May 23, 2011

SIUC to host Small Business Export Roundtable

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Small Business Export Roundtable at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in June gives anyone interested in small business exporting the opportunity to learn about international trade from experts.

The roundtable is set for 8:30-10:30 a.m. on June 24 at StudioE in the Dunn Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale. The presentation, coinciding with Illinois Small Business Week and special events throughout the state in June, is free and the public is welcome. But, space is limited so participants should register early by calling 618/453-3805 or visiting the website at

The Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center at SIUC, along with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Office of Trade and Investment, are presenting the roundtable discussion about how to enhance and serve the region and its export trade. State and local agencies will offer information about export market opportunities, partner identification and qualification and how existing businesses can determine their export readiness, strategies and functions.

Zhigang Ren, senior international trade specialist from the state’s Office of Trade and Investment, will speak. Ren designs and implements the office’s Asian/Pacific/Chinese trade and investment promotion programs. He was formerly the director of the Illinois International Trade Center in Chicago, a facility offering a variety of business consulting services to Illinois companies, including assistance with export procedures and requirements, international trade and foreign markets, and international business strategies.

Ren, who earned his master’s degree in international business management at SIU-Edwardsville, also previously served as chief foreign investment officer for the Guangzhou Administration for Commerce and Industry in Guangzhou, China. There, he provided consulting services regarding Chinese trade and investment policies, regulations and foreign investment procedures to clients.

“I am excited to have Zhigang Ren visit us in Southern Illinois and meet with some of our clients. His expertise is vast and will definitely assist us in impacting our regional economic by boosting our export power. I encourage any business owner who is exporting or who even wants to find out about starting to export to join us for this roundtable,” said Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIUC.

SIUC hosts the Illinois Small Business Development Center, with funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. For more information about the Illinois SBDC/International Trade Center at SIUC and the services it provides, contact Robyn Laur Russell at 618/453-3805 or email