World Trade Center Utah helping map your pathway to Global Marketing
A resource to businesses with an eye on the global market is World Trade Center Utah. The Salt Lake office of the International group, which covers more than 90 countries, held a webinar recently to showcase some of the programs and grant sources available to Utah businesses. These were specifically geared toward businesses that want to establish a global presence.
Hannah Lowry, Events Manager for WTC Utah kicked the webinar off and the subject quickly turned to a discussion of the changing face of marketing. The COVID-19 epidemic has all but shut down trade shows causing them to be replaced by Virtual Trade Shows. WTC Utah can help your business get into the right ones.
Jim Porter, World Trade Center Utah’s Trade Services Manager, was quick to mention that WTC Utah not only has training and funding for Utah businesses that want to get into the virtual trade shows but can sometimes be piggybacked off of getting into those international trade shows. This can save a lot of money for a small business who may not be able to budget enough to present a presence on their own but would still like to be seen by the global market.
Porter Outlined several advantages WTC Utah can offer the small business trying to get into the global markets regardless of where you are in your business development. Programs exist at WTC Utah for those who are exporting now, but many more are available to those who have not yet gone into the international market.
Training programs for finding out what it takes to compete globally, help in developing market entry plans on a global scale, and adjustment of product for global markets are just a few of the things WTC Utah has to offer newbies to the subject. Porter then emphasised that there is no reason to try your hand at going global alone when WTC Utah is there to help get you ready.
Nicole Sherwood, WTC Utah’s Director of Grants and Operations took center stage next and outlined some of the funding sources Utah businesses have at their disposal. Sherwood emphasized that although many of these sources require matching funding they are a perfect way to maximize the effects when a business is trying to strengthen a brand, increase it’s online presence, or plan a strategy for the future.
Sherwood continued that it is important to first reevaluate your current finances and see if you can identify areas that need work. WTC Utah staff can then help to identify what resources may be available to your business.
Sherwood went into brief descriptions of two of the programs that are most widely used by the businesses WTC Utah works with. The first is the State Trade Expansion Grant or STEP Grant that is provided through the Small Business Administration. This grant awards up to $10,000 per year to qualifying businesses. The average she stated was closer to $4000 for most businesses. The STEP grant according to Sherwood is often a boost for those who want to optimize their website or even create a website in the first place. But it’s one of those things where you have to spend a little money to set yourself up to make a lot of money. The STEP grant is a post activity reimbursement. You must pay for the optimization or creation of the website first and claim the reward after you have completed the work. It does come with the requirement that your business provide at least 25% of the cost for the improvement or implementation of the upgrades. STEP does not go retroactive. In other words you must get your approval, which WTC Utah will help you with, before you start spending on qualifying projects.
The other grant Sherwood had high praise for was the Rural Business Development Grant, a USDA grant. It’s window for applications occurs on a rolling basis. Currently those being awarded must spend the grant by September 30th of 2020. This grant is designed to help educate businesses across Utah in pursuing international opportunities. WTC Utah feels it is an important bridge to help Utah small and emerging private businesses in rural areas grow and expand internationally.
Some of the things the Rural Business Development Grant will provide according to WTC Utah are:
1. To provide Rural Export Boot Camps
2. To conduct one-on-one site visits and training opportunities
3. To support international activities upon completion of the Rural Export Boot Camps.
Even before 2020 most people recognized that e-commerce was gaining in importance for those maintaining even a local presence. Globally it was already important to be visible. Now with the changes COVID-19 has brought to bear it is even more important to the success of your business.
To make contact with WTC Utah and find out what they may be able to do to help your business establish a global presence, contact Jim Porter, WTC Utah’s Trade Services Manager. He can be reached at [email protected]. For more information on World Trade Center Utah click here.