Posts Tagged ‘Small Business Administration’

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Spreading the Word about How to Succeed in Exporting

October 4, 2011

By John Ward, a writer in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.

A conference last month in San Diego, California, brought together more than 1,300 business counselors from around the country. With help from several Department of Commerce bureaus, including the International Trade Administration, participants sharpened their export counseling skills.

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

Thanks to detailed training sessions that featured export specialists from the International Trade Administration (ITA), other federal agencies, and public and private partners in the trade community, more than 1,300 business counselors from Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) recently updated their knowledge and skills in how to best help U.S. companies export.

The sessions were part of the annual convention for the Association of Small Business Development Centers, which was held in San Diego, California, on September 6–9, 2011. The SBDCs are a nationwide network of business counseling centers that are hosted by universities, colleges, and state economic development agencies. They are funded in part through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and many work closely with ITA’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs). There are approximately 1,000 SBDCs located throughout the country.

For More Information

To find the location of the nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center, visit the U.S. government export portal at www.export.gov or contact the Trade Information Center, tel.: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723). More information about Small Business Development Centers, including links to local offices, is available at www.sba.gov. Click on “Small Business Development Centers” under “Counseling and Training.”

Certification Process

These small business counselors were among those who had the opportunity to learn more about exporting through a series of workshops cohosted by the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee at the convention of the Association of Small Business Development Centers held in San Diego, California, September 6–9. (photo © Association of Small Business Development Centers)

These small business counselors were among those who had the opportunity to learn more about exporting through a series of workshops cohosted by the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee at the convention of the Association of Small Business Development Centers held in San Diego, California, September 6–9. (photo © Association of Small Business Development Centers)

By taking the training at the convention, SBDC staff members can qualify for certification as export counselors. The impetus for this training comes from the National Export Initiative (NEI) and the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.

President Barack Obama announced the NEI in the State of the Union Address in January 2010. It calls for doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014. The Small Business Jobs Act requires that no less than five individuals or 10 percent of the staff from each of the 63 “lead” SBDCs be qualified as international trade counselors. (A “lead” SBDC is the institution that holds a contract with the SBA. It is responsible for administering and operating the SBDC program within a given jurisdiction, usually a state or territory.)

Introductory and Intermediate Topics

ITA was directly involved in more than 10 exporting sessions at the conference through the work of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), which is a federal interagency body that coordinates federal export promotion efforts.

The sessions included introductory and intermediate tracks and covered topics such as export marketing and sales, global logistics and supply chain, export regulations, and international trade payments. Presenters included representatives from the Census Bureau and the TPCC.

The sessions focused on the basics of exporting because SBDC business counselors will be focusing their efforts on the needs of first-time exporters. Companies that are already exporting will be referred to the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service staff at the local USEAC.

Fulfilling a Mandate for Export Growth

The training sessions come at a propitious moment as the goal date set by the NEI comes closer. This cooperative approach also underscores how small and medium-sized enterprises can benefit when government agencies, along with public–private partnerships, join their complementary skills to more effectively promote U.S. exports.

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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

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