One of the first commercial projects our newly formed team was involved in was done for the Government of Ivanovo Region in the Russian Federation. The task was to help local companies and trade promotion organizations to better understand their export potential and competitiveness abroad.

In our experience, many exporters and development institutions often suffer from a lack of focus. Be it a trade mission or another form of trade promotion activity, wrong buyers and sellers often end up meeting instead of their right counterparts and less then perfect markets are being targeted. Creating a map based on facts and real data that everyone can easily understand at a glance was needed.

A surprising finding for many companies in Ivanovo was that most locally produced goods were not competitive in China at all. Despite all the political goodwill and Kremlin's desire to increase mutual trade with the country, our calculations suggested this was simply not the right way for the region.

In fact, out of more than 1200+ products studied only 3 had a real potential to be exported to China from Ivanovo, including some rubber and wood products. However, both of these industries are highly consolidated in Russia and the local government was looking for more diversification opportunities, as well as to concentrate on truly local manufacturers.

With that in mind, 140 export products were identified with the highest potential in the region. Some were historical champions, like textile industry as Ivanovo was the textile powerhouse since the Soviet era, but others required additional study before they could be advised to target or otherwise.

For example, it took additional review of logistical costs in Ivanovo to remove all foodstuffs requiring refrigerated containers to be shipped to potential clients from the consideration. Reason - too high costs making products not competitive.

Full interactive dashboard with additional data and ability to filter content by destination, industry or specific product can be made available to local companies by making a request to the Ivanovo Center of Export Support.

The original publication (in Russian) that was drafted to supplement the interactive dashboard we developed for Ivanovo companies is available here.