ID Connections

South America: An emerging market to discover

Published by Rachael Factor, March 28, 2012.

Past President, David Hanson and Executive Director, Susan Wiggins recently visited Santiago, Chile and Sao Paulo, Brazil to determine whether these two countries are suitable locations for the Association’s next export mission. This exploratory visit is in line with IDC’s program that assists interior design professionals who are ready to export their design services to international markets.

With funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, the Global Opportunities for Associations was developed to help Canadian businesses explore export opportunities in foreign markets. IDC has been participating in this program since 2010. Some markets we have already explored include China, the UAE and India. After thorough research and information gathering, we determined that the next market that should be on member’s radar is South America. And last month’s trip validated our research.

The two most fascinating lessons we learned are as follows:

  • Brazil just knocked out UK as the sixth largest economy in the world. It’s anticipated that they will become the fifth largest within the next three to four years, and;
  • Canada is the second largest foreign investor in Chile. The country’s perception is that purchasing from abroad is better. Other countries investing in Chile include the U.S., France and Argentina.

David and Susan met with local trade officers and association officials to discuss the potential opportunities for interior design professionals. In short, both countries are booming and look like downtown Vancouver or Toronto, with signs of construction everywhere you look.

Santiago, in particular, has more recently embarked on its future expansion plans, making this the best time for members to get in at the earliest stage possible. On the flip side, Sao Paulo has been in development mode for a few years now with more than 2,500 infrastructure projects currently on the books. Having said that, Brazil will welcome the FIFA cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 so there are numerous opportunities in the sports facility and hospitality industries (hotels and restaurants) as the country prepares for these two world class events.

IDC has applied for funding to lead a trade mission of approximately 15 members to South America next March. If our application is approved, the lessons learned on this trip and the contacts made will become the foundation for the export mission for members. Watch ID Connections in the fall for further details.

In the meantime, if your company is interested in exporting your services to international markets, your first step should be to register your company on the Virtual Trade Commissioner website. It is a free service to all Canadian business owners and can provide you with invaluable information and contacts to assist you get started. Go to

For more information on IDC’s export marketing strategy for companies and information on how we can help you, go to and login to the Members Only section.

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