More than 187,600 jobs are created or retained in Georgia as a result of exporting goods and services.
Not all of those jobs are with major corporations. The Georgia Department of Economic Development wants small businesses to know they can also reap the rewards of exporting. An event will be held June 21-22 at Augusta State University to connect businesses that are interested in exporting with buyers from Brazil, Mexico and Israel.
International trade creates nearly twice as many jobs as domestic trade, because for every job manufacturing a product, another job is needed to get the product to market, said Taube Ponce, the senior international trade manager for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Georgia Reaching Out Worldwide is an initiative of the Georgia Department of Economic Development aimed at providing small-business owners the chance to meet buyers and potential distributors of their products in international markets.
At ASU, local business owners will have the opportunity to sit down with international buyers and distributors to discuss specific opportunities for their products.
In addition, experts from Chile and Vietnam will present seminars. Businesses with an interest in exporting to those countries will have the opportunity to discuss those markets one on one, too.
“At the least this will provide (business owners) with an understanding of the challenges and opportunities for their products in the markets represented by the buyers or distributors,” she said. “In the best scenario, it will represent the start of a potential commercial relationship with sales down the road.”
Representatives are specifically looking for companies that manufacture wood products, outdoor patio and yard equipment, and solvents and chemicals for food.
“These are the product lines that they are interested in, and obviously it’s also product lines that they feel will have success in their countries,” Ponce said.
To participate, businesses must meet the Small Business Administration definition of a small business, have been in business at least a year and operating profitably in the United States, and either be exporting or seriously interested in exporting. They should also have an understanding of the costs associated with exporting and have a strategic plan in place.
There are no specific plans for another Georgia Reaching Out Worldwide program in Augusta yet, but others are set. One is planned for the week of July 23 in Savannah, Warner Robins and Columbus, Ponce said.