This past June, Marina Ilari, CEO of Terra Translations and Colleen Beres, Regional Business Development Manager, attended the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI. The conference was geared toward furthering WBENC’s vision of expanding women’s business opportunities in the marketplace. Attendees included senior executives and procurement representatives from Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and select partner organizations. With three vigorous days of programming, participants attended lectures and presentations from industry thought leaders as well as engaged in panel discussions. The event’s robust business fair allowed attendees to discover opportunities with over 300 exhibitors, exchange ideas, and connect with each other.
A notable session the Terra team attended was titled “Overcoming Challenges of International Business” presented by the WBENC Global Committee. In this interactive session, Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) and WBENC Corporate Members discussed the challenges of doing business in an international landscape.
“We shared best practices in overcoming top issues facing global business,” Ilari explained. “A main topic of discussion was language, cultural barriers, and how localization can help companies communicate effectively to international audiences.”
For global businesses or businesses that wish to expand into foreign markets, language can pose an extreme barrier. According to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, nearly half of 572 senior executives interviewed admitted that “messages lost in translation” have hindered major international business deals for their companies. Catering to an international clientele is becoming an integral part of business operations and overcoming language barriers is now the need of the hour.
“Over the years, this is an area that businesses are paying closer attention to,” Ilari said. “As a translation service company, we play an imperative role in helping businesses navigate globalization.”
Terra is a certified member of the WBENC, which is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the country. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by a woman or women. More than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales according to The 2017 State of Women-owned Business Report commissioned by American Express.
“By being a certified women-owned business, we’ve significantly increased our visibility,” said Beres. “It has allowed us to introduce our services and value proposition to new industries as well as survey fellow women-led companies about their current translation needs.”
There is a multitude of advantages for businesses to partner with a certified women-owned business. In addition to tax incentives, research by the Hackett Group showed that working with a WBENC-certified business increased a business’ profitability by as much as 130%.
Government organizations and large corporations are often required to award contracts specifically to women-owned businesses. According to the Elevate Network, in 2014 the U.S. government awarded 267,168 contracts to women-owned businesses for approximately $2 billion. By working with women-owned businesses, these organizations demonstrated a commitment to fostering diversity within their organization and the continued development of inclusion programs.