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Friday, October 26, 2012

Rivier students, local business leaders talk about building a trade bridge across the Canadian border

NASHUA – Trade between the United States and its friendly neighbor to the north should be so easy that companies should be in a rush to do business across the border, officials said during a symposium Thursday.

“Both of our currencies are called dollars, so how hard can it be?” suggested Bob Good, president of the New England-Canada Business Council. ...

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NASHUA – Trade between the United States and its friendly neighbor to the north should be so easy that companies should be in a rush to do business across the border, officials said during a symposium Thursday.

“Both of our currencies are called dollars, so how hard can it be?” suggested Bob Good, president of the New England-Canada Business Council.

On both sides of the 5,500-mile border await companies ready to sell their goods, he said.

“If you want to do business in Canada, it’s wide open,” said Good, who also is the CEO of Good Leads, a company based in Salem.

The key? Networking with companies that do business internationally, Good said.

“It’s important to have that level of dialogue on a global economy and narrow it down to how it affects New Hampshire and New England,” he said.

Good gave closing remarks at noon Thursday during a Canada-New Hampshire Business Symposium hosted by Rivier University as part of its “President’s Circle” program. The symposium was titled “Doing Business with Friends,” and the friendly cooperation of businesses across the border was a theme sounded by Good and other speakers.

The symposium featured a keynote address by Patrick Binns, consul general of Canada, and two panel discussions, one on the high-tech sector, and a second on
services offered by the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development and the Consulate General of Canada.

About 60 people attended, including business officials and Rivier business students, according to organizers.

For the students, the symposium offered tips on networking with companies that do business internationally, as well as the opportunity to forge contacts.

Be willing to build connections, talk to people you don’t know, and realize that it’s OK to be rejected – it’s part of the process of building relationships, said Taylor Little, an international trade specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Often, young professionals looking to break into the trade business are in the same boat as companies working to gain information and build connections, Little said.

“If you’re new to exporting, you’re new to exporting, whether you’re a company or a student,” she said.

Some of those students found the symposium helpful in learning how to build connections.

Students who attended were primarily undergraduates from business professor Gregory Kivenzor’s international business and entrepreneurship and senior business seminar classes.

“What I learned was how informal connecting and networking can be,” student Michael Polley said.

Networking often happens “on a friendly level, instead of on a competitive level,” Polley said.

Cooperation is especially important in tough economic times, he said.

“The only way to get through a tough economy is to stick together,” Polley said.

MBA student Deepika Singh said the symposium helped her see international business relationships in a new way.

“I look at it from an Asian perspective,” said Singh, who is from India and has a background in computer science and engineer.

This is the first time she had heard about business relationships between the United States and Canada, Singh said.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashua
telegraph.com. Follow Meighan on Twitter @ Telegraph_PatM.