Export Assistance Service Provides Framework for International Expansion
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (January 22, 2015) – The Florida SBDC Network and Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) solidifying a partnership to assist Florida-based companies tap into overseas markets.
Scholarship Export Assistance Program
Under the agreement, the Florida SBDC and EFI, in partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service, are offering a scholarship export assistance program to help businesses identify overseas growth strategies. Through the MOU, qualified “new and infrequent export” manufacturers and professional service providers have the opportunity to meet with a Florida SBDC International Trade Specialist to prepare a customized export marketing plan.
Secretary of Commerce and EFI President and CEO Gray Swoope said, “EFI and the Florida SBDC Network work hard to make sure the state’s small businesses receive the trade assistance they need. Through this MOU we can support small business growth and grow Florida’s export economy. Our state’s seaports and airports make Florida the perfect location for companies looking to grow internationally, and we look forward to working with small businesses across the state.”
“The Florida SBDC Network is committed to helping Florida’s small businesses take advantage of exporting opportunities to grow and expand,” said Michael Myhre, Florida SBDC CEO and Network State Director. “We are pleased to partner with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service to offer better opportunities to our clients and to strengthen Florida’s economy through the expansion of U.S. exports.”
Customized Export Marketing Plan
The MOU calls for the creation of export marketing plans, which take an average of 120 hours to develop, and include a thorough export readiness assessment, industry analysis, market analysis with target market recommendations, a review of overseas trade opportunities and an action plan that will include export promotion programs and services.
The Florida SBDC at USF has two international trade specialists who prepare Export Marketing Plans and consult with ready-to-export small businesses.
Export promotion opportunities may include international trade shows, trade missions and other matchmaking services such as the Gold Key program which provides an opportunity for companies to meet with pre-screened and qualified buyers, agents, importers and representatives. Enterprise Florida offers additional grants to qualified businesses for each of these programs.
The estimated market value of an export marketing plan is $10,000. As a result of the partnership between the Florida SBDC and Enterprise Florida, the cost to qualifying companies is $500. The remaining amount is underwritten by the Florida SBDC and Enterprise Florida.
The MOU was signed by Secretary Swoope, Myhre and Manny Mencia, Senior Vice President of International Trade and Development for EFI. Representatives from the University of West Florida, the Florida SBDC and EFI gathered to witness the signing following EFI’s board of directors meeting.
For more information on international trade services, visit the Florida SBDC at USF’s International Trade Services page.