EDC and PROFIT Magazine announce winners of inaugural Canada Export
Achievement Awards

OTTAWA, Nov. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Export Development Canada (EDC) and PROFIT Magazine (PROFIT) today announced the five winners of the inaugural Canada Export Achievement Awards, which celebrate innovation and creativity among Canadian exporters.

"The dogged perseverance of the winners in the face of significant exporting challenges during a global recession are shining examples of Canadian companies that are among the very best in the world," said Eric Siegel, President and CEO of EDC. "EDC congratulates all of the winners for their business ingenuity and global trade acumen. We hope others will learn from their success stories."

"This year's winners clearly demonstrate the value of foreign markets to Canadian companies, no matter how small or how young a business is," said Ian Portsmouth, Editor and Associate Publisher of PROFIT. "The winners also provide great examples of business strategies that companies in any sector can apply abroad."

The new awards program was created by EDC and PROFIT to inspire and encourage Canadian companies to expand internationally by celebrating the export achievements of successful Canadian small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The winners are:

    -   Jewel Pop Inc. of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is a producer of jewelry
        with interchangeable beads. With over 89 per cent of Jewel Pop's
        sales originating outside of Canada, they have overcome several
        challenges specific to Canadian exporters, such as currency-exchange
        transaction fees and shipping charges. In addition, Jewel Pop
        developed a tiered purchase program to help encourage stronger sales
        support from its distributors.

    -   FreeBalance Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario, develops financial-management
        software for governments around the globe. Half of FreeBalance's
        revenues are generated in Asia, the Middle-East, Africa and Latin
        America, which can be challenging markets at the best of times.
        However, FreeBalance's products are geared toward helping states deal
        with their distressed markets, requiring significant amounts of
        flexibility from both its products and its exporting approach.
        FreeBalance also established a client advisory board that helps
        direct up to 20 per cent of its R&D, engaging clients from around the

    -   Via Vegan Ltd. of Montreal, Quebec is a designer of handbags made of
        recycled plastic bottles. Via Vegan has been global from the
        beginning. Last year, more that 45 per cent of the firm's total sales
        were generated internationally thanks to ingenuity in locating
        developing foreign distributors and sales agents. Their exporting
        approach, developed with market-specific research including legal
        services and marketing, has been standardized so that they can focus
        on strategy. In addition, Via Vegan outsources production to Asia and
        is planning a push into emerging markets.

    -   Alta Exports International Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta produces breeding
        cattle and bovine genetic materials and technologies. Alta recovered
        from the BSE crisis to become a major exporter to Russia after
        organizing trade missions to the key regions with representatives
        from Alberta Agriculture, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and several
        cattle industry organizations. These missions helped educate the
        market and bring strong credibility to the Canada cattle industry
        overall. Alta also established a commission-specific platform for its
        foreign sales agents.

    -   Bioteq Environmental Technologies Inc. of Vancouver, British
        Columbia, develops waste-water treatment plants and technologies for
        the mining industry. Originally, Bioteq's sales were all domestic,
        but the company now generates 80 per cent of its sales from foreign
        markets. Bioteq's experience in developing the right markets in China
        and the opening of their in-market office is a case study in export
        development. Bioteq also leveraged the services National Research
        Council and the Canadian Trade Commission to enhance their
        credibility in foreign markets.

The five winners were selected based on geographic distribution, with one winner from each Canadian region defined as Pacific, Prairies and the Territories, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The criteria for the award are focused upon the company's export activities and their relation to its overall performance, with an emphasis on innovation and creativity.

Winners will also receive national media coverage in PROFIT and L'actualité magazines, in addition to other marketing and public-relations opportunities. Official recognition as a Canada Export Achievement Award winner may also be used to raise the recipient's profile with customers, investors, the media and potential employees.

About EDC

EDC is Canada's export credit agency, offering innovative commercial solutions to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. EDC's knowledge and partnerships are used by more than 8,300 Canadian companies and their global customers in up to 200 markets worldwide each year. EDC is financially self-sustaining, a recognized leader in financial reporting and economic analysis, and has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for nine consecutive years.About PROFIT Magazine

PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success is Canada's pre-eminent publication dedicated to the management issues and opportunities facing small and mid-sized businesses. For more than 25 years, Canadian entrepreneurs across a vast array of economic sectors have remained loyal to PROFIT because it's a timely and reliable source of actionable information that helps them increase their revenues, boost their profitability and get the recognition they deserve for generating positive economic and social change. Visit PROFIT online at http://www.profitmagazine.ca

SOURCE Export Development Canada

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Phil Taylor, Export Development Canada, Tel: (613) 598-2904, Blackberry: ptaylor@edc.ca; Louise Leger, PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success, Tel: (416) 764-4125, E-mail: louise.leger@rci.rogers.com

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