Trade fairs: a gateway to international business opportunities?


Nicolas Mesly | Journalist

Logiag had the brilliant idea of developing a revolutionary soil analysis system. But what really propelled the Ch√Ęteauguay-based company onto the international stage was its participation in the September 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase in St. Louis, Missouri.

"I don't have any advice for other entrepreneurs, but I can tell you a story," says Jacques Nault, Logiag's vice-president and one of its owners. 

The family-owned business, which specializes in agricultural consulting, developed a revolutionary soil analysis system named SOLID - a contraction of the words "sol" ("soil") and "identification." The system can not only determine the quantity of heavy metals in a sample, but also the whole soil matrix, which is much more complex than just a rock.

With the technology in place, it was time to promote it. The Ag Innovation Showcase was their launchpad. "We're used to dealing with farmers. In St. Louis, we had access to major high-tech companies and venture capitalists," says Nault, who sings the praises of Alexis Roy, Consul and Trade Commissioner at the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago, who "paved the way."  

Logiag received numerous partnership offers after the show. But the main stakeholders intend to retain ownership of the technology. The company has since signed agreements with businesses in a number of countries, including France, Tunisia, Zambia, Ukraine, Turkey and Australia. 

"You have to believe in yourself to see things through and make the business solid," he adds. Because competition is fierce. American labs can treat up to 4,000 soil samples at a lower cost using chemical techniques. To compete, the new generation SOLID system, which is much more accurate (5% margin of error compared to 25% with traditional analysis), aims for 1,000 samples a day. 

The company is riding high, but there's still some work to be done before the first deliveries are made.

Logiag Inc. won the 2016 Desjardins Entrepreneur Award for Western Quebec and Ontario, in the Innovation and Productivity - Small Business category. To find out more, go to www.desjardins.com/entrepreneurawards

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