In a meeting at Jersey City, companies were exploring ways and means to expand their markets outside United States. President Obama, in a Sept. 16 meeting with ‘President’s Export Council’, reiterated that boosting export is top priority. He also disclosed his plans of doubling U.S. exports in next five years by forming a new ‘National Export Initiative’.
Obama is quoted saying, “The more American companies export, the more they produce. And the more they produce, the more people they hire — and that means more jobs.” Presently, just 280,000, over 1% of small businesses in US export. Among these 59 % export to just one country. In 2009, total exports in good and services amounted to $ 1.57 trillion. By 2015, U.S. wants to reach at least $3.14 trillion.
Joseph Hurd, senior director, Department of Commerce, comments that “We think businesses can do more.” Hurd and other officials want small and midsize businesses to try their hands outside U.S. borders. The reason is there is two-thirds of purchasing power there and it comprise of nearly 96% of total world population.
Jennifer Schroder and Lisa Ann Frisone were present at the SBA summit and were looking for partners who could help them achieve success in their export strategy. Schroder working with Galison, says, “Our international business has been growing much faster than our U.S. business.” But then exporting business to foreign countries is not easy as there are complicated mounds of paper-work and custom rules. Luz Hopewell, Director, Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade, says, “You have to understand all the nuances of exporting to other countries. Sometimes if (a firm) doesn’t get the right license or doesn’t have the right paperwork, the product can be returned from the shipping docks.”
The idea to sell goods overseas is daunting for smaller firms with not enough resources. In a 2010 survey, it is found that one out of three small- business owners fear exporting for chances of not being paid. And nearly same proportion believes that exporting can become too expensive.
Proviatek, an IT firm, founded by Amit Roy in 2004, faced lot of stumbling blocks. The company started with IT work but by 2008 began exporting biomedical equipments to countries like Singapore and India. Still there were other hurdles for Roy. The products exported needed to be kept at – 5 degree Celsius during transfers to other countries. Roy, thought of using dry ice as the coolant but later discovered that dry ice was conceived hazardous material in some places. So, he had to opt for gel packs that were more expensive.
Hurd, Hopewell and others spoke more openly about troubles faced by exporters. The situation can be changed with more such conferences as in Jersey City, think officials at SBA, Department of Commerce and other agencies. Hurd admits by saying, “We don’t make it easy to export.”
This article was submitted by Rohit Arora, co-founder of Biz2Credit. Biz2Credit is a small business marketplace that connects entrepreneurs with financing options and advice to grow their business. Send all questions to