The Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN), in partnership with its nodes across Canada, has announced the official launch of its Soft-Landing Program which enables companies to explore and capitalize on global business opportunities. Participants in the pilot phase of the program have already had success over the past eight months and, with today’s official launch, CDMN announces support for up to 20 companies to participate in the next program round starting in January, 2013.
“The Soft-Landing Program helps digital media companies gain traction in other countries, and it’s already having a major impact,” said Kevin Tuer, CDMN Managing Director. “To date we’ve invested $12,000 in the program, and participating companies have already realized $20 million in new opportunities and sales. That’s a tremendous return on investment.”
Ideal candidates to participate in the Outbound Soft-Landing Program are mature startups and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are generating revenue already and have goals of growing their customer base; opening a satellite office; or developing distribution channels or secure partnerships. Through this type of landing, Canadian companies looking to expand in foreign markets anywhere in the world can qualify for up to three months of residency in partner facilities equipped to support their growth, plus up to $4,000 for transportation and hotel costs.
While there is no financial support for non-Canadian companies seeking help in landing in Canada through the CDMN’s Inbound Soft-Landing Program or for Canadian companies who want to explore other regions elsewhere in Canada through the Domestic Soft-Landing Program, the CDMN network can still be a valuable resource to those companies as they look to expand.
“We’re committed to this program with the support of our cross-country network because we believe it offers companies the unique experience of conducting business in person in a different market and culture,” said Tuer.
The Soft-Landing Program has already demonstrated success, having announced in August this year that Canadian startup Cyborg Trading was able to close a $2 million equity round with Canadian investors after leveraging its soft-landing funding to land at an incubator in New York City. Cyborg Trading’s CFO Ben Bittrolff described the program as an enviable support system for emerging startups. Cyborg Trading worked with CDMN node Communitech in Waterloo Region for its soft-landing foray.
Steve McBride, VP Business Development at Weever Apps, a mobile application builder, credits recent success in the U.S. market to the ability to visit New York City thanks to CDMN’s Soft-Landing Program.
“Being able to experience a new market in person provides much more insight than just doing research third-hand,” said McBride. “It’s so valuable to be immersed in [a market] and get your own answers. You can read reports and research all you want. Until you are there it’s not the same.”
Entrepreneur Pilar Cure of CPS Parking, a company that offers parking solutions in international cities, found recent soft-landing support instrumental in establishing business in San Jose, Costa Rica.
“Experiencing the city first-hand helped me understand the requirements of commuters and enabled me to make a convincing argument for my company’s services,” said Cure.
The CDMN is opening applications on October 15, 2012 for companies looking to participate in soft-landings between January 2 and May 31, 2013. Applications will close at midnight EST on November 16, and companies will be notified as to their acceptance no later than December 14, 2012. Further information for interested companies — including how to connect to the closest regional node in order to complete an application, answers to frequently asked questions, a questionnaire for potential applicants, and CDMN Soft-Landing Success Stories are all available online.