On the one-year anniversary of the launch of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills and Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg announced today the launch of a year-long, interagency, multi-city outreach campaign designed to help connect small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with the resources they need to sell more of what they make overseas.
“For America to win the future, more small and medium sized businesses must export, because the more small businesses export, the more they produce; the more they produce, the more workers they need, and that means good-paying jobs here at home,” Locke said.
The first of these New Markets, New Jobs  events is scheduled for February 17th in Minneapolis, Minn . Locke is expected to be joined by Kirk, Mills, Hochberg, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, among others. The Minnesota stop will be followed by events in Los Angeles, Calif., Louisiana and Wilmington, Del. in the coming months. The conferences, which were called for in September’s Report to the President on the National Export Initiative , are intended to reach more than 3,500 small and medium sized companies interested in exporting.
U.S. SMEs that export are more productive and generate more revenue than SMEs that don’t. A recent International Trade Commission survey found that exporting small and medium sized manufacturers in 2009 had more than twice the total revenue of their non-exporting counterparts. They experienced revenue growth of 37 percent between 2005 and 2009, while total revenue declined by 7 percent for non-exporting SME manufacturers over the same period.
Unfortunately, very few small and medium sized businesses export, and they still face significant hurdles in getting their products into new markets, including a lack of readily available information about exporting and market research; challenges in accessing export financing; and strong competition from foreign companies and governments.
The conferences will feature:
- Remarks from senior Obama Administration officials;
- Trade resource panels on key export topics including the spectrum of federal resources that can help businesses begin exporting or expand their exports;
- Materials and resources to guide companies in the process of selling their products to consumers all over the world; and
- Lessons learned from area businesses that have succeeded in utilizing federal resources to expand into new markets and grow their businesses.
The NEI aims to double U.S. exports in five years to create several million new jobs. It enhances the U.S. government’s trade promotion efforts, increases credit to businesses – especially small and medium sized businesses – looking to export, and continues to improve efforts to remove trade barriers for U.S. companies in foreign markets.
Exports were up 17 percent in the first 11 months of 2010 compared to same period in 2009. November 2010 exports of goods and services ($159.6 billion) were the highest since August 2008 ($162.9 billion) and with record merchandise exports to China ($9.5 billion).
If you are in the Minneapolis area, go register  now.