have the humility to accept the beauty of other cultures, do it.

If you have the time, money and resources to invest, do it.

If you think someone can do it for you, walk away before you start.

If you are still going forward, build your support system, at home and abroad, do not discount anyone. I believe that had I been aware of Access Prosperity sooner we would have been ahead in the quest to become international. We would have had more support, knowledge and experience.

The hardest part of going global, in my personal opinion, is understanding the culture of the world you wish to be a part of. It is not just learning the basic language, laws and regulations; it’s understanding the belief system, the values of the people and the country. Having the support of people at home who have been in countries of interest is invaluable.

Developing an international business strategy with Access Prosperity is smart business.

In 2017, Access Prosperity launched our International Business Development (IBD) Program. The focus of the program is helping Central Alberta businesses explore new and diversified markets, and we have done so through direct business coaching, business to business matching, focused training, and trade mission/trade show assistance.

There are four phases to the program: Readiness Assessment, Exploratory Research, International Business Participation, and Assessment/Aftercare. The phases form a cycle where companies can enter at any phase and re-inject themselves into the program when they choose to explore a new target market or goal.

Contact Access Prosperity today to start your international business development journey.

Pam Steckler
Investment Attraction and Business Development Officer
Central Alberta: Access Prosperity