The 2007 International Innovator award, presented by Gov. John Baldacci, went to Trillium Diagnostics, LLC, of Brewer for developing innovative medical diagnostics. Photo by Ramona du Houx

August/September 2007

By Ramona du Houx

As the world moves further into the global economy, unique, crafted products are more in demand. The internet puts the world’s marketplace at our fingertips, which has helped to expand some businesses. A small company trading on eBay can make a decent income, based in a rural community.

For other businesses the internet is a showcase for them to exhibit their goods and services to customers, but doesn’t represent regular sales. Making connections still remains paramount for business. The human touch builds trust. One can go on a virtual tour of a country through the internet, but it will never surpass the experiences of visiting the country and making discoveries about its people and their needs. This year the Maine International Trade Center (MITC) is hosting a trade mission to South Korea and Japan.

Companies participating on trade missions discover that unexpected partnerships can and do develop. Companies networking — sharing ideas and connections — is also critical abroad, as well as here at home.

In Rockport, more than 230 business leaders and entrepreneurs established international trading connections, while learning new methods to stay competitive in the global economy, as part of the MITC’s annual Trade Day, Innovations 2007: International Partnerships and Technology Solutions for Maine.

The event focused on utilizing innovation, technology, and networking to help Maine businesses thrive in the international market, while also recognizing several local companies for excellence in international trade and investment.

“This year’s Maine International Trade Day had a record number of international participants from trade offices and consulates worldwide. Innovation is a critical ingredient in the development of all economies, and we were delighted to see so many international trade specialists meeting and discussing potential partnerships in innovation with our Maine companies and cooperators,” said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, director of MITC.

During the Trade Day event, Governor Baldacci presented the annual International Trade and Investment Awards to four Maine companies that have demonstrated outstanding success in international trade.

Oak Island Seafood Inc. of Rockport was named Exporter of the Year. The scallop processing company provides fresh and frozen scallops around the world.

Portland-based Diversified Business Communications received the Service Provider of the Year honors for producing more than 100 events and publications.

The 2007 International Innovator award went to Trillium Diagnostics, LLC, of Brewer for developing innovative medical diagnostics.

Britain-based Tate & Lyle was named Maine’s Foreign Investor of the Year. Tate & Lyle is a world-leading manufacturer of renewable food and industrial ingredients made from corn, tapioca, potato, wheat, and sugar.

“This annual event highlights the importance of foreign markets to growing Maine companies. It is important for Maine companies to know that the strong Maine brand is now known worldwide, and international markets represent a tremendous opportunity for growth,” said Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner John Richardson.