Amy Reichert is the Director of Trade and Investment for the Americas at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).
It took two tries, but this year our team of trade experts at the Colorado International Trade Office joined the ranks of MDCP recipients with a program tailored to promote exports of cleantech and environmental products and services to China and Mexico. CO-EXist, or Colorado Export of Innovative and Sustainable Technologies, officially launches in January, 2010.
We vaguely knew about MDCP, but it wasn’t until we met another MDCP recipient at a trade show in Chile that we started to see its value and brainstormed ideas for a program of our own. The International Trade Office (ITO) team enthusiastically began to form our proposal.
We explored markets and industries where we thought we could have an impact among Colorado exporters. With a strong state-wide push to develop the “New Energy Economy”, we narrowed our industry focus to renewable energy. But looking more closely at our base of potential exporters, we expanded the focus to incorporate all environmental technologies: water and wastewater infrastructure; air pollution control; energy efficiency; clean and renewable energy infrastructure and generation; waste management and recycling; monitoring and compliance; green building; transportation technologies; and the list goes on….
Maybe it’s our inherent desire to protect the natural beauty that is Colorado, or our deeply-rooted mining history, but we’ve long had a strong base of environmental companies, and we designed our program to capitalize on and further strengthen that core competitive advantage. Colorado’s cleantech culture is evidenced by the fact that we are the first state in the nation to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by a vote of the people.
Next up, picking our target markets. We have some advantages in Mexico with an office in Mexico City, Spanish-speaking staff, and significant market demand. It’s also often a market picked by first-time exporters. China is also key. It’s a large and growing market, but can be difficult to navigate, especially for small companies. Through CO-EXist, and with the support of our MDCP team, we believe we can reduce risk and facilitate market entry for Colorado companies.
Although our first application was unsuccessful, the seeds had been planted. Even without MDCP support, we began implementing components of our proposal – and with great success! We applied again and were rewarded for our efforts.
Now with the full support of our MDCP team, and other local partners, we look forward to a fruitful partnership and many company success stories!