Opportunities NB’s (ONB) Export Development Team facilitates New Brunswick companies’ growth and market diversification efforts via a variety of services including trade missions across the globe.
Shediac’s Resilia Inc. recently returned from France as part of the latest of these missions. Formed in 2014, Resilia manufactures and sells the clinically-proven uresta® medical device invented by Dalhousie University’s Dr. Scott Farrell, a urogynecologist.
ONB spoke to Resilia Vice President Carol Chapman to learn more.
ONB: First, tell us about the Uresta device.
Chapman: uresta® is a reusable, self-managed medical device for female stress urinary incontinence (SUI), also referred to as light bladder leakage. It has been clinically proven to eliminate or significantly reduce involuntary loss of urine.
The product has received recognition in Canada already, correct?
Yes. In 2016, we were named one of the Products of the Year from Chatelaine. Those awards are determined by votes from 7,000 Canadian consumers and a jury of industry experts. We now get to use the Chatelaine Product of the Year branding on our website, which has some power.
This February, we earned the ‘Approved’ tag from Today’s Parent.
Let’s talk trade missions. You just returned from France, tell us about that.
These missions — this was our third with ONB — have been extremely helpful. They allow us to meet with important partners in multiple sectors. First, we met with health professionals such as reps from the Continence Society. They set us up with regulatory folks and physicians. You don’t need a prescription for uresta® but many women still consult their GP or gynaecologist about us. So making sure health professionals know about the product and its benefits is essential.
This France mission also gave us the opportunity for a couple of excellent meetings with private sector distributors. We need a partner(s) that can begin to open up that market for us and find key opinion leaders in those markets that can tout the product. That’s where we lean on the expertise of the ONB team; they really help in terms of connecting us to all the right people.
So matchmaking went well in France?
Very well, both ONB and our matchmaker worked extremely hard on the ground in France to maximize every day. It wasn’t only a chance for matchmaking; I also visited the UK to meet with our distributor there, we’re doing very well there. We actually met them on our June 2017 mission with ONB. We also checked out the FIBO health and fitness show in Cologne while we were visiting our German distributor. Stress incontinence has adverse health effects for women; it causes some to avoid physical activity and they abstain from fitness. So we thought that show might be an interesting opportunity for us.
Can you expand on the relationship between Resilia and ONB?
I can’t say enough good things about ONB, you’ve all been tremendous. As a small team, we have to use our time wisely. Also, we own a patent so we need to get to market quick; we don’t have forever. ONB has saved us so much time and helped us make the most out of each day of our trade missions.
We’ve also worked with ONB for support with marketing initiatives to help us both domestically and internationally.
What advice can you offer other New Brunswick companies considering Europe for export development?
Leverage the work ONB can do for you in advance. Whether it’s regulatory in nature — very important in our case — or about understanding the competitive environment, your team can help. All that information coupled with your company’s own market research will help make your time in Europe truly successful. So do your own research, but leverage this matchmaker concept; they can carve through a lot of things we can’t possibly know right away on our own.
Also, don’t just look for the largest market; look for the market that best aligns with your product and its benefits.
Finally, follow up. We’re now following up on all of our meetings in France and ensuring, with help from the matchmaker ONB introduced us to, that we secure a private sector distributor and get them educated on uresta®. Product knowledge for our distributors is key.
Learn more at uresta.com.
Written by Jason Boies
Images via Resilia Inc.