Posted at 2:33 PM
Information powers commercial decisions. Yet, small and medium-sized businesses don't always have the information they need in order to succeed. One of the classic questions that hinders American businesses is where to start exporting or how to expand existing exports. For example, consider the question, "Should a growing automotive parts manufacturer push to export to East Asia or Eastern Europe?" To help address these types of questions, the U.S. Department of Commerce is working with us to identify and unleash better information that can be provided to business decision-makers.
This collaboration is organized as a Working Group under the Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC), a Federal Advisory Council whose mission is to provide advice and recommendations to Secretary Penny Pritzker and Federal government leaders on how to make Commerce data easier to find, access, use, and combine with other data. Disseminating Commerce data in this way will enable businesses to be more competitive, governments smarter, and citizens more informed – ultimately increasing the value of the Department's data. Membership in the Working Group is open to any volunteers and the group is co-Chaired by Vadim Kutsyy, Head of Data Strategy and Stewardship - PayPal, and Ian Kalin, U.S. Department of Commerce's Chief Data Officer.
Initial experiments with available data indicate that some of the best opportunities may be in providing business owners with targeted benchmarks and opportunity assessments. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau collects a great deal of country and product trade data. Data sets like these enable the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis to publish international transactions reports, which themselves also fuel data products like international investment statistics and reports on the digital economy and cross-border trade. Mashing up information resources like these with PayPal's own data networks could lead to customizable and highly valuable new insights.
Given the early stage of the data science experiments, it is not clear what the final product resulting out of the Working Group with PayPal and the U.S. Department of Commerce will look like. Whatever the path of the collaboration, the guiding mission of this Working Group is to create a public and freely accessible platform that can help small and medium sized businesses increase their overseas exports.