Times have certainly been uncertain in 2020 as the global economy grapples with the effects of Covid-19 while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. Among the hardest hit by the effects of Covid are our nation’s small businesses who have been struggling to retain their work force and to keep their doors open. Some businesses are taking this time to look abroad for new customers, as countries around the world are rebounding from the virus at different rates. Since companies that export are known to be more resilient, pay higher wages, and reap higher profits, it is recommended that small businesses and/or manufacturers consider exporting as a viable extension of their business models.
Don’t know where to start? Luckily, there are a great many resources available to help you determine your export readiness and potential, as well as to assist you with your international trade education and foreign lead development.
District Export Councils: Established by the U.S. Department of Commerce, there are 61 District Export Councils around the country that provide leadership and international trade mentoring to their communities. Our local District Export Council, the Central-North Florida DEC, contains more than 30 members with a wide variety of expertise including international law, freight and shipping, international accounting and export compliance. For more information about the Central-North Florida DEC and the experts that can assist you in finding export solutions, click here.
U.S. Commercial Service: The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. With trade specialists located in U.S. embassies and consulates in over 75 countries, the mission of the CS is to advance and protect U.S. commercial and economic interests around the world. This is done via one-on-one guidance with trade specialists, business matchmaking, market intelligence, trade advocacy activities, and commercial diplomacy efforts. For more information about the U.S. Commercial Service, click here.
Enterprise Florida: Enterprise Florida is a public-private partnership between Florida’s business and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for Florida. As such, EFI is the state’s primary entity for trade and export development, supporting more than 60,000 Florida exporting business. EFI has a broad network of 14 international offices in 13 countries, and six trade offices located around the state. Additionally, EFI provides many grants and incentives to qualified small businesses that are interested in pursing export markets. For more information about the services and programs that EFI can provide your business, click here.
Florida Small Business Development Centers: The Florida SBDC Network is state designated as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance, with a host of consultants that provide assistance across a range of topics, including international trade. FSBDC International Trade Specialists are located strategically throughout the state to guide and support small businesses that are interested in engaging in global commerce. For more information about how the Florida SBDC can provide you with no cost international trade consulting, or for guidance on how to apply for an Export Marketing Plan grant, please visit the Florida SBDC website.
NASBITE: The National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE) is the leading authority and industry standard for global business education, trade credentialing, training and practice. NASBITE accomplishes its missions through a portfolio of programs and services including: an annual conference and National Small Business Exporter Summit, Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) credentialing and training, professional development opportunities for those engaged in global business education and trade assistance, member services including resource materials and networking linkages, advocacy and leadership in the areas of global business education and trade assistance, and a variety of annual awards for those involved in global business education and assistance professionals. For more information about how NASBITE can provide support and education to your exporting company, click here.