Export Rhode Island!

One of the major focal points for strengthening the Rhode Island economy must be exporting our products and services. Expanding overseas is your express lane to new markets, new ideas, a world of adventure and best of all, new business opportunities!

Consider the following:

  • 95% of all customers and 70% of the world’s purchasing power are outside the U.S.
  • Nearly three-quarters of U.S. exporters have fewer than 20 employees.
  • U.S. companies that export not only grow faster, but are less likely to go out of business than non-exporting companies.
  • 87 % of world economic growth over the next five years will take place outside of the U.S. (U.S. World Monetary Fund)
  • Over the past 22 years, exports have contributed on average 31% to all GDP growth in the U.S. (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

If you have not considered, or have and decided not to explore exporting, then you need to look around at your competitors and business partners and realize what has been happening in the Ocean State. Rhode Island was one of 29 states recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration as having achieved record growth in 2012, recording a 4.1 percent growth from 2011, totaling $2.4 billion in total export value. As a driver of job growth, it is estimated that one job is created for every $200,000 in exports.

Recent Rhode Island trade missions in the last few years to Japan, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Israel, Panama and most recently to China and Hong Kong have estimates of $11 million in projected new sales and 125 business leads resulting from these missions. An additional $5 million is projected in new sales from assisting companies with international trade shows.

The question facing businesses pondering globalization should not be “Why?” but rather “Why not?”

Global business planning starts with management commitment, defining your global business strategy as part of the overall corporate business plan. Acknowledge international as a corporate responsibility with risks and responsibility and allocate the appropriate resources of money, manpower and production.

Once you have the management commitment, develop a strategic plan that will integrate all departments into the plan, initiate market research, provide training and know your responsibilities. Time is of the essence as it can take upwards of 18 months to plan, develop, execute, develop relationships abroad and record your first export sale.

The good news is that you are not alone in this journey. Besides your business associates that may already be exporting, the following resources are available locally to assist you at little or no cost. Take advantage of these professionals and call today!

Chaffee Center for International Trade at Bryant University – www.chafeecenter.bryant.edu

Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation – www.riedc.com

U.S. Department of Commerce – www.trade.gov

Small Business Administration – www.sba.gov/ri

Small Business Development Center – www.risbdc.org

Get started, get going and go global! 

Peter D. Conopask is the Providence Metro Regional Director for the RI Small Business Development Center and in house contact for International Trade.

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