Global Business Club discusses taking business global through foreign partners

Publish Date: Tuesday, December 01, 2009

"Using joint ventures with foreign partners would expand Lansing business to the global scale in a sustainable manner," said Andrew Mangan, keynote speaker at the November 17 meeting of the Global Business Club of Mid-Michigan.

Mangan, co-founder and executive director of the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), spoke about developing sustainable supply chain partners internationally.

At the beginning of the presentation, Mangan introduced the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a global network consisting of 450 participants from about 140 companies and nearly 40 regional network partners. He stated that the WBCSD gives businesses a way to seek a strategic plan for the future as well as for gaining partners from venture capitalist meeting groups.
 
"As the global business finds itself in low carbon economies, it is essential for it to become the leading supplier of high/clean technologies and solutions for sustainable development", Mangan said. He then reviewed three types of US BCSD projects implementing sustainable development at the local operational level such as by-product synergy (BPS), ecosystem services and water resources.

He also stressed that a close connection has to be pursued between government and businesses that are committed to the solutions that ensure sustainable development.

"Based on the fact that a number of countries have built green technology into their stimulus packages, we should be directing our attention to the specific issues and trends that each country aims to focus on. We need to be responsive to such questions as Japan's position in energy efficiency or China's next 5-year plan as the principal exporter of clean technology and so forth," said Mangan. 

Prior to the keynote speech, a morning workshop was held to help attendees with information about establishing relationships with foreign partners. Jean Schtokal of Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C., encouraged business owners to actively investigate the countries to which they are looking to expand in order to reach an optimal and customized way of partnership. There are three forms of partnerships with foreign countries available, including agent, distributor and sales representative. Agent and distributor are a more protected way of digging into a foreign market but are hard to terminate in comparison to sales representative, which is a form of local employment.

The panel discussion shared information about the differences between each type of business affiliation. The panel group consisted of four speakers: Dave Regan, President, Plas-Labs, Inc.; Chuck Bird, Director of International Sales, Neogen Corporation; Edward Hendler, Director of Sales, Defense & Export, Spartan Motors, Inc.; and Wendy Edleman, Channel Manager-Americas & EMEA, TechSmith Corp. They discussed how "one fits all" is not an option when choosing the best type of partnership because there is much difference in each country's business culture, potential risks of outgrowing distributors, and legal situations or regulations.

This year's GB club meeting schedule ended with a luncheon. The monthly GB Club luncheons will continue next year, providing outstanding speakers and relaxed networking opportunities. It is sponsored by Michigan State University's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the Greater Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Community College, Michigan State University College of Law, Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C. and the Center for Advanced Study of International Development (CASID).


Written by KyuJin Shim for the International Business Center.