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How a small Canadian business expanded globally

For a small business owner, growing beyond Canadian borders is no easy feat. With hard work, organization and support from Export Development Canada (EDC), global expansion doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. Discover how Canadian businesses of all sizes found international success by exporting their goods and services with the help of EDC.

SilverPaw is a pet company known for its patented innovation that started in 2013 when cousins Lorne, Jamie and Dylan Miller saw their father and uncle developing an alert technology for children’s clothing that they knew could be adapted to the pet industry. “We were doing research while studying in university and saw the pet market was really trending, so we decided to give it a try,” says Miller.

The company makes everything from dog jackets, boots, beds, leashes, toys and other accessories. The SilverShield™ keeps the fabric odor and bacteria free and ColdAlert™ and SunAlert™ technologies alert pet owners when their dogs are exposed to dangerous UV rays or freezing cold temperatures and frostbite conditions.

Courtesy EDC

The products were so unique to the pet clothing market that they garnered lots of media attention, which Miller says helped the company get started. “There is truly nobody like us in the industry as we are a one-stop shop, offering the most unique innovative patented items in the pet world.”

With such rapid success, SilverPaw decided to start exporting its first year in business. “We were approached by many retailers all over the globe. That’s when things started to take off,” says Miller. With the high demand for its products, the company turned to EDC for support.

Courtesy EDC

How EDC helped

Since 1944, the financially self-sufficient agency has helped thousands of small Canadian companies respond to international trade opportunities so they can take their exporting business to the next level. Much of EDC’s work is done in collaboration with the Government of Canada.
EDC worked with SilverPaw’s bank using the Export Guarantee Program. The extra working capital the company was able to access allowed it to take on large contracts from international retailers like Walmart.

Courtesy EDC

“EDC has been a great fit for us. Since we’ve grown and evolved, we’ve continued to do a lot with EDC—they’ve been a key partner for us,” says Miller.

Courtesy EDC

The result

With EDC’s support, SilverPaw has continued to grow, showing no plans for slowing down. . Since the beginning, the company has focused on selling its products through retail stores but would like to turn its attention to ecommerce. “Over the past couple of years, we started building the tools to really be successful with ecommerce. We’re really confident SilverPaw is going to be a big name online,” says Miller.

The company is also going to focus on other distribution models. It plans to strengthen its presence on Amazon and is starting a monthly subscription box for dogs. Every month, customers will get a tailored box of toys and treats for their pet shipped to their door.

Courtesy EDC

Despite having several projects underway, Miller says marketing is still a top priority. “The biggest thing, because we’re a young company, is getting across why we’re so unique and why we’re so innovative. We want to build the SilverPaw brand and get our name out there.”

EDC’s Export Guarantee Program can help your bank provide you with additional access to financing. It shares the risk with your bank by providing a guarantee on the money you borrow, encouraging them to increase your access to working capital. Click here to learn more.