Over dinner one night during the Arab Health Conference in Dubai, we played the alphabet game with countries we’d met. I met someone from a country starting with A—Algeria. I met someone from a country starting with B—Bahrain. And so on, all the way through the alphabet.
The Tembua team had met people from at least one country for every letter of the alphabet except X. Most of the letters had multiples—Germany, Greece, Great Britain (well, that last one might be cheating). According to the show information, 153 countries were represented at Arab Health, and we talked to someone from almost every one. With very different backgrounds, they were united by the concept of improving health for people everywhere, whether with pharmaceuticals or with devices.
I stopped at random booths and asked, “What is that?” and “What do you do?” From neonatal transport systems to highly specialized diagnostic tools, from scar removal surgery to beds that help protect dementia patients, from rheumatology to wound care—the answers amazed me. I was filled with hope that our translations would help take some of these advances into places where they are badly needed.
During the event, US exhibitors were encouraged to meet with commercial specialists from the countries in the region.
These specialists work in the US Commercial Services area of the US Department of Commerce and are experts on and often natives of the regions they represent.
Across the four-day conference, I met with commercial specialists from 11 different countries. My goal was, of course, to assess market opportunities and barriers for Tembua and also to ask about expanding our list of subject matter experts.
From India to Libya, from Egypt to Oman (and seven others), I learned about the state of the economy and where development is happening, which sectors might be ready for our services and where the situation is simply not good for our type of firm. Some promised to send our information on as an introduction to the appropriate people.
I also heard things like, “It isn’t really so bad in our country. The former ruler ruined our international reputation.” Or, “Several groups came to us offering to help set up a health care system and have only taught our people different forms of greed and corruption.” Or, “We are building new medical facilities, both public and private, and the health authorities will need your type of service.”
They spoke of trade missions planned and asked how we could support them. I listened, took notes, asked questions and answered theirs as completely as I could.
With all this help, Tembua is sure to expand in this region!