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'Activating Prosperity' At Exporting Forum

Photo: EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman Addressing Capacity Crowd at Exporting Forum (Standing Right)Largo, MD, February 22, 2016 - More than 125 local small businesses turned out on Wednesday at the Prince George's County Economic Development (EDC) headquarters to find out how to double their revenue by tapping into billions of dollars in opportunity by exporting their goods and services. The businesses packed the room at the EDC's Prince George's County International Business Export Forum to hear from a 'Dream Team' of experts from the Maryland Department of Commerce and the United States Department of Commerce. The experts showed business owners exactly which countries and sectors are most in need of goods and services, how to reach new customers through more than 100different business development agents globally, how to build capacity in their company to be able to sell and deliver goods around the world, and more.

"Our ultimate objective is growing our local small businesses through exporting to the point where they must create more jobs to keep up with the demand for their goods and services all over the world," said EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman. "The Commerce Department and the State of Maryland have more than 100 business development managers scattered all over the globe, ready to help our businesses connect to new customers in hot industry sectors. We are fully committed to ensuring that our local, small businesses take advantage of the State and federal resources that will help them grow and hire more residents. It's time for our local companies to connect to the world of opportunities beyond our shores. That is 'Activating Prosperity' by exporting."

The EDC's 'Activate Prosperity' initiative, launched in January, is an aggressive three-year plan designed to rapidly grow Prince George's County businesses by connecting them with valuable resources and programs; thereby creating more jobs for county residents.

"We were amazed by the number of Prince George's County businesses who came out today to learn about exporting and accessing State and federal resources to accelerate their global growth," said Signe Pringle, Managing Director of the Office of International Trade with the Maryland Department of Commerce. "We look forward to looking back at the end of the year to see how many new markets Prince George's County businesses tapped into through our programs; how many export sales were completed how many leads you were able to gain from going to trade missions with the State or on your own, and most importantly how many new jobs have been created. Today's event proved that there is a lot of interest in exporting and we stand ready to assist."

The expert panelists provided detailed information on critical aspects of exporting, including: how to develop an international business plan, which countries are most in need of goods and services, how to access thousands of dollars in government funding to cover the cost of travel overseas and how to secure low-cost financing to help them build capacity in their company to enable them to sell and deliver goods and services to clients all over the world.

"Exporting supports sales growth by continuously providing new markets for local goods and services to be sold in. That's where I come in," said Bill Houck, Regional Manager, Office of International Trade, U.S. Small Business Administration and one of the Forum's presenters. "My office specializes in export working capital, structuring transactions and risk management assessments so businesses won't stall when going after a foreign sale. Our job is to help with the financing capacity of businesses and export credit insurance to help companies get the most out of their international deals."

Attendees were particularly interested in the U.S. Commercial Services' international business-to-business matching-making presentation which provided key information on where the greatest demand is for their local products and services. Additionally, critical information was provided on how to gain easy entry into targeted countries and industries around the world.

"The U.S. Commercial Services' office is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce, with offices in the U.S. as well as overseas staffed with more than 100 market and industry specialists around the world with connections to foreign governments, industry associations and business prospects," said Aisha Jones, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Export Assistance Center. "Our job is to connect exporting companies to trade shows, buyers, distributors, sales representatives, partners for projects and the like. By using our services, we talk to them specifically for your company. It's that simple."

The Forum met with great appreciation from all of the attendees. Many of the local companies had never considered exporting before attending last weeks Forum.

"Today's export event was very exciting and the information was invaluable," said Demetri and Kristine West, of West Construction, International. "We are glad to know about the programs available to our company. Without this Forum, we would have never thought about exporting, or about the number of customers to sell our services to across the pond. Now we are prepared to move forward with an international business plan and take our business to the next level."

If you would like more information about exporting your goods and services overseas, please contact John Mason at (301) 583-4650 or jamason@co.pg.md.us today!