The Caribbean is much more than a vacation destination with blue water and warm sand, it’s actually a steadily growing market with tremendous business opportunities for minority-owned firms. In fact, the Caribbean is the 3rd largest market for U.S. exports in Latin America – behind only Mexico and Brazil – with $18.5 billion in U.S. goods and services.
For U.S. minority-owned businesses interested in exporting but not sure where to start, the Caribbean offers close proximity to the United States and offers free trade agreements already in place.
Companies providing the following products and services should consider an export strategy:
Surety bonding is primarily needed in the construction industry on publicly funded projects.
How can a public agency using the low-bid system in awarding public works contracts be sure the lowest bidder is dependable?
How can private sector construction project owners manage the risk of contractor failure?
A surety bond is considered a part of the insurance industry, but it shares some characteristics with the credit industry. The surety company's primary duty is not to lend the contractor money. Instead, the surety company uses its financial resources to stand behind, or back, the contractor's commitment and ability to complete a contract.
It’s important to recognize that consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious. Eco-friendly practices may seem costly but can serve as a great investment for future growth in businesses as it reduces costs and creates happier customers.
Business.gov provides suggestions and information from fellow business owners as well as industry and government experts. Linked to the site, you can find a Green Business Guide that offers tons of tips on how to pursue and maintain a green business. Recommendations include how to reduce energy costs, how green technology develops energy efficient upgrades, what kinds tax credits there are to green technology developments, and more. By cutting down on expenses and becoming more consumer-friendly, your business can open up opportunities for growth.
In the current financial environment, access to capital is as much an issue today as it was in 1969 when the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) was established. For new businesses, especially those that are minority-owned, having access to working capital—which is used to keep operations going and to pay bills—could mean the difference between the success and failure of that business.
Other minority-owned firms need capital to fund their growth and,consequently, their ability to perform contracts. This financing could mean hundreds or even thousands of new jobs. And for other companies, primarily construction firms, capital is needed for bonding in order to fulfill contractual requirements. In fact, access to capital is one of the most important challenges business owners face.
You will hear and read the terms “task order contract” and “issuance of task orders” frequently in discussions and documents that pertain to GSA schedules. Even though the FAR 8.4 provides specific authorities for GSA schedule contracts that supercede the FAR 16.5’s specific provisions for task order or indefinite delivery contract types, an understanding of these vehicles will help to better understand the way a GSA schedule works.