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Illinois SBDC International Trade Center
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March 4, 2020, 8:25 AM

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center (ITC) at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, in partnership with the Southwestern Illinois Trade and Investment Council (SWITIC), will host “Export Needs and Trade Initiatives for Southern Illinois: Dialogue with the Business Community” from 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday, March 11 in the Birger Hall boardroom on the SIUE campus. Silvia Torres Bowman

The regional business community is invited to join the roundtable discussion at no cost. Registration is encouraged via email to international-trade-center@siue.edu. Reservations will be accepted through Tuesday, March 10, or until seats are filled.

“This event will engage exporting businesses, and discuss the results of our annual Export Needs Assessment Survey,” said ITC Director Silvia Torres Bowman. “The survey helped us identify specific opportunities and challenges the business community in our region is facing with regard to their international activities, as well as key areas for improvement to enable more businesses to become successful exporters.”

“We will present survey findings, and importantly, hear personal stories, challenges and concerns from the business community, in order to innovate ways to better support their export growth,” she added. “This is a unique opportunity for businesses to be represented and heard. Participants will help us design future projects and initiatives that will best serve their needs, including the selection of the next target country or region for our third Southern Illinois Trade Mission, which will take place later this year.”

Trade missions are about opening doors for businesses and entrepreneurs, and developing long-term opportunities in foreign markets. Participants will be provided an exclusive look at the new list of trade shows and missions for 2020-21, sponsored by the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment and other partners of the ITC. These shows cover various industries relevant to the region.

“In 2009 and 2019, the ITC led two trade missions to South America, bringing positive results to our region,” Bowman explained. “We look forward to organizing our third Southern Illinois Trade Mission, in partnership with the Trade and Investment Council, to place regional businesses in front of new international customers and partners. This trade mission will be designed based on what our businesses need and want.”

According to Torres Bowman, the roundtable discussion will also offer updates on ISTEP funding, including how regional companies can take full advantage of the program which assists Illinois businesses to cover major expenses associated with international travel, participation in trade shows/missions, product compliance certification and website localization. The ISTEP program offers 50-75% cost reimbursement on pre-approved eligible international activities for Illinois small- to medium-sized businesses. Details are available at siue.edu/business/itc/istep.

For more information about how to do business globally, and how to benefit from the Southwestern Illinois Trade and Investment Council, contact the ITC by email International-Trade-Center@siue.edu or phone at (618) 650-3851, or visit siue.edu/business/itc.

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at SIUE serves businesses in Southern Illinois by providing individualized, no-cost export advising, identification of foreign buyers, agents and/or distributors through trade leads, international market analysis, and more.

The ITC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. It has a longtime partnership with the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment (OTI), which maintains a full-time staff of both foreign and domestic-based international trade and marketing experts. OTI also manages six foreign trade offices located in Belgium, Japan, Mainland China, Mexico, Canada, and Israel.

Photo: Silvia Torres-Bowman, director of the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.


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The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a service to Illinois small businesses


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