Larger regional or major metro area EDOs have the scale to offer some of their own export promotion activities, in addition to the roles of connection to federal and state programs and creating awareness about global market opportunities. They can potentially take a lead or co-lead role in delivering export programs and services. However, it is critical that that they be coordinated with state/federal export programs and are striving to fill program and service gaps that are important for regional businesses.
This table shows common export assistance services that are provided by federal and state programs, as well as some regional EDOs. Larger regional or major metro EDOs may be able to offer some of the services shaded in the table. If coordinated, these services can complement federal and state programs. The other services listed tend to require funding for overseas offices/consultants or require trade expertise that is often not realistic for most regional EDOs.
Specifically, the services that larger regional and metro EDOs are positioned to deliver include the following:
Export Services that Larger Scale Regional EDOs Could Offer
- Export Education & Training. In collaboration with other trade organizations in the region, a regional EDO could organize (or co-organize) export education and training programs to cover topics that are not sufficiently addressed by existing programs. (Again, this should be tightly coordinated with state and federal trade organizations.) This table provides a list of Common Export Education Topics, and provides more detailed information on potential speakers and specific subtopics they might cover. Other ideas about topics to cover in educational programs can be found on the US Commercial Service online guide to exporting
- Structured Export Planning and Acceleration Programs. Regional EDOs could offer structured “export acceleration” or “export planning” programs that are not offered by federal and state trade promotion organizations in their region. These programs help companies develop export plans, provide trade education, and connect companies with the various trade promotion resources available from state, federal, and private sector entities. Examples of this category of programs include: ExporTech, Virginia’s VALET, Northeast Ohio’s Target, and Florida’s SBDC Export Marketing Plan Service. A regional EDO could consider adopting or initiating one of these programs in its region. Each one has different requirements and restrictions on the use of their content and intellectual property. More information can be found below under examples.
- Programs Targeting Specific Foreign Markets. Regional EDOs might also consider country-specific initiatives to help regional exporters pursue growth in specific markets that offer strong sales potential. This could include programs focused on promoting trade with nearby markets such as Canada or Mexico, or trade missions to specific countries that provide opportunity for regional exporters. However, it is critical to avoid duplicating state and federal programs, but rather focus effort on specific countries where additional support is needed beyond what is already available at the state and federal level. More information can be found below under examples.
- Programs Targeting Important Regional Industries or Clusters. Regional EDOs might also consider offering sector or cluster specific programs or initiatives that can provide additional support – beyond what is already available at the state and federal level – to a cluster that is important to a region. More information can be found below under examples.
- Trade Missions and Tradeshows. As implied by the discussion above, regional EDOs might consider organizing (or co-organizing) tradeshow groups or trade missions in order to fill gaps, either by supporting specific sectors or clusters that are important to the region or supporting business development in specific countries where regional exporters have market opportunities. In either case, the objective should be to provide additional support for key clusters and countries, beyond what is available from federal and state programs. “Should our Regional EDO Organize Trade Missions or Tradeshow Delegations?” is a decision tool that helps a regional EDO determine whether it should offer these programs. The Trade Mission – ‘How to’ Guide (adapted from an Enterprise Florida tool) is a step by step guide to organizing a trade mission (or value added tradeshow delegation).
Case Examples of Metro Area Collaboration and Coordination with Export Ecosystem:
Case Example – Global Tampa Bay
Case Example – Export Alabama Alliance
Structured Export Planning and Acceleration Programs:
SBDC Marketing Plan Service website
Programs Targeting Important Regional Industries or Clusters:
The Chicago Metro Metals Consortium strengthens the regional metals cluster, and export promotion is one of the priorities for the program.