MN, U.S. Officials Promote Small-Business Exports

Minneapolis is the first stop on a national tour that aims to help small- and medium-sized businesses break into new markets abroad.

Minneapolis is the first stop on the federal “New Markets, New Jobs” tour-and local government officials will join U.S. leaders to promote the growth of small-business exports.

The tour is a national outreach effort that aims to help small- and medium-sized businesses that want to break into new export markets abroad. Both Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will participate in the February 17 tour kickoff in Minneapolis-as will U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, and Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg.

“It's fitting that the Obama Administration has chosen Minneapolis to kick off this important tour,” Rybak said in a statement. “Minneapolis-Saint Paul has long been home to globally-oriented companies that have sustained our local economy by exporting, and as a global metropolitan area, we are also home to many dynamic small businesses that are well positioned to take advantage of this important initiative. As President Obama said in the State of the Union address, 'the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home.'”

Conferences at each tour stop will feature trade resource panels on key export topics-including federal resources available to businesses to begin exporting or expand exports, materials and resources to guide sales abroad, and lessons that local businesses have learned and applied to successfully expand into new markets and grow.

The tour is part of President Obama's national export initiative, which was launched a year ago. The goal behind it is to double U.S. exports within a five-year period in order to create several million new jobs.

After the tour kicks off in Minneapolis, there will be additional stops in California, Louisiana, and Delaware.

Minnesota has an active export market. Figures from the fourth quarter of 2010 aren't yet available, but the state's manufacturers exported $4.4 billion worth of goods during the third quarter-representing a 17 percent year-over-year increase. Meanwhile, U.S. exports were up by the exact same percentage in the first 11 months of 2010 to $1.67 trillion.

A recent survey by the U.S. International Trade Commission found that small- and medium-sized manufacturers that exported their products in 2009 had more than twice the total revenue of their non-exporting counterparts. The group that exports experienced 37 percent revenue growth between 2005 and 2009, while revenue for the non-exporting group declined by 7 percent over the same period.