Export Development Canada (EDC) is hoping a small investment can mean big returns in the future as the organization launches its 13th annual International Business Scholarships competition.
Aimed at developing the next generation of globally-minded business leaders, the arm’s length federal agency is awarding up to 30 scholarships worth $4,000 each in the new year to students studying international business.
“At EDC, our major mandate is to nurture a trade culture here in Canada,” says Ruth Fothergill, head of corporate responsibility with EDC. “One of the ways we (can do) that best is to reach the youth of the country.”
The idea is a two-way street, Fothergill says, as students can greatly benefit from scholarship money and, more importantly, international business training, and Canadian firms can also take advantage of the latter in a big way.
“Employers in Canada need the benefit of well-educated, experienced employees arriving in their businesses who can hit the ground running,” Fothergill says. “It’s very difficult for smaller companies in Canada to be able to function in some of these international markets without increased expertise.
“This is about improving Canada’s positioning competitively.”
According to EDC, five of the 30 awards are offered to students combining business and sustainable business studies, with priority given to applicants undertaking work abroad related to their international business career.
“(It can give them) more practical experience,” Fothergill says of working abroad, noting the benefit of bringing that hands-on international training back to Canadian soil.
“There are very few companies now in Canada that don’t do some kind of business connected to international trade, be that in a supply chain or actually actively investing in developing their markets abroad.”
With an ever-changing global economic landscape, Fothergill says the knowledge internationally trained graduates can bring to the table is beneficial to all Canadians.
“Since our own survival depends on the extent to which Canadian companies can participate in the new trading environment, this means that they have a better chance, hopefully, of having students who are just graduating arrive more qualified to be able to give them good advice on how to do business abroad,” she says.
“This is really a move to try and make sure Canada benefits, because we know these companies need more talented trade-educated staff who know what they’re doing in (various) markets,” she continues. “The competitive situation now for a lot of these companies is very tough, so the more we can encourage (students) to take up an interest in international business and trade in school the better.”
To learn more about the scholarships and how to qualify, log on to EDC’s youth education program page.