Why Your Business Shouldn't Stop at the Border

Learning how to negotiate the U.S. market helped Atlantis Programs and Pedalhead Bike Camps to a spot on the 2015 PROFIT 500

Written by Carol Toller
Pedalhead Bike Camps’ Claudia Sjoberg. Photo: Hubert Kang

When Canadian business owners look to expand to new markets, they typically stay within the country. Growth might mean a move to Western Canada or the Atlantic region.

The United States? Not so much. But when your business is based in Vancouver, expanding down the west coast sometimes seems like a natural progression. That’s why Claudia Sjoberg eventually pushed Pedalheads, her recreational swim and bike programs for kids, into the Seattle market. Fuelled by this and other smart moves, Atlantis Programs and Pedalheads Bike Camps has grown 161% over the last five years, earning the company the #324 spot on the 2015 PROFIT 500 Ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.

The move wasn’t easy. “We quickly realized there were a bunch of things we didn’t know, and there were different rules and regulations to deal with,” Sjoberg says. But rather than give up, she went to MBA school at Royal Roads University to learn how to deal with the strategic and logistical challenges of international expansion. Now she’s aiming to open in most major U.S. urban centres—and perhaps other countries, too.


Have you tried crossing the border? Share your U.S. export experiences using the comments section below.

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