Export Assistance Service Provides Framework for International Expansion

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (January 22, 2015) – The Florida SBDC Network and Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) solidifying a partnership to assist Florida-based companies tap into overseas markets.

The MOU solidifying a partnership between the Florida SBDC and EFI was signed by:

Florida SBDC CEO and Network State Director Michael Myhre
Secretary of Commerce and EFI President and CEO Gray Swoope
EFI Senior Vice President of International Trade Manny Mencia

Scholarship Export Assistance Program
Under the agreement, the Florida SBDC and EFI, in partnership with the U.S. Commercial Service, are offering a scholarship export assistance program to help businesses identify overseas growth strategies. Through the MOU, qualified “new and infrequent export” manufacturers and professional service providers have the opportunity to meet with a Florida SBDC International Trade Specialist to prepare a customized export marketing plan.

Secretary of Commerce and EFI President and CEO Gray Swoope said, “EFI and the Florida SBDC Network work hard to make sure the state’s small businesses receive the trade assistance they need. Through this MOU we can support small business growth and grow Florida’s export economy. Our state’s seaports and airports make Florida the perfect location for companies looking to grow internationally, and we look forward to working with small businesses across the state.”

“The Florida SBDC Network is committed to helping Florida’s small businesses take advantage of exporting opportunities to grow and expand,” said Michael Myhre, Florida SBDC CEO and Network State Director. “We are pleased to partner with Enterprise Florida and the U.S. Commercial Service to offer better opportunities to our clients and to strengthen Florida’s economy through the expansion of U.S. exports.”

Customized Export Marketing Plan

The MOU calls for the creation of export marketing plans, which take an average of 120 hours to develop, and include a thorough export readiness assessment, industry analysis, market analysis with target market recommendations, a review of overseas trade opportunities and an action plan that will include export promotion programs and services.

Export promotion opportunities may include international trade shows, trade missions and other matchmaking services such as the Gold Key program which provides an opportunity for companies to meet with pre-screened and qualified buyers, agents, importers and representatives. Enterprise Florida offers additional grants to qualified businesses for each of these programs.
The estimated market value of an export marketing plan is $10,000. As a result of the partnership between the Florida SBDC and Enterprise Florida, the cost to qualifying companies is $500. The remaining amount is underwritten by the Florida SBDC and Enterprise Florida.
The MOU was signed by Secretary Swoope, Myhre and Manny Mencia, Senior Vice President of International Trade and Development for EFI. Representatives from the University of West Florida, the Florida SBDC and EFI gathered to witness the signing following EFI’s board of directors meeting.
For more information, visit www.floridasbdc.org/services/international-trade.


About the FSBDC Network:

For nearly forty years, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide emerging and established business owners with management and technical assistance, enabling overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for the state. In 2013, the initiatives of the Florida SBDC Network resulted in 39,536 jobs created, retained and saved; $5.5 billion in sales growth; $197.3 million in capital accessed; $602.2 million in government contract awards; and 685 new businesses started. A statewide network of over 40 centers, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners, with the University of West Florida serving as the Network’s designated lead host institution. The Florida SBDC Network is state designated as Florida’s principal provider of business assistance and is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs. For more information, visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

About Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI):

EFI is a partnership between Florida’s businesses and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida. EFI facilitates job growth for Florida businesses through recruitment and retention, international trade and exporting, promotion of sporting events, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses. For more information, visit www.EnterpriseFlorida.com.