SBA, Inc. Magazine and AT&T Join Forces to Promote Exporting by U.S. Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Small businesses seeking to grow their businesses and create jobs through exporting can turn to new, free educational videos created through a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Inc. Magazine and AT&T.

Through the public-private partnership, a series of video modules has been developed to inspire and encourage American small businesses to actively pursue exporting and to educate them on how to do so.

“Winning the future means supporting small businesses that want to grow and create jobs through exporting,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.  “SBA is very pleased to have partnered with Inc. Magazine and AT&T in the production and distribution of this video series, which will help small firms that are new to exporting or looking for new markets to sell their goods and services.”

The video series, Take Your Business Global, features five main topics that guide small businesses through the process of exporting: Getting Started in Exporting; Planning for Export success; Connecting with Foreign Buyers; Financing; and five Case Studies of successful small business exporters.

The videos begin with answers to the frequently asked question, Why Export? They feature SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns; U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke; U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, and a variety of small business exporters.  Other modules feature exporting experts discussing “how-to” take your business global. The videos are posted at www.inc.com/exporting.

“Inc. is proud to work alongside the Small Business Administration and AT&T to provide entrepreneurs with a valuable resource in their efforts to expand their businesses overseas,” said Bob LaPointe, Inc. President.  “This video series will educate business owners about what to expect when they launch an international business. “We have put together experienced small business exporters as well as officials from local and national resources to provide a complete picture.  Inc. is always happy to help small businesses grow.”

“AT&T is excited to be part of this initiative and to collaborate with the SBA and Inc. magazine,” said Cathy Martine, AT&T Executive Vice President, Small Business Solutions. “We believe U.S. small businesses are engines of innovation, and strongly encourage them to grow by thinking globally and taking advantage of technology. With the emergence of online commerce and digital communications, the potential to export products and services around the world has never been greater.”

Funding for this project was jointly provided by Inc. Magazine and AT&T.  Also, Inc. Magazine created the site to host the videos; both firms will distribute DVD copies of the videos and related materials approved by SBA and promote the series in online and print advertising. 

The joint program will be launched April 8, at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, at the Inc. conference GROWCO, an event targeting growing small businesses.

The co-sponsorship agreements will remain in effect through August 31, 2012.

Cosponsorship Authorization # 10-7080-165. SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

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SBA Announces Grants Available for State Trade, Export Promotion

$90 Million Jobs Act Initiative Aimed at Increasing Small Business Exporting

WASHINGTON – Beginning March 1, states can apply for grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration to support efforts to increase exporting by small businesses. The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) pilot grant initiative is authorized to provide up to $90 million in grants to states over the next three years.

The STEP pilot grant initiative is aimed at achieving two goals: 1) increase the number of small businesses that want to export and 2) increase the value of exports for those small businesses that currently export. Established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories are all eligible to apply for grants, which will be awarded on a competitive basis.

“The global market offers countless opportunities for small business owners who are well positioned to grow their volume and customer base beyond our borders, and in doing so, create good-paying jobs in their local communities,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “These grants, through the partnerships they will create at the state level, will strengthen the support available to help small business take that first step to begin exporting, and for those who are already exporting, grow into additional markets.”

The Jobs Act authorized up to $90 million over three fiscal years, $30 million each year, beginning with the current fiscal year 2011. Individual state project award amounts will vary based on each state’s proposed project plan and budget.

A state may not submit more than one application for a grant under the initiative, but may apply each federal fiscal year through the 3-year term of the pilot grant initiative. Activities that can be supported with grant dollars under this initiative may include: participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by USDOC, design of international marketing products or campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops or other export initiatives that are in line with the goals of the pilot grant initiative.

The STEP pilot grant initiative announcement will be posted at www.Grants.gov  on March 1, 2011. The application period will be March 1 through April 26. Awards for the first year of the grant program will be issued in summer of 2011. See more information at www.sba.gov/STEP.

SBA Offers New Podcasts to Help Small Businesses Break into the Global Market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U. S. Small Business Administration is now offering a new set of three export-oriented podcasts offering valuable information on issues and challenges small business exporters may find when dealing with specific countries. 

The podcasts, featuring interviews with business representatives from Uganda, Cameroon and Bahrain, are part of a comprehensive effort by SBA to promote and support the President’s National Export Initiative.  The interviews focus on what U.S. companies can expect when exporting to those countries and provide information relevant to their respective business and import environments.

“U.S. small businesses looking to increase sales and profit should look beyond the U.S. borders. Nearly 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. and small businesses need to factor that in to their strategic planning,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “We’re hoping these tools will help them do that, so they can grow and create jobs here at home.”

The podcasts on Uganda and Cameroon include interviews with two women business owners who are members of the African Women’s Business Network, an organization that supports a network of businesswomen’s organizations in Africa.  The podcast on Bahrain features an interview with an official of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce.

The podcasts are available online at http://www.sba.gov/tools/audiovideo/Podcasts/index.html and include transcripts.  They provide valuable information on country infrastructure, types of U.S. products and services in demand, cultural tips on how to do business, and other relevant issues.

In his State of the Union Address on Jan. 27, 2010, President Obama announced the National Export Initiative, as part of an effort to promote and achieve long-term, sustainable economic growth for the United States.  The president has a goal of doubling exports over the next five years, an increase that will support 2 million American jobs.  The SBA is committed to supporting NEI by offering American small businesses the resources they need to break into and succeed in the global market.

In addition to the new online tools, SBA resource partners – Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers and SCORE – as well as U.S.

Export Assistance Centers are available to assist small businesses who are interested in exporting in every U.S. state and territory.  These resource partners can help entrepreneurs identify potential export markets, facilitate export transactions, develop links between United States small business and prescreened foreign buyers, advise on participation in international trade shows, assist in obtaining export financing and developing or reorienting marketing and production strategies. In addition to counseling resources in every state and territory there are export specialists available at the eight International Trade Export Assistance Centers and SCORE online international trade advisers. 

There are 19 U.S. Export Assistance Centers located in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States.  USEACs are one-stop shops ready to provide small- or medium-sized businesses with personalized local export assistance by professionals from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank and other public and private organizations.  For more information on USEACs, please visit http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/internationaltrade/useac/index.html.

To find your local counseling resources please visit www.sba.gov.