America’s Small Businesses Find a Competitive Edge with CreativityJune 19, 2013
Michael Masserman and Ashley Zuelke work in the Office of Export Policy, Promotion & Strategy.
People in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood know artist Nikolas Weinstein for his cascading glass sculpture at a local restaurant, but U.S. customers are only 10 percent of Weinstein’s business. As we celebrate National Small Business Week, Nikolas Weinstein Studios deserves recognition as proof that – with a product or service that can be sold internationally – no business is too small or specialized to succeed in the global marketplace.
With a team of 10, Nikolas Weinstein Studios produces large-scale glass sculptural installations that hang in luxury hotels, commercial spaces, and private residences across the globe.
Initially, Weinstein met global customers by word-of-mouth. In 2009, they began working with the U.S. Commercial Service in San Francisco to seek counseling on international markets in Japan, China and Hong Kong. Since teaming with the U.S. Commerce Department, their international business has increased more than four-fold. In the past two years, more than 70 percent of their total business has resulted from working with the Commercial Service.
Businesses with stories like Nikolas Weinstein Studios support our efforts under the President’s National Export Initiative to increase U.S. exports and support millions of jobs here at home. We’re committed to helping all U.S. businesses start selling internationally or expand global sales, but we recognize that small businesses have unique needs. In fact, small businesses represent nearly 85 percent of the companies we help at the International Trade Administration.
Small businesses also account for 98 percent of known U.S. exporting companies, and they are increasing their share of exports. In 2011, small and medium-sized businesses accounted for 33 percent of the overall value of U.S. goods exports – up from 27 percent nine years ago.
We also know small businesses create two out of three net new private sector jobs in our economy. And today, half of all working Americans either own or work for a small business.
That’s why the Administration has focused its efforts on increasing the number of U.S. small and medium-sized exporters and making it easier for them to access federal export assistance.
We’re working to accomplish this by expanding access to trade financing and ensuring the most efficient delivery of our services to help small businesses establish a foothold abroad, compete on a level playing field, diversify their markets, and support additional good-paying American jobs.
Small businesses like Nikolas Weinstein Studios characterize the American entrepreneurial spirit. At the International Trade Administration, we see American products as the gold standard of quality and innovation. For small businesses interested in the global market, Weinstein has some simple advice – “Remember: American creativity is something people value.”