The State Department is not just about international policy, civil security and public diplomacy, it’s also a gateway to support U.S. businesses abroad. This agency is another piece of the federal pie when it comes to helping U.S. small businesses enter the global market and increase sales. It joins the long list of government agencies (e.g., Small Business Administration and the International Trade Administration), who all serve specific purposes when aiding businesses who want to expand their reach or may be afraid to expand due to risky markets.
Below are some of the State Department export tools and resources available for your small business when looking to expand globally:U.S. Embassy Websites
As part of the market research process, many companies have a laundry list of items to check-off before deciding which markets to enter, but often U.S. embassy websites are overlooked. Companies are not aware that these websites contain a business tab with rich economic information and reports about the current environment, key links and contact information, as well as business and cultural guidelines. Click here to view the U.S. Embassy business site for Colombia.
BIDS and Direct Line for American Businesse
The Business Information Database System (BIDS) provides an opportunity for U.S. businesses to procure foreign government and multilateral development bank projects by using an interactive map interface to display each project.
In addition, Direct Line also provides an outlet for small and medium-sized U.S. businesses to interact via webcasts with U.S. ambassadors overseas. Topics can vary, but U.S. companies may use this line to discuss current or future business opportunities with an ambassador stationed in a particular country. Check out EXIM’s latest blog, which provides more detailed information about the BIDS and Direct Line program.
Overseas Business Insights
The Overseas Business Insights monthly newsletter is a quick and easy source of information for small businesses thinking about entering the export world. The newsletter highlights business environments in a specific county in the western hemisphere such as Panama’s craft beer market and Canada’s electricity trading sector. Click here for an example.
Office of Commercial & Business Affairs
The State Department has a specific office to deal with aiding U.S. businesses abroad when things don’t go as planned. Meaning, it will step in and provide assistance or advocate on behalf of businesses who are dealing with intellectual property right issues, trade disputes, etc. This office helps level the playing field and works with U.S. ambassadors abroad to ensure disputes or advocacy issues are dealt with properly and with the right individuals.
Learn How the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Can Help Your Small Business Grow
Once the markets have been identified and plans are underway to export abroad, it’s important to speak to an EXIM specialist. EXIM Bank offers several financial services such as export credit insurance and working capital loan guarantees to help ensure your company gets paid ands stay competitive in the global marketplace. To learn more, request a consultation here to speak to your local EXIM Bank rep: