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Natural resources businesses in the Arctic are facing a complex economic situation. A new economic organization, the Arctic Economic Council (AEC) Secretariat, was recently founded in the region to help small to medium-sized businesses and promote favorable business policies. However, many countries are reassessing their strategies of drilling for oil and gas in Arctic region because of falling oil prices and the downturn of the global economy.

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A great resource for all small businesses in Michigan is the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC). With services that range from no cost to a small fee, Michigan business owners and entrepreneurs can take advantage of business plan development, financial management, business workshops, raising capital, export strategy, and technology commercialization. The Michigan SBDC provides invaluable resources to the Michigan business community. With a global market that is changing everyday, having these types of resources at your fingertips could make a world of a difference in keeping a business competitive. Make sure to check out other globalEDGE Michigan resources for access to other sites that could help take your business from a single location to a global brand.

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With small entrepreneurial business growing, it is important to know the resources that are out there to help grow your business. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides many different ideas to help expand your small business successfully, whether it is to a neighboring state or country, or to the other side of the world. Some of the suggestions include the use of technology, forecasting, building your own franchise, and developing a marketing plan. In the rest of this post, we will look a little deeper into how you can plan for successful growth for your business.

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The thriftily lending of Spain’s commercial and investment banks to those who borrowed excessive capital from international markets to lend to developers at rates they could not repay caused the Spanish economy to tumble in 2011. Basel III, a voluntary framework on bank capital adequacy, stress testing, and market liquidity risk, seemed to be the regulatory answer by the financial services industry. It was adopted by all of Spain’s largest lenders and local governments. Their main mission: stabilize the credit markets enough for foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Spanish economy.

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There are many widely known benefits to exhibiting at a tradeshow. You are able to market your product, network and, ideally, generate new business for your company. Unfortunately, however, tradeshows are notorious for being costly. As Forbes contributor, Brent Gleeson, put it, “planning and goal setting is critical to generating a positive ROI from your tradeshow investment." Food Export – Midwest’s Food Show PLUS! program helps companies to do just that. Through its various services, Food Show PLUS! ensures that major international tradeshows are utilized to their full potential by assisting companies in the areas of research, preparation and translation. It is also possible for companies to apply for the Branded Program which offers up to a 50% reimbursement for several expenses related to exhibiting at international tradeshows. If you are considering introducing your products to foreign markets, Food Show PLUS! can give you the tools you need to find success.

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Exporting has become a major source of growth for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses.  In the United States, a large percentage of the labor force is made up of small business employees.  Export growth can enable these companies to grow in size, which creates a need for more workers.  Exporting also allows businesses to diversify their customer bases, which can protect companies in times of regional or country-specific economic contraction.

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Out of the millions of U.S. businesses, only about 300,000 individual companies made an international sale in 2012. Although the U.S. is the world’s number one exporter, there is potential to grow exports by small and medium sized businesses. In its book Exporters!, the U.S. Commercial Service interviews 28 of its current clients that are small businesses, which export their goods or services. Each company covered in the book is unique and has a different story of how they first began exporting. One common theme was the benefits and resources provided by the U.S. government.

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The evolution of technology has opened the Internet for cross-border collaboration and has enabled a whole new range of economic activity that includes online trades, big data, and online advertising. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, from 2004-2009, the Internet contributed up to 21 percent in GDP growth in the developed world and 11 percent in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China). This blog will discuss the international trade benefits created by the Internet and the risks associated with online cross-border trade.

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Silicon Valley has always been considered the Mecca of tech start-ups. Why Silicon Valley? Countries have been asking themselves this for years as the insistence on replicating the success of Silicon Valley becomes ever more alluring. Many have tried to replicate Silicon Valley but that has proven to be a herculean task. France, Norway and Malaysia have attempted to create an entrepreneurial rival but to no avail. There is no doubt that one of the keys to success is the relative ease with which a company is able to be started in the United States compared to the rest of the world and also the sheer amount of capital surrounding Silicon Valley makes access to funds easy but these strategies alone cannot explain why northern California has excelled, for many countries have duplicated these methods.

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Identifying intercontinental and cross-cultural opportunities and weaving them into unique profit-building innovations can be a daunting task for a small start-up, especially when a high cost-risk ratio is factored.  Michigan State University offers a multitude of resources for global entrepreneurs for understanding how to tackle the most common roadblocks: market commonality/divergence recognition, foreign economy entrance, and network access for concrete business-services platform.

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How to encourage entrepreneurship? This is a question many universities, cities, states and nations ask themselves on an almost daily basis. The notion of entrepreneurship is a romantic one. Those who begin ventures in a dorm room or garage and achieve success are universally beloved – look no further than Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. The secret formula to release and cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit has long been debated. Could failure actually be a cause?

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Starting a business is not an easy task. It’s one that takes hard work, dedication, and an entrepreneurial spirit that is willing to take on challenges. Despite the many challenges faced by entrepreneurs, starting a business has become easier in certain parts of the world as policymakers begin to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial activities are extremely crucial for the economic well-being of almost every country. As the driving force of innovation and job creation, entrepreneurship has taken on a new level of significance in the global economy. However, certain countries lag behind others in terms of entrepreneurial activities. Differences in culture and business climate are the major factors affecting the level of entrepreneurship within a country.

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Learning the business environment of other countries is an important task for those looking to export their products to new markets. Foreign countries provide vast opportunities for growth and allow companies of all sizes to reach new customers. However, each market filled with opportunities also presents challenges for businesses. There are many resources for small companies that make the transition into a foreign market much easier. Doug Barry recently sat down with Mike McGee, Senior U.S. Commercial Service Officer, to discuss the business environment of Burma (now known as Myanmar). To watch this interesting video on doing business in Burma, please see the posted video below!

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Out of the millions of businesses in the United States, only about 1.5 percent of these companies sell their products internationally. Furthermore, over half of these businesses exported to only one foreign market. So what can be done to increase U.S. exports? Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service has the answer. In his book, Exporters! The Wit and Wisdom of Small Business Owners Who Sell Globally, Doug Barry shares 26 success stories from small companies in the United States who made the leap of faith in selling their products abroad. These companies started from small beginnings and now make products for customers throughout the world.

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The traditional model for young start-ups has been to establish a foothold in the United States for a couple years, before branching out to Europe and Asia. These traditional models are out of date and only constrict your company's growth potential.

The United States used to be worth twice as much as Europe and three times that of Asia. Times have changed though; the world is becoming one market, a global market. The language of this global market is currency, which can take on multiple forms, but it's uniting all. If you aren't doing business in Europe and Asia, that's 2/3's of your potential revenue streams you are missing out on.

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2013 might just be the year emerging markets have been anticipating. Throughout the past year, investors have been pouring money into emerging markets in developing countries. There are other factors that point to success for emerging markets, but are they enough to boost the small businesses to profits and prosperity?

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With an increasingly interconnected world and growing international marketplace, many companies are searching for opportunities at a global level. Businesses are looking to expand overseas for many reasons—stagnant economies at home, desired growth in their customer base, or even the pursuit for higher profit margins. Whatever the case may be, these businesses are becoming very important for the global economy. Surprisingly enough, not all of these businesses are large multinational firms. In fact, there is a recent trend where small businesses are beginning to follow larger companies in expanding their business operations into foreign markets.

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When the words German businesses are spoken, the images that tend to come to mind are usually those of large corporations like BMW or Siemens. Surprisingly to most, the true engine of the German economy that has kept the country away from the European debt crisis is actually the Mittelstand, or the nation's vast amount of small and middle-size companies. Accounting for more than 60 percent of Germany's workforce, the Mittelstand focuses more on sustainability than growth, has not seen any effect on sales during the current debt crisis, and is reported by the Institute for Mittelstand Research to actually be cutting their debt. When compared to the debt-stricken economies of Greece, Italy, Spain, and a debt-threatened France, Germans argue that the structure of the Mittelstand, which focuses more on sustainability than growth, has proven to be a vital aspect of the country's economic prosperity.

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Earlier this month in Washington D.C., Ambient Technologies was one of several companies recognized for their efforts to increase exports in the United States. They received the Presidential E Award for their efforts to export their company’s services abroad, with help from the Export Assistance Centers of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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Small companies are often intimidated by the thought of selling their products abroad. To be fair to them, there are a lot of considerations that need to be factored in that do not apply in domestic sales that can be overwhelming. There are often extra fees, legal considerations, shipping concerns, as well as culture and language barriers. Still, selling abroad is a great option for small companies who are looking for rapid growth. By no longer limiting your business to selling within your boarders, countless new customers will become available to you. That is exactly what Charles Popenoe III found out with the help of the US Commercial Service and International Trade Administration.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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As economic globalization continues to make foreign markets more accessible, opportunities for small businesses to export abroad remain on the rise. In response to the ongoing global recession, the United States federal government has recognized the importance of small business owners, and the crucial aspect they play in a successful economy. Stemming from the government’s National Export Initiative, many small businesses have stepped out of American markets and found success through exporting abroad, such as the Patton Electronics Company.

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Small businesses in China for a long time have depended on small firms, wealthy investors, and loan sharks for funding.  Some of these tactics, depending on the terms, are illegal, but often times have been the only source for small businesses in need of loans.  This is the case because China’s major state-owned banks focus on lending money to large enterprises that are owned by the state.  The Chinese government has recently announced that authorities are looking for ways to legitimize this informal-lending sector, in hopes of transforming existing underground lenders into licensed investors and potentially small-loan companies.

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As globalization increases, small businesses are gaining many opportunities to export their products overseas. However, less than two percent of all United States companies export to foreign markets. With the National Export Initiative, the United States plans to turn this surprising fact around and double U.S. exports within the upcoming years. Small businesses can play a crucial role in helping the United States accomplish its exporting goals. In fact, some small businesses in the United States have already found success in markets abroad.

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Many small businesses are achieving success by selling to customers within their domestic borders. While this is a solid strategy, opportunities exist around the world that will allow further business growth. These opportunities lie within expanding business into new markets abroad. Going global may seem difficult at first but for many small businesses it provides a proven growth strategy. Doug Barry of the United States Commercial Service states that profit margins for international sales tend to be higher and he also offers several tips for entering international markets. We will now take a look at these suggestions and see how easy international business can really be!

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With the National Export Initiative, the United States is seeking to double exports by the end of 2014. However, the typical United States manufacturing exporter sells to less than five buyers in overseas markets. Many people may assume that the responsibility of meeting the ambitious export goal lies in the hands of large businesses and corporations in America. While partially true, there are other businesses in the United States that are already stepping up to the challenge. These businesses are the small businesses all over the country that are being driven by entrepreneurship, creativity, and hard work.

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While cities and industries around the world have been displaying a great deal of resilience in tough economic times, small businesses also have the opportunity to accomplish this. Almost every day businesses overcome a variety of obstacles and setbacks in order to operate successfully. In fact, in a globalized world, small businesses may have greater access to foreign markets and the latest technology but that also means these businesses are connected to potential disruptions in the global economy. These small businesses also have the problem of facing increased competition from larger businesses. However, just as countries or industries can bounce back from economic hardships and natural setbacks, small businesses can do the same.

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Doug Barry, an expert in small business exportation, recently teamed up with Jim Blasingame of “The Small Business Advocate Website” in three interviews regarding the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.  These interviews focus on exporting and doing business in these four countries and the many opportunities that are available in these countries in the business sector.

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In response to decreasing domestic demand, small-to-midsize businesses in Europe are looking to export.  However, many of these enterprises are finding it difficult to be globally competitive because of high labor, transport, and real estate costs.  Many of these businesses produce equipment used in construction and high costs of production have led to unaffordable prices.  To be successful, these companies need to find new export countries and increase their competitiveness.

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Entrepreneurship is the key, long-term growth driver of any country's economy. Not only do small businesses, in aggregate, add more jobs than large corporations, they are usually the companies leading technological breakthroughs. These small businesses are clearly very important to every country, but they face different challenges and rewards when operating in developed and emerging markets.

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With increased globalization, small businesses led by entrepreneurs can play an important role in global growth. In today’s world of interconnected markets and easy technological access, entrepreneurs have increased opportunities to expand their business abroad. Many entrepreneurs around the world have already expanded their small business overseas providing economic success and new jobs for many. In light of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we will take a look at one of these global start-up stories where a small business driven by an entrepreneurial spirit found success in markets abroad.

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With the United States setting a goal to double exports in the next four years, small businesses play a very important role in accomplishing this mission. The National Export Initiative, the official title of this export growth objective, has a website designed to help small businesses export products to new markets and attain business growth abroad. Doug Barry of the U.S. Department of Commerce is an expert in exporting strategy for small businesses and has helped many small businesses accomplish their exporting goals. Last week, we posted a blog about an interview with Doug Barry where he explains how a small bio-business used international markets to achieve remarkable levels of business growth. This week, Doug Barry has conducted additional interviews where he shares his small business expertise and knowledge.

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For small businesses, exporting products to new markets may appear unattainable.  With assistance from partners such as the U.S. Commercial Service, business leaders with minimal international experience can soon learn the basics of exporting.  This can be an enormous opportunity for business growth, attainable without unnecessary levels of risk.  Jim Blasingame of “The Small Business Advocate” recently sat down with Doug Barry, the Director of Marketing and Communication for the U.S. Commercial Service, to discuss such a success story.  One small bio-business used international markets to quickly achieve levels of wealth that otherwise would have seemed impossible. 

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If you are a small business counselor looking to improve your skills as an export and trade advisor, online training certification may be of interest to you. The Export and Trade Counseling Certification Training webpage is a great resource to achieve this goal and is provided by the U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce. This page offers small business counselors the opportunity to receive certification after viewing several webinars on exporting information and guides.

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Products by large companies such as Samsung and Hyundai are crucial to keeping South Korea’s economy afloat however the country’s small and medium-sized businesses may be even more important. These smaller businesses provide more than 80 percent of the country’s jobs but are beginning to feel the pressure from Korea’s big conglomerates. The number of smaller firms competing in various sectors has been reduced to just a handful because of the difficulties of earning a profit in the face of big company demands. This is not the only concern for small-businesses in South Korea.

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Over a quarter million small businesses in the United States export their products and services to other countries around the world. By doing so these businesses increase their revenues, broaden and diversify their customer base, and provide jobs for their local communities. The United States has set a goal to double exports by 2014 in order to support the addition of two million jobs for the American workforce and encourage economic growth. To reach this goal and help small businesses further increase their exports, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce, and the Small Business Administration have released a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Tariff Tool.

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I recently came across a very interesting article in the New York Times about the misunderstandings of starting a small business. There are many fears to venturing out and starting a small business of your own. Hopefully after reading over this list, you will have a better idea of what is true and what is false when it comes to opening a business.

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If you wanted to start a business anywhere in the world where would you pick? According to a Wall Street Journal article, the best place would be Denmark. The article talks about a collection of surveys that show a glimpse of entrepreneurship around the world and the factors that might help your next business make it in the global marketplace.

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China remains a robust destination for a gamut of businesses. The country offers a particular wealth of advantages for manufacturing companies. Often solely regarded as a region for inexpensive labor, China also offers an increasingly sophisticated range of manufacturers and workers. Today, China accommodates the entire span between high quality manufacturing needs and orders for manufactured commodity goods. For most global companies, perhaps the most important benefit of establishing a presence in China is the fuller access into the Chinese market that this provides. But what is the best way to navigate business operations in China?

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Despite the tendency to think otherwise, it is possible for businesses of any size to have a successful strategy centered on exporting products overseas. While many entrepreneurs and small business owners may believe that they cannot possibly develop a successful international business strategy due to a lack of knowledge about foreign customers, poor foreign language skills, or size constraints, experts in the field of international business would urge them to push those doubts aside. 

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Many small business owners in the United States struggle to successfully export products to global markets. Without expertise in dealing with international markets, it may be challenging to develop a business plan that is well-suited for customers around the world. Doug Barry of the Trade Information Center at the United States Department of Commerce recently interviewed one man who set an example for other small business leaders to follow.

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This week is National Small Business Week in the United States! This yearly tradition began in 1963 and has continued ever since. Its objective is to recognize how small businesses contribute to the growth of America. This year’s Small Business Week conference began Sunday and just finished up today. Some of the topics discussed at this year’s conference were ‘turning innovation into jobs’, ‘taking your business global’, and ‘social media and small businesses’.

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Now is the time to think about ways to expand your international sales!  The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration has just started a new series of webinars to help businesspeople learn about topics ranging from identifying new international markets to understanding export controls.

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Are you an American small business owner? Here's an interesting fact for you: 95% of your prospects live outside the U.S. But you're just a small and measly company, how could you possibly access this vast global demand? Why the internet of course! You usually don't think of selling a product online as exporting, but it is. Starting small is a great way to go, but as a small firm if you want to grow, you may need a lot of help. How exactly do you develop and excecute a comprehensive exporting plan without much knowledge?

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I recently stumbled upon a television commercial showing a great website. There are multiple great social networking sites online and many opportunities to meet other business people in the world, but this is a great opportunity. OPEN Forum is a community of small business owners, and gives the tools to connect and collaborate. It gives the chance for small business owners to help small business owners. There are multiple tools available to users, which can do anything from help generate new leads by intelligently matching businesses with similar needs and interests to having a digital trading post of ideas and insights from industry experts and owners. This is a great website for businesses to get informed and inspired.
 
I’ll give you a reminder that we too have a network system. You can sign up for a members only globalEDGE Network™ which allows other globalEDGE Network members to contact you. You can search people by industry or country to possibly find prospective collaboration partners and industry experts. Whether you are trying to expand your company into a new location or just need expert feedback, the globalEDGE Network allows all of our users to find the right person in the right place. The globalEDGE Network is free, and members will have exclusive usage of the members directory (searchable by industry or country) and email service via globalEDGE. If you are already a member of globalEDGE, please login above and update your profile, clicking the check box next to the globalEDGE Network™. Once your profile is updated, you will be a part of this new network. If you are not already a member of globalEDGE, join the network of opportunity!

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The recent back-to-back typhoons in the Philippines have really crippled their small entrepreneurs. In this country consisting of thousands of beautiful islands, these small businesses are what make the economy thrive, so recovery has been and will be an uphill battle. A whopping 99.7 percent of all businesses in the Philippines are classified by the Department of Trade and Industry as micro, small, and medium enterprises. It got me thinking a bit about how other natural disasters affect the economies of other countries.

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Why should a small business enter the Canadian and Mexican market? There are a plethora of opportunities in both countries. From a United States perspective, they are the largest foreign investor in Canada and the most popular destination for Canadian investment. The U.S. exports to Canada exceed their exports to the entire European Union. Mexico isn't far behind with the second largest market in the world for U.S. exports. In 2007, U.S. and Mexico two-way trade exceeded one billion dollars a day. I will briefly discuss both the challenges, potential, and strategies for entering both the Canadian and the Mexican market.

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The Trade North America Conference, happening in Detroit this week, is a great opportunity for the Midwest regional business community to learn about today’s trade climate. Underscoring the importance of the event, Undersecretary of Commerce, Dennis Hightower and former Governor of Michigan, John Engler will be speaking. The focus of the conference is to equip businesspeople with information which will enhance their ability to successfully export products to Canada and Mexico.

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Jamal Qureshi never imagined the success he would have when he immigrated to the United States a few years ago from his native city of Bhopal, India. Now he is doing business in the same city he grew up in, just from the opposite end of the world. Qureshi is the CEO of JQ American in Hayward, California, an exporter of products and services in the energy, medical, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. The unique part of JQ American is that they sell to a whopping 16 countries, while most small and medium sized U.S. firms only export to one international market. So how was all this possible?

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The Economist Intelligence Unit(EIU) has created a corporate barometer to survey businesspeople's confidence levels. The Corporate Expectations Barometer takes about five minutes to complete, and can be helpful in gauging the expectations of fellow businesspeople in one's own industry as well as other industries. Additionally, the EIU will prepare a customized briefing for those who complete the survey which will allow them to track their results over time and receive monthly updates, as well as being able to compare results with the EIU's own findings.

This could be a very helpful tool for the small business owner, as it helps connect different business peers and can give them an idea of where their industry could be headed. Check it out here!

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The recent acquisition of the automobile retailer Saturn by Penske has reawakened an old debate in business: to co-brand or not to co-brand? Co-branding is the collaboration of two companies in marketing their product, aimed to create synergy and draw interest. If Pillsbury Brownies are enhanced by Nestle Chocolate, then brand recognition and desirability is increased for both parties. Too often, though, co-branding has been relegated to large businesses, because small businesses stand nothing to gain by co-branding because they cannot reach as many people with their products. However, co-branding can be effective for small businesses as well.

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One month ago we posted about the Top 10 Global Small Busines Trends for 2009. Apparently this is still a hot topic, and Emergent Research has compiled a more pointed list of 10 expected trends for small businesses in 2009:

Economic Trends

1. The recession drives small business innovation.

2. Government plays an increasing role in the economy.

3. Global infrastructure and stimulus spending.

4. The number of small businesses will increase in 2009.

5. Small business globalization will temporarily slow.

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Got the entrepreneurial spirit or prefer working for a small business? After comparing 181 economies across the globe, the collective knowledge of 6,700 business experts and government officials suggests that Singapore, New Zealand, and United States have the friendliest business climate for startups and small companies (based on a recent World Bank survey).