Students at STEP Conference 2012

Release Date : September 26, 2012

Story by: Jessica Wallace

Photos by: Luke Sather

The Hanlon Centre, through its close relationship with the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP), was proud to sponsor 15 U of S students to participate in STEP’s 2012 Trade Conference. This is the second year the Hanlon Centre has been a gold sponsor of the event. 

STEP is a government and industry partnership dedicated to increasing Saskatchewan's exports to existing and new markets, and champions the province's export industry by assisting provincial businesses to realize their global marketing opportunities.  The STEP 2012 Trade Conference is held annually to provide opportunities for industries to hear the lessons learned by STEP, government and industries all trying to improve Saskatchewan's exports. Over the past decade, these conferences have provided opportunities to discuss emerging trends and topics pertaining to trade, export, and global business.  The conference is also an opportunity to network with provincial, national and international delegates who share a focus on export markets.

Hanlon Director Nicholas Kokkastamapoulos, in addition to overseeing the Hanlon Centre’s own international business seminars to university students, also partners with special government and corporate partners like STEP to ensure students have an opportunity to attend external events and network with professionals engaged in international business and trade. 

“The STEP conference was a really fun event for me,” said Edwards marketing major Meahgan Sweet, one of the student attendees at the conference. “The sessions were informative and for the first time since aspiring to study and practice in international business, I knew it was possible to do so in Saskatchewan.”

The day’s event was launched with an opening address by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and an economic update by Hendrik Brakel from the Economic and Political Intelligence Centre, Export Development Canada. Brakel talked about connecting employees to a company's bottom line, and the impacts of currency exchange on exports.

Participating students attended more than 15 guest speaker events and break-out sessions on assorted global business topics, as well as mixed and mingled with almost 300 government and industry guests. Students were surprised by the magnitude of Saskatchewan's global export success.  While many knew the province to play some kind of international role in the agricultural industry, particularly wheat, the Hanlon Centre student guests were awed that Saskatchewan (with a population around one million) exports almost 35 billion dollars in assorted goods and services to every part of the world.  And, while Saskatchewan does enjoy an international reputation as a wheat exporter, students soon realized its real economic success includes mining and extractive natural resources - particularly exports of potash, uranium, oil & gas around the world and related equipment manufacturing.

STEP will host its next trade conference in 2014.

The Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies serves the Edwards School of Business to help build and provide global business awareness and related skills training opportunities for its commerce students.  For more information, contact Nicholas Kokkastamapoulos (Hanlon Director) or Jessica Wallace / Brandon Ziola (Hanlon Media & Communications) by email at hanloncentre@edwards.usask.ca or telephone at (306) 966-1837.