January 08, 2013

Seminar on growing business exports is Jan. 23

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Entrepreneurs who want to begin exporting or expand their exports into new markets will find valuable information at a free seminar set for Jan. 23.

“Venture into New International Markets” is from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and is followed by a free networking lunch.  The program takes place at the South Central Transit training facility at 100 N. Locust St. in Centralia.

Sponsors include the Illinois Small Business Development Centers/International Trade Centers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Kaskaskia College, and the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment. International trade specialists with the U.S. Department of Commerce will be on hand at the event to answer questions regarding exporting.

Zhigang Ren, senior international trade specialist with the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, will present the training session designed to help entrepreneurs double their exports by 2015 and move into new markets.  The effort is part of the state’s goal of growing the economy and creating jobs by dramatically increasing exports, said Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIU Carbondale.

Business people who are currently involved in exporting or who would like to begin exporting, CEOs, international division employees, shipping/receiving managers, seasoned exporters, key international staff and export compliance staff are among those who will find Ren’s presentation valuable, Russell said.

The state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Trade and Investment has received State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program grant funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration in each of the program’s two years of existence. STEP funding assists the state’s small- and medium-size businesses by reimbursing funds used in efforts to increase exports.

The current funding year runs through September, and the focus will continue to be providing financial and technical assistance, including opportunities for businesses to participate in trade missions, individual foreign market sales missions and receive assistance in achieving product compliance certifications.  Staff members with International Trade Centers in Carbondale, Edwardsville and Centralia are available to assist companies with STEP applications.

There is no cost to attend the seminar but participants must pre-register no later than Jan. 18.  To sign up, contact the Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center at SIU Carbondale by calling 618/453-3805, emailing sbdc@siu.edu or visiting the website at www.siusbdc.com

The ISBDC/International Trade Centers are funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.