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Nondomestic companies that have had some success in their home markets can look to incubators to help them expand into new countries. Eight programs that are NBIA Soft Landings International Incubator designees demonstrate the wide range of business-related and nonbusiness-related services that these clients need.

Border crossings: Programs facilitate soft landings for firms in new national markets

by Linda Knopp

December 2008

Lucky Dog Biscuits, a Winnipeg, Canada, firm that uses Saskatoon berries, homemade barbecue and pizza sauces, crushed garlic and other human-grade ingredients to produce healthy dog treats, has parlayed its connections to the University of North Dakota’s Center for Innovation into what could soon be a successful cross-border venture.

The firm originally approached the Center for Innovation in Grand Forks, N.D., via an established relationship between the University of North Dakota and the University of Manitoba for help in learning about the U.S. market; it has gotten so much more.

Center staff offered the company marketing suggestions and provided introductions to contacts at the Canadian Consulate General and the North Dakota Trade Office, both of which had partnered with the incubator before to help foreign firms enter the U.S. market. UND entrepreneurship professors Jeffrey Stamp and Craig Silvernagel helped the company redesign its packaging and tailor its sales collateral for the U.S. market. Now Lucky Dog Biscuits is an affiliate client at the Center for Innovation, providing the firm with a U.S. base of operations.

To learn more about how incubators are helping companies do business in foreign markets, NBIA examined the practices of its eight Soft Landings International Incubator designees. Read on for their advice.

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Keywords: affiliate program, client selection/admissions, coaching clients, importing and exporting, international incubation, international trade, market research -- client, partnerships -- organizational/corporate, strategic partnerships

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