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Small Medical Technology Firm Overcomes Shipping Challenges and Succeeds in International Sales

June 30, 2017

Pompeya Lambrecht is a senior international trade specialist in the U.S. Commercial Service Northern Virginia office and a member of the Global Healthcare Team. The U.S. Commercial Service is the export promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Last year I met Patrick Cheng, CEO of eKare, Inc., when he was signing a distribution agreement to sell his firm’s medical wound imaging devices in Asia and other regions throughout the world.  This is a big success for the Washington, D.C., area start-up that wasestablished in 2014.  However, without previous international shipping experience, Cheng needed help figuring out how best to ship his products. tech

eKare’s products use machine intelligence and sensor technologies to deliver wound imaging directly to a mobile device at the point of care.  While the product looks like a tablet, it’s a medical device powered by eKare’s proprietary software.

High-tech medical devices such as these make our lives better, but they present special challenges in the international trade environment.  For instance, do you ship the device as a computer tablet or a medical device?  What product registrations does eKare need to comply with foreign government regulations?  What U.S. export regulations does eKare need to observe?

With the help of the U.S. Commercial Service and introductions to private sector volunteers like Kathy O’Keefe, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve on the Virginia/D.C. District Export Council, eKare completed its first international shipments.

“Exporting can be very complicated, and we couldn’t have done it without guidance from Pompeya and Kathy, and support from the U.S. Department of Commerce,” Cheng said.

Selling internationally can seem daunting.  Nevertheless, with management’s commitment and patience to sell overseas, even small companies like eKare can increase their international footprint.  There is a network of resources available to help small and medium-sized companies sell internationally.  These include other federal agencies like the EXIM Bank as well as local economic development partnerships, like the Virginia Small Business Development Center.  Healthcare firms can access sector-specific resources from the U.S. Commercial Service Global Healthcare Team. To learn more, please contact your local U.S. Commercial Service office.

 

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