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Understanding Trade Through International Connections

The Ontario Ministry of International Trade recently partnered with LinkedIn on a new research project entitled ‘Understanding Trade Through International Connections’. The collaboration analyzed professional networks from the over 4.8 million Ontarians on LinkedIn with intention of uncovering just how connected Ontario’s workforce is globally.

The study found that Ontario is the 2nd most internationally-connected jurisdiction in North America, second only to British Columbia (25% of Ontarians’ LinkedIn connections are international vs. 28% in BC). To compare, the average LinkedIn profile has 17% of their connections residing internationally.

Moreover, Toronto is the 4th most internationally-connected city in the world, trailing only London, UK, the Greater Vancouver Area and Sydney, Australia.

The study argues that ‘strong professional relationships, networks and partnerships are vital’ to international trade and that ‘workforce connectivity can be a key factor for establishing international trade relations’.

This is an interesting insight as it suggests that in order for a firm to successfully expand internationally, rather than seek advice from external organizations, SME owners and executives can instead look within their organization for new business leads or advice on a particular market.

Some countries that Ontarians share strong connections with include (in descending order): Japan, Iran, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines & Turkey.

Ultimately it is difficult to gauge whether there is any tangible value from a single employee having a connection in a far-off market. Connections could be dated, fatigued by geography, or exist because that firm is already conducting business in that market (chicken or the egg scenario). Nonetheless, the study is an excellent example of the emerging power of big-data analytics and highlights the often-overlooked source of opportunity that is one’s own personal or professional network.

Check out the full report here –

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