This article is contributed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
Exporting opens a literal world of opportunity for Illinois manufacturers as 95% of global consumers are outside of the United States. Despite this fact, only 1% of America’s small businesses are active exporters.
“The idea of selling products outside of the U.S. can be daunting for many companies that may have negative perceptions about foreign market opportunities, the export process, and funding resources,” said Margo Markopoulos, Director of the Illinois Office of Trade & Investment. “Fortunately, the State of Illinois has a robust international trade network that companies can tap into for confidential, customized, and complimentary services created to help Illinois manufacturers successfully promote and sell their products overseas.”
Markopoulos leads the Illinois Office of Trade & Investment (OTI), whose mission is to support Illinois companies interested in increasing their international sales. OTI understands the difficulties that can come with exporting, and they also understand that without exporting, businesses are accessing only a small percentage of potential customers and neglecting tremendous opportunities for growth. This office is the state’s one-stop location for export assistance, programs, and referrals to business counseling and federal export resources.
ISOVAC Products, manufacturer of Chemical/Biological/Radiological (CBR) isolation products, from Romeoville, Illinois has successfully pursued export opportunities through the support of OTI. “The international business opportunities for medical devices is growing every year. OTI’s trade missions and pre-scheduled business-to-business matchmaking services have given our small business great international exposure to our target audience.” said Pete Jenkner, President of ISOVAC Products.
Other Illinois manufacturers interested in receiving export assistance are encouraged to take advantage of the OTI resources available to them:
Trade Missions: OTI leads 10 to 15 trade missions to world class international trade shows and dynamic emerging markets each year. Through a competitive application process, selected Illinois manufacturers benefit from complimentary exhibitor space and customized business-to-business matchmaking meetings.
International Market Information: Companies can request market intelligence and matchmaking services to identify foreign buyers and distributors through OTI’s team of local trade specialists and six foreign trade offices in: Mexico City, Mexico; Toronto, Canada; Shanghai, China; Jerusalem, Israel; Brussels, Belgium; and Tokyo, Japan.
Financial Support: The Illinois State Trade and Export Promotion (ISTEP) Program offers qualified companies financial reimbursements to: attend trade shows/trade missions, achieve product compliance certification, and obtain international website localization services. Applications are accepted throughout the year and admission decisions are made on a rolling basis.
To learn more about how your company can take advantage of OTI’s export assistance services and the ISTEP program, contact IMEC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-806-4632