Resources to Help Your Business Tap Overseas Markets

In an effort to narrow America’s trade deficit, the Obama administration unveiled the National Export Initiative (NEI), which among other things, is designed to foster growth in the number of minority owned enterprises that sell products and services in not just another country — but multiple countries.

This was underscored in Friday’s speeches by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and David Hinson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency given at the annual Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference (MEDWeek) in Washington DC.

According to Locke, the Obama administration wants to increase by 50% the number of minority businesses exporting to more than one country. He says minority owned businesses provide some 6 million jobs with gross receipts of over $1 trillion and almost $170 billion in payroll. “They are also are twice as likely to export as traditional companies either because of cultural or family ties or business connections that they have with other countries,” he says. “And that really plays into the President’s National Export Initiative, which seeks to double the amount of exports over the next five years.”

Locke points out that less than 1% of US companies export goods — a significantly lower rate than other developed countries. As it’s in the nation’s own economic interests to narrow the trade deficit, there are scores of resources available to small businesses looking to sell their products and services overseas.

- is a portal that aggregates resources from other government agencies to help entrepreneurs compete globally. Their services include market research, trade events, trade leads, and information on how to export. The site also offers the downloadable Export Programs Guide: A Business Guide to Federal Export Assistance

-    The Export-Import Bank of the United States provides export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing by assuming credit and country risks that.

-    The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in nearly 80 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets.

-    The International Trade Administration strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements. ITA has 2,100 employees assisting U.S. exporters in more than 100 U.S. cities and 77 countries