On December 3, 2015, I spoke at the California ExporTech Program to an elite group of small businesses that are looking to expand into international markets. It was an opportunity to educate companies that are beginning to export about some of the financing difficulties they may face and how to overcome them. Given TradeUp’s commitment to helping companies with globalizing ambitions, we were grateful for the opportunity to attend and speak.
In many ways, the ExporTech Programs are an accelerator for new-to-export companies. It provides connections with the SBA, Department of Commerce, international finance and banking experts, as well as freight forwarding service providers and it helps companies develop an actionable go-to-market plan for achieving export growth. Companies learn how to evaluate potential export markets and then how to actually identify and approach potential customers. The program has a great track record, with the average company generating an additional $500k - $1m in export related sales after implementing the export plan developed in the program.
My personal take away was how much we take for granted in the U.S. about our relationships with customers and suppliers. In much of the world, deals still require a face-to-face encounter, because the personal relationship is just as important (if not more so) than the financial benefit of the deal. The Gold Key Matching Service and trade missions are great ways for SMEs to make these personal connections.
This was the second of three workshops for the companies, and I am looking forward to attending the final session in January to see the final export plans developed by these companies.