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ITA Joins with Small Business Development Centers to Help U.S. Exporters

October 4, 2011

By Philippa Olsen, a marketing and communications specialist with the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

Lyn Doverspike (center), director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Export Assistance Center, speaking at an Export Achievement Award ceremony for Cardinal Resources LLC. Exports account for close to 80 percent of the environmental services company’s sales. Also attending the ceremony were Rep. Mike Doyle (right) and Kevin Jones, president of Cardinal Resources (left). (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Lyn Doverspike (center), director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Export Assistance Center, speaking at an Export Achievement Award ceremony for Cardinal Resources LLC. Exports account for close to 80 percent of the environmental services company’s sales. Also attending the ceremony were Rep. Mike Doyle (right) and Kevin Jones, president of Cardinal Resources (left). (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

In their business counseling efforts, the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) often work closely with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) through the network of U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs). There are more than 100 USEACs located across the country that are staffed by trade specialists who can provide market intelligence, trade counseling, business matchmaking, and advocacy support. The USEACs can also call on the knowledge and expertise of the USFCS’s overseas staff members, who are located in more than 75 U.S. embassies and consulates.

Lyn Doverspike, director of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USEAC noted, “SBDCs are a perfect partner for us because they provide trade counseling for new exporters, as our complementary focus is on companies already exporting.” She added that “companies exporting for the first time have a longer timeline before they begin, and SBDCs offer foundational counseling for them before the U.S. Commercial Service steps in and offers them specific exporting assistance.”

This collaboration is especially beneficial in rural areas, commented Vickie Gyenes, a global trade manager who assists small businesses in the Appalachian region of western Pennsylvania through the St. Vincent College SBDC in Latrobe and the St. Francis University SBDC in Ebensburg. “Our clients are all small to medium-sized enterprises and may have experimented with exports in the past, but now see exporting as a vital part of their business,” she said. “SBDCs provide secondary market research; organize educational seminars—from basic training to more complicated topics, such as export controls; and work with the USEACs who have overseas presence and expertise. It’s a joint effort and a great relationship.”

In 2010, the St. Vincent College SBDC’s Center for Global Competitiveness received the President’s E Award for Export Service. This annual award recognizes U.S. companies and organizations that facilitate export trade and contribute to U.S. job growth and competitiveness. From late 2009 through 2010, the center’s efforts directly generated more than $8.9 million in increased export sales for Pennsylvania companies, accounting for more than 150 new or retained jobs

9 comments

  1. Good oportunity for smaller rural companies. I hope the specs from 2009-2010 can be beat this year. Do keep up the good work!


  2. The work that is being done by the Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) working with the International Trade Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) through the network of U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) is very interesting. Since my family hails from the geographic areas mentioned here small business development is dear to my heart.


  3. Given the current state of our economy, small businesses need all the help they can get as it is these SME’s that will be a key part of our economic recovery.


  4. Great post! This is a big opportunity for small entrepreneurs and beneficial for rural areas businesses. Keep up the good work! Looking forward for your next post. Thanks!

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  5. This may have already been mentioned, but again, great post! It is a very good and extremely beneficial for small entrepreneurs. Supporting the geographical areas and the surroundings is also extremely beneficial to local economies. Great work and keep it up!

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  6. We can be grateful for the assistance the SBDC and International Trade Assoc provide for small to mid-sized entrepreneurs. Counseling such as this is no different than mentoring and will help shorten the learning curve for doing business. Especially in today’s economy it’s good to see this happening and we can only hope for even more programs in the future. Thanks for this post.


  7. The work of the SBDC’s is really critical since most US companies are small businesses, and exports are integral to our economic recovery and growth.


  8. The economy can make a great leap forward with the support of the SBDC especially in the rural small business entity. This will help create more jobs an overall benefit our economy as a whole.


  9. Great work and keep it up



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