Posted at 9:44 AM
Due to their cultural ties, language skills and nimbleness, Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) have a competitive advantage in global trade; and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is committed to working with U.S. companies to help American-made goods and services succeed in the global market.
In 2016, MBDA announced a five year, $5 million investment to establish four export centers located in Chicago, Miami, Sacramento, and San Antonio.
These MBDA Export Centers are experts at identifying, screening, promoting, and referring MBEs to resources that may assist with entry into global markets or expanding a company’s export operations. They also provide technical assistance and business development services to generate increased financing, contract opportunities, and greater access to new markets. To do this they:
- Develop pools of global contracts and trade finance opportunities.
- Direct match opportunities with qualified/vetted MBEs.
- Manage relationship and deal sourcing initiatives (such as but not limited to industry clusters).
- Identify, match, and help secure alternative sources of capital and trade financing.
- Educate MBEs on the benefits of strategic growth alternatives (e.g., joint ventures, teaming arrangements, and other vehicles to enhance business capacity).
- Develop business-to-business matching forums.
- Create trade promotion opportunities in target markets.
In March of 2017, the San Antonio MBDA Export Center led a business development trip to Mexico City, inviting clients from the national network of MBDA Business Centers. One client, Jay Yi of Virginia-based Berry Frozen Yogurt, joined the trip to learn more about the market and meet with experts with the goal of beginning to export his products to Mexico. The San Antonio MBDA Export Center was able to facilitate multiple days of meetings with various chambers of commerce, market analysts and marketing professionals, legal experts, and U.S. Commercial Services. During the meetings, there were discussions about understanding the Mexican market, best strategies to introduce Berry Frozen Yogurt, specific distribution channels, and franchising. Introductions were also made to potential investors as well as a potential distributor and other business contacts.
Doing business in a foreign country can be a challenge, so some of the discussions also focused on understanding legal requirements and paperwork, looking into collaborations and bilateral trade, as well as having reliable connections and ability to leverage resources and networks.
Thanks to the MBDA Export Center, Yi and Berry Frozen Yogurt were equipped with the resources and support needed to break into a new market and grow their business.
To learn more about the resources available to MBEs through MBDA programs, please visit www.mbda.gov/grow.