Government Funding Used to Create a Business Resource For Association Members – Case Study

Government Funding Used to Create a Business Resource For Association Members – Case Study

This case study looks at how Bramm Research worked with the Canadian Dam Association to create a valuable business resource for their members. Importantly, the CDA had secured government funding to make this happen.

Profile of the Canadian Dam Association

The Canadian Dam Association/ Association Canadienne des Barrages (CDA/ACB) is an association of dam owners, operators, regulators, consultants, contractors and suppliers. Its objective is to provide leadership, encourage co-operation, advance technical knowledge and build competency related to dams in Canada and internationally. CDA represents Canada on the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).

CDA’s key resource is the expert knowledge and experience of its individual and corporate members in dam design, construction and operation. By working collaboratively, CDA members develop guidance on emerging and difficult issues facing the dam industry. CDA’s guidance documents are recognized throughout Canada, and internationally, as being among the best in practice in for this sector.

The opportunity that was being explored

 “The goal of the market research initiative,” according to Don Butcher, Executive Director of CDA, “was to identify opportunities for Canadian Dam Association (CDA) member organizations to deliver training on their technical products, and thus develop leads for international business.”

The CDA international business development model is to deliver short workshop-style seminars in markets where Canadian companies are considering doing business, in order to:

  • Build awareness of Canadian dam engineering practice and
  • Provide networking opportunities for Canadian companies to meet with potential business clients and decision makers (e.g. dam owners, regulators, government officials involved in the dam industry, etc.)

The regions and countries to be considered were four countries in South Asia, and 19 countries in Africa.

The project had a two-phase approach – To identify prospects, and business opportunities.

Phase 1 of the project needed to:

  • Identify the organizations within the target markets that CDA could approach to sponsor and promote the delivery of the CDA training and provide Canadian dam industry networking opportunities.
  • Identify opportunities for the Canadian dam industry to conduct future business and determine the risks associated with doing business in the target markets.

Phase 2 of the research was to provide a comparative analysis of the markets, and make recommendations for future CDA initiatives.

How Bramm Research conducted the study

Research Methodology

Extensive secondary research was conducted on the key areas of focus, and by country. Web searches initially identified relevant information sources – Consultants drew upon CDA resources where available.

  • Information was sorted and classified according to criteria identified in the RFP, i.e.
    • A country suitability assessment, in terms of:
      • Safety and security
      • Favourable opportunities for new dam construction
      • Favourable opportunities to assess and advise on existing dam infrastructure
    • Creation of an organization inventory by country
    • Assessment of business opportunities by country
    • A comparative analysis of prospect countries

Key deliverables for the research included an organization inventory, and market analysis.

Key deliverables of the research included:

  • A detailed organization inventory for the candidate countries, that included organization names, URLs, key contact information such as personnel email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses.
  • A market profile for each candidate country, that provided an overview of its business environment, economic and transparency risk profile, business ties to Canada, and safety and security of the country location. Also provided was an overview of the candidate country’s dam and hydropower development, along with observations on future business development potential.
  • A comparative analysis provided a short list of candidate countries with the most potential, along with those not recommended for business risk or safety reasons.

Key takeaways from the project

  • Market analysis supported by web-based research can be effectively used to build business development resources for associations and their members.
  • Such research can be affordable - Funding contributions can be obtained from the Federal Government, for association global initiatives that meet the eligibility criteria of Global Affairs Canada.
  • The research and analysis thus completed can form the basis for targeted primary market research to address more customized information requirements.

How the study was funded

  • CDA was able to obtain research funding from Global Opportunities for Associations (GOA), an offering by Global Affairs Canada, a Government of Canada ministry. GOA provides contribution funding to support national associations undertaking new or expanded international business development activities, in strategic markets and sectors, for the benefit of an entire industry (member and non-member firms). More details can be found at:


For more information on this project, contact us at: or call 905-465-3578. Visit our website at:


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