I joined the NRC IRAP International team in 2013 when it was just a start-up, so to speak, and became the team leader. While operationalizing the financial support for Canadian firms was important, a lot of focus was also placed on creating advisory service offerings to help Canadian SMEs develop their international co-innovation strategies and plans, and build key R&D partnerships with innovators abroad. One of the most interesting and rewarding parts of the job is being "on the ground" in different parts of the world supporting Canadian clients in real time, helping them to identify partnering opportunities, and advising them on collaboration issues, be they business, financial, technical or otherwise. The support I provided to clients was more than just business and technical, it also included how to engage with different cultures, different business practices, and how to navigate what was often for them a new business landscape. Creating new international programs, testing them, investing in the ones that worked, scaling them up and absorbing so much knowledge along the way reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of NRC IRAP International that today serves over 500 Canadian SMEs per year.