The Wyoming Business Council is offering a suite of customized services and assistance under an expanded program to help small business owners interested in or already exporting.
The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program is a competitive federal grant program to help business owners seek new markets abroad. The Business Council, the state’s economic development agency, was recently awarded $221,000 on the heels of last year’s program success.
Three firms attended trade missions to Canada and Mexico in 2017, and four businesses participated in export workshops throughout the year.
“The trade missions really exceeded our expectations,” said Briana Tanaka, agriculture and international trade coordinator for the Business Council. “The companies that went with us came home feeling comfortable entering the international market when they are ready. That was positive and encouraging for us.”
This time around, the Business Council is tailoring its program to meet the specific needs of two types of companies – those interested in exporting in the near future and those already exporting and want to expand or develop new markets.
In the coming year, the Business Council will provide exporting workshops, market research, webinars, trade shows and trade missions based on each business owner’s needs.
Already, 16 companies are participating in the export program.
Workshops begin in January and March. The Business Council will also assist companies at three spring trade shows – the IWA OutdoorClassics in Nuremburg, Germany; Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, and the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) in Las Vegas.
Participating firms will receive market research and webinar classes in the summer. The trade mission destinations will be based on the desires of participating businesses.
Increased exports are key to the Business Council’s work in developing a stronger, more resilient Wyoming economy in the coming decades. The agency wants to grow exports 50 percent by 2020.
The Business Council is working closely with its Wyoming Business Resource Network partners, including Manufacturing-Works and the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the Wyoming office of the U.S. Small Business Administration to help more Wyoming companies sell products internationally.
For more information, or to register for STEP, call Tanaka at 307-777-6430, or email her at email@example.com.