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How Local District Export Councils (DEC) Help Small Business Exporters
October 06, 2016 Tatiana Bertolo, Office of Small Business

As you know, navigating through the exporting world as a small business can be a daunting and time-consuming process. However, there are many resources and organizations that can help guide you in the right direction and put you on a path towards success. One of those organizations is the District Export Council (DEC).

There are 59 District Export Councils throughout the country that support the U.S. Government's export promotion efforts and each council is made up of business leaders and experts who give up their time to volunteer and mentor small business exporters in their local communities. Each leader is appointed by various U.S. Secretaries of Commerce who have vast experience and knowledge in international business, financing, law, shipping, and so on – areas all connected to export-related activity.

District Export Councils can be an important asset to your export growth plans, so it's important to use them as early as possible in the export process, especially if you're participating in export programs such as the International Buyer Program or Gold Key Program run by the Department of Commerce. District Export Council volunteer members can help plan and coordinate trade missions with foreign partners or buyers, communicate with foreign and government partners and create a network of export professionals to fit your needs.

The main mission of each District Export Council is to complement the U.S. Commercial Services' export promotion efforts through counseling small businesses and educating those about trade. Other activities include working with:

  • EXIM Bank to identify export financing sources for businesses
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) to assist companies that are working with their local Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
  • State and Local trade associations and groups to create greater export awareness in the business community
  • Government agencies such as USTDA (U.S. Trade and Development Agency) and Commerce to identify issues affecting export trade and implementation of suggestions for improvement
  • USTDA and USTR to advocate trade policy and legislation supporting exporters in your region and the U.S. export sector
  • Commerce Department to support programs and services of the U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC’s)

To find your local District Export Council, click here: http://districtexportcouncil.org/local-dec-locator.

Learn More

To learn more about how we can help your small business, download our guide- Export Expertise: 10 Finance Tools To Grow Your Export Business.

Learn how to expand your international sales!