Finding new markets for mining and engineering companies is easier thanks to a partnership between an export consortium in Sudbury and a data platform company.
The Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) announced on Nov. 15 at its quarterly Export Club meeting that it has teamed up with Magnet Export Business Portal.
Members and invited guests packed the room to find out how this partnership would help benefit their companies and business ventures.
Magnet's project manager, Devon Franklin, explained the platform is similar to other career-focused social media like LinkedIn, but is targeted specifically to help businesses find and navigate potential employees, relevant events, export-related funding, trade missions and other resources by using matching technology.
“It's streamlining who you want to connect,” said Franklin.
Along with seeking out new business ventures, companies can also post jobs.
Originally, the City of Greater Sudbury approached Magnet at the Northern Ontario Exports Forum.
Franklin said the challenges the city and members of SAMSSA were experiencing were similar to other markets.
The partnership is just getting started, but Franklin said they are already working toward 2019 to promote the portal and get more SAMSSA members connected.
The platform will cast a large net for SAMSSA members, covering everything from trade partners to recruitment.
“It's impossible to sort through everything that is out there,” said Paul Bradette, SAMSSA's director of business development. “A Google search will bring back 300 things. This is very target-specific. So it will benefit those that register for it.”
The partnership shows they are actively reaching out to promote business in the North.
Originally launched in 2014 as a response to the growing recruitment problem in Ontario, SAMSSA created the portal as a matchmaking site between Ryerson students and employers, rather than job hunters going to more general sites.
Whenever an employer posts a job in the portal, it matches people to the posting based on certain parameters, rather than people seeking out the posting.
“It uses the technology to match businesses to job seekers, based on skills, education and competency,” Franklin explained. “Rather than get 500 applications from seekers, it narrows it down to the two or three, and the employer can set up interview schedules for them.”
Since it launched, the portal has grown, with approximately 15,000 employers using the system.
Its mission grew in 2016, when the Ontario Ministry of International Trade asked SAMSSA for help with matching trade resources and funding opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses.
Magnet's administration met with potential businesses and was told it was daunting to wade through hundreds of Google hits for different programs.
Franklin made it clear this isn't a directory. It's direct matching for companies and entrepreneurs.
Once someone creates an account, they are directed to set up their search criteria for programs and services based on drop-down menus. It also filters based on physical location.
In partnering with Export Development Canada, Global Affairs Canada, Magnet mines their respective websites for information relevant to businesses.
“They wanted to push notifications about opportunities they are eligible for,” Franklin said.
Companies also didn't want to have another social media account to sign in to on a daily basis, so Magnet created an algorithm that sends notifications straight to the email address.