The U.S. Department of Commerce provides U.S.-based companies and entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses at home and abroad with a wide range of services, tools and resources. In honor of Customer Service Week, below is a list of key services provided by our bureaus and customer service professionals that can help businesses succeed both in the U.S. and in the international marketplace.
- The Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition: The U.S. Census Bureau (Census Bureau) can assist businesses by providing valuable economic and demographic data that paints a portrait of the people and businesses in their service area. This data can be valuable to both businesses and entrepreneurs in understanding their potential market and in developing an effective business plan.
- USA Trade Online: Many businesses are looking for information about foreign markets for possible growth opportunities. Provided by the Census Bureau, USA Trade Online is a tool that allows businesses to do a deeper dive into the trade data, and search based on country of destination, importing country, classification, ports of export, value, quantity, and a variety of other factors.
- Webinars for Exporters: The Census Bureau and the International Trade Administration (ITA) both provide webinars to U.S. businesses and local exporting communities on topics including data usage, global market conditions, and export opportunities for U.S. goods and services.
- Classification Search Tool: In order for businesses to export their products, they first need to understand the classification of their product. The Census Bureau provides a classification search engine that helps businesses with this process.
- Global Market Finder: Provided by the Census Bureau, businesses can use the Global Market Finder to identify potential export markets for their products and visualize commodity exports globally.
- Connecting You to Global Markets: ITA brings together resources from across the U.S. Government to assist American businesses in planning their international sales strategies to succeed in today’s global marketplace. ITA provides advice, tools, and market intelligence to successfully concept international sales strategy, and overcoming trade obstacles when entering international markets.
- Commercial Diplomacy: ITA’s U.S. Commercial Service offers businesses a full range of expertise in international trade and can help U.S. businesses overcome trade obstacles to successfully enter international markets. They offer export solutions to help U.S. exporters create successful international sales strategies. With more than 100 offices nationwide and 70 international locations, they provide U.S. exporters with opportunities through local assistance and virtual services.
- Introduction to Export Controls: The Bureau of Industry and Security regulates the export of most commercial items and certain defense items through the Export Administration Regulations.
- Intellectual Property Awareness Assessment: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides a guide to commonly asked questions about intellectual property and patents. Also, in conjunction with the World Intellectual Property Organization USPTO provides an intellectual property awareness assessment for entrepreneurs and business owners. Additionally, USPTO offers a patent search engine to help inventors with this process.
Minority Business Growth
- Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Centers: MBDA is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of American minority business enterprises. Minority-owned firms seeking to penetrate new markets — domestic and global —can access business experts at MBDA Business Centers that are located in 26 cities throughout the country with the largest concentration of minority populations and the largest number of minority businesses.
- Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is home to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP). MEP is a national network with hundreds of specialists who understand the needs of America's small manufacturers. This national network consists of manufacturing extension partnership centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and provides businesses with services and access to public and private resources to enhance growth, improve productivity, reduce costs, and expand capacity.
- Small Business Cybersecurity Corner: NIST also provides free cybersecurity guidance, solutions, and training that is practical, actionable, and enables American businesses to cost-effectively address and manage their cybersecurity risks.
For more information on Commerce services for U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs, please visit Services for Businesses.