By: Jennifer McFee
A local agri-food company has sowed the seeds for success, and now opportunities are cropping up to cultivate connections in international markets.
M&C Commodities has earned a reputation as a leading agri-food seed processing company focused on crafting high quality feed as well as food for humans and animals around the world.
The Manitoba-based company expanded in 2017 to establish its food-grade brand called Melo’s Finest, offering a healthy and delicious option for cooking oil.
For animal feed, M&C Commodities processes soybeans through a dry-extrusion method in a temperature-controlled environment. The business also produces meal using a similar process with sunflower and canola.
With an eye on future growth, M&C Commodities participated in the World Trade Centre Winnipeg’s Trade Accelerator Program, which aims to help companies prepare for export. This program works with two types of companies: those that want to export but aren’t sure where to start as well as those that are already exporting but want to expand their market.
Twice a year, cohorts from all industries delve into this interactive program, which creates connections with experts in areas such as human resources, marketing, legal, finance and more.
“We try to give companies all the tools and knowledge they need while they export,” explained Camille Bardy, trade advisor with World Trade Centre Winnipeg.
“There are presentations and workshops, and the ultimate goal of the program is for companies to have an export plan ready at the end of six half-day sessions. Once the export plan is ready, the companies have one-on-one mentoring days with each expert partner that presented.”
To date, 87 Manitoba companies have graduated from the Trade Accelerator Program. After completing the program requirements, these companies reported an average increase of 18 per cent in export revenue and 18 per cent in total revenue after the first year. In addition, 37 per cent of these companies started exporting or added more export markets after the TAP course.
Since participating in TAP, M&C Commodities continues to experience upward momentum.
Brenden Lawrence served as the vice-president of business development and international sales for M&C Commodities at the time when the company participated in the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP). As a graduate of this dynamic program, he shared some insights on its impacts.
“TAP was an integral part in developing a strategic market penetration strategy that led to international distribution channels,” said Lawrence, who has since stepped down from his role.
With a solid export plan now in place, the company’s international connections are flourishing, “M&C successfully launched into international markets such as Mexico and the Philippines,” Lawrence said. “Although delayed by COVID, it is expected to be up and running in 2022.”
Looking ahead, more exciting ideas continue to crop up for the company.
“M&C is focused on developing sustainable protein ingredients that will complement their current product lines,” Lawrence said.
“It is through industry collaboration that led to the innovation success.”