Around the world many small businesses are beginning to take advantage of global opportunities by exporting their products abroad and finding new markets in different countries. With many opportunities to find business partners overseas, finding the right path to take may prove to be a difficult task. However in the United States, there are many government export promotion programs that assist small to medium sized firms succeed and find the right opportunities in these new markets. One program in particular is the International Trade Administration. Doug Barry of the Trade Information Center and the U.S. Commercial Service recently sat down with a technology company from Maryland to discuss the benefits it gained from using export assistance programs.
globalEDGE Blog Archive April 2012
The reality of cultural diversity exists not just on the international business scene but also within an organization. As such, if they are to truly make use of the increasing opportunities and benefits that the global economy is providing, they have to make sure that their employees have sufficient intercultural competence. Communication is imperative for success in the business world, and most people would think of the language barrier as the largest hindrance. However, I’m here to argue that just knowing the local language will not help you be successful in an international setting.
On almost any business team, confrontation is something that is part of every meeting. It is a way to get ideas out on the table, and usher in new innovative solutions. Even at the university level, students are taught how to confront peers in correct ways, to empower team members and not scare them off. However, in the context of a team made up of multiple cultures, this typical American stance on confrontation could be viewed as downright rude and inconsiderate.
In the modern era of global markets and international working opportunities, record numbers of employees of both small businesses and large corporations have embraced the expatriate lifestyle to work abroad. Despite the noticeable increase of expatriates in the past decade, there was surprisingly very little information regarding the differences between working domestically and abroad, which lead ORC Worldwide to conduct a 2007 survey which explored the differences that an expatriate experiences while trying to balance their career and other life obligations. The results of the survey provide an excellent insight into what changes someone looking to work and live abroad should expect, as well as the potential challenges that they should be ready to overcome.
As discussed in yesterday’s introduction post, different cultures have very unique ways of doing business; from business dress, to conducting meetings, to even the customs surrounding deal-making. Each nation takes a unique approach to how many holidays they observe; this is a reflection of their distinctive culture and can affect their economy and business environment. In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing work environment, each day off means less output which in turn reflects potentially lost money. Days off are important for worker’s mental and physical health, but there needs to be a balance between productivity and a conducive work environment. The amount of bank holidays that a nation celebrates could be impacting the economy more than you think.
With 196 countries across the globe and over 7 billion people in the world, differences in culture can be seen almost anywhere. In an increasingly interconnected world, people with different cultures can be found in a country nearby or even in your hometown. As a business person, student, or global citizen what does this mean for you? It simply means that understanding different cultures is becoming incredibly important in our daily lives and for business success on a global and even local level. Understanding cultural differences provides a unique competitive advantage and allows teamwork to thrive in almost any situation regardless of where you might be in the world or who you are working with. This is critical for proper communication and is especially crucial for international business.
Politicians in Estonia, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, began to realize how computers could positively impact a country with a very small workforce and a general lack of physical infrastructure. For the next twenty years, Estonia concentrated on using the internet to transform its government, economy, and society in general. Today, Estonians can do just about anything electronically. Citizens can pay for bus tickets and parking via text, vote in elections from a laptop, or even sign legal documents from a smart phone.
With some of the largest economies in the world struggling to grow, companies are looking to emerging markets to boost sales. Global corporations are testing their limits as they reach into new untouched markets. While there are many challenges that come with selling in a new market, there is also great potential. Many global companies are discovering this fact as they see emerging markets growing their sales.
In economies that are slightly behind their modern industrial counterparts, entrepreneurship is often viewed as an important component in stimulating economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and even alleviating poverty for these countries. However, before that is accomplished, there are several unique features that affect entrepreneurship in developing countries. While some of the distinct aspects of developing countries inhibit entrepreneurship, others enable entrepreneurial activities and allow start-up businesses to be successful despite great odds.
With booming agricultural and mining industries, Latin America has seen economic and human development increase exponentially in the past decade. While human capital and resources attracted foreign investors for a past few years, lately it has been the plentiful sunshine that catches the eyes of many venture capitalists.
Chile in particular has caught the “green” bug. While imported fossil fuel accounts for more than 60% of the county’s electricity production, hydroelectric and solar power plants are in high demand by the Chilean government. With the cost of solar power technology falling, Chile’s quest for affordable renewable energy is not too difficult to obtain. A trade deal with the world’s leading solar power technology manufacturer, China, is in the works.
For a majority of small business owners interested in international exporting, complex African markets are typically avoided in comparison to more familiar markets, like those in Western Europe. In spite of this trend, Amethyst Technologies, a Baltimore-based company, has expanded into Tanzania and Kenya with support from the U.S. Commercial Service. Through working with government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Amethyst Technologies has found success in historically unpredictable markets, and has also made a positive impact through building laboratories that are used for drug testing and developing standards for education, health care, transportation, and agriculture.
As the world population continues to grow and urbanization increases, enormous amounts of energy will be consumed meaning expensive energy costs and waste management will remain major problems. Sustainable development is a solution to this problem. However, one particular region is experiencing urban population growth at an unprecedented rate and faces exceptional challenges in terms of sustainability. This region is Asia and its urban area population has already tripled over the last fifty years. Although Asia faces many tough challenges to sustainable development, these challenges also provide opportunities for global businesses.
As Cambodia furthers itself from the tumultuous ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, topics such as economic development and tourism are receiving more and more attention. Developers in Cambodia believe that building casino resorts will be highly beneficial for tourism and the economy alike. Currently, there are 25 casinos in Cambodia, but many of these are small and cater primarily to hard-core gamblers in the surrounding area. Gambling in Southeast Asia is growing rapidly and Cambodia is seeking to capitalize on this, in hopes of increasing tourism and foreign investment.
As technology and communication capabilities increase, it may be safe to assume that the world is becoming more connected with many countries becoming integrated to the world economy. This basic idea is called globalization and with globalization comes many benefits such as new opportunities in emerging markets and increased access to international trade. To many people, globalization is making the world flat meaning businesses can collaborate and operate across borders without regard to geography or distance in today’s modern technological and political landscape. Many businesses are beginning to realize the opportunities abroad made possible by an increasingly connected world. However, is there a way to measure how connected the world really is?
Following a summit in New Delhi on March 29, 2012, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) announced the proposal for a shared development bank. The idea is that this BRICS bank would provide an alternative to the U.S.-dominated World Bank and even have the ability to protect the developing world from financial problems originating in wealthier nations. Only a day after the summit in New Delhi, president of the World Bank Robert Zoellick said that the World Bank is interested in partnering with the BRICS bank and would be willing to share knowledge regarding global operations with the new bank.
Over the years, clean energy sources have become extremely popular as countries and governments around the world try to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions. One of these clean energy sources is solar power which converts sunlight directly into electricity. Solar power has been used as a major energy source for many applications such as providing electricity for residential homes and industrial equipment. Recently, solar power has been applied to many new projects. One of which is shipping and if successful, solar powered shipping can have large impacts on the environment as well as international trade.
Work-life balance has always been a priority for employees, but not all workplaces have given it the same respect. The amount of vacation time and the number of hours employees are required to work in a week vary greatly across the world. Much of this is a result of cultural differences and tradition, but it also can greatly affect the productivity and happiness of workers. Overworked and unhappy employees can be extremely unproductive. There are many theories and methods for improving morale, but one of the simplest ones is limiting the amount of time employees are working. Sounds simple right? For many employers, it hasn’t been so easy.
No. Well, at least not for a while, according to Xu Xiaoping. Xu ranks among China’s most prominent angel investors. He is also CEO of a NYSE-listed education company called New Oriental Group that helps prepare people from China to study overseas. There are many reasons why innovation has been lacking in China. Many of these reasons deal with cultural differences in comparison to other countries, where innovation is encouraged and embraced.
As large businesses worldwide amp up on cyber security, hackers are beginning to look elsewhere for their victims. Research by Symantec, an internet security firm, states that 40% of all targeted attacks since 2010 have been on small to medium-sized businesses. Attacks on large corporations, on the other hand, have accounted for only 28% of total attacks. Hackers are targeting small businesses because they are aware that many small businesses do not have proper defenses in place and see these firms as lower-risk targets than large firms and financial institutions.
The US Commercial Service is hosting a webinar to highlight the new opportunities and positive outcomes from the recent free trade agreement with Korea. The U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement took effect earlier this month on March 15th and has provided many new business and trade possibilities. Billions of dollars in tariffs are expected to be eliminated due to this new agreement. It is estimated that up to 95% of bilateral trade with Korea will be duty free within the next 5 years. This will benefit a wide variety of industries: agriculture, services, financial services, and more!
This webinar, which will detail more specific benefits, will be held on April 12th from 2-3pm EST and does require a $15 fee along with registration. To find out more information and details about the webinar, please visit the export.gov website. Here you will also find information on how to register for the webinar event!