Posted at 9:38 AM
As you look to grow your small business, you might want to consider opportunities with our neighbor to the south, the largest market for U.S. small business exports: Mexico.
In October of this year, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet visited Mexico to discuss opportunities for expanding trade with Mexico. She forcefully advocated for encouraging women entrepreneurship, advanced innovation, and business partnerships; increasing access to capital; and improving bilateral regulatory cooperation.
Mexico already offers significant benefits to U.S. exporters and even more potential for women-owned business exporters. In Mexico City, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, a Member of President Obama’s Cabinet, emphasized the positive developments in the local business environment and the opportunities for U.S. small businesses to connect with Mexican entrepreneurs in various sectors.
She noted, “U.S. small business success in the 21st Century will require entrepreneurs to start with a broader perspective: we must see the global market as our home market.”
Mexico has a large appetite for American goods and is the second biggest purchaser of U.S. products, behind Canada, but is the largest market for small business exports. In 2014, 55,860 U.S. businesses with less than 500 employees registered export sales to Mexico totaling over $77 billion.
Several women entrepreneurs in Mexico mentioned that, in spite of various start-up and operational challenges, many of their companies were partnering with various organizations to support other women entrepreneurs focused on improving access to education, software coding and networking. Some representatives described their rewarding work with women in rural areas, helping provide needed skills and facilitating access to markets. Others were focused on teaching women entrepreneurs how to register intellectual property in Mexico.
One common thread in these discussions centered on the importance of connecting women entrepreneurs from Mexico and the United States according to their sectorial focus or business needs, facilitating reciprocal trade and business partnerships, and creating a communications network to share knowledge and opportunities. These creative business dialogues demonstrate SBA’s commitment to fostering bilateral trade, small business development, and spurring women entrepreneurship efforts by the Mexico-U.S. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council (MUSEIC).
Beyond our bilateral trade relations with Mexico, SBA also is seeking to establish a trilateral business development platform to foster women entrepreneurship in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. This platform will facilitate the creation of small business relationships among the three neighboring countries while providing training, mentoring, prototyping and exchanges to women entrepreneurs in the North America region.
To find more information about these key new market opportunities, entry strategies, technical requirements for products, and other advice on doing business in Mexico, please take a look the U.S. government’s Country Commercial Guide for Mexico (CCG 2016).
US small businesses that see sales opportunities in Mexico should also be aware that SBA has a number of export loan guarantees to help them secure the financing they need to develop their export activities. In some cases there are even incentives to support companies seeking connections with foreign buyers. SBA has a dedicated team of exporting experts who can guide small businesses in evaluating international marketing and financing options, so please contact SBA; we can assist you at any step in growing your international sales.