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Small Nevada firms encouraged to export

Duane Johnson

Exporting goods and services is not just for big corporations, but for small firms too.

That was the message conveyed by panelists at the recent World Trade Day May 8 at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino, presented by the Nevada World Trade Council also known as NEWTRAC.

Part of NEWTRAC’s mission is to promote the benefits of trade by small firms in global markets, Asia as well as Europe and even the Middle East.

According to Larry Struve, NEWTRAC founder and current president of the Nevada Commission on Foreign Relations, foreign trade could become necessary for the state’s businesses to grow.

This is partly because the long-standing mainstay of Nevada’s economy gaming — is being challenged by Indian casinos in California.

“Gaming is facing such a competitive environment that Nevada needs to diversify its economy,” Struve said.

“Global trade is one way that can be done.”

Struve established NEWTRAC when he was the state’s director of commerce, with the blessing of the District Export Council and the Nevada state legislature.

The organization seeks ways to broaden Nevada’s economic outlets.

However, daunted by issues such as the SARS scare, war with Iraq and the threat of terrorism at home, firms may be a wary of exporting.

On the other hand, NEWTRAC supporters note that these may be only temporary problems and big markets in Asia will eventually pay dividends for exporters.

Jim Kennedy of the United States Department of Commerce told the trade conference that Nevada has great potential for exportation.

“People are under the assumption that to be a successful exporter, you have to be big,” Kennedy said.

“Exporting is significantly important to the success of small business.”

Kennedy said that less than 1 percent of small firms in the United States are involved in export trade, but the wide-ranging array of products produced in Nevada provides an excellent opportunity to do business abroad.

“The export potential of (Nevada’s) small firms has not been realized,” Kennedy said.

One firm that has taken advantage of global trade is Carson City-based Click Bond, an operation that specializes in producing adhesive fastening systems primarily designed for the aerospace and defense industries.

Started in 1987 by Charles Hutter as a tiny firm with a one-building shop and only four employees, the company now has about 100 employees and is adding its fourth building on its property.

Jim Stemler, vice-president of sales for Click Bond, said the company’s growth is due in no small part to exporting their products abroad.

“We now export to 20-25 countries,” Stemler said.

“We’ve continued to grow virtually every month.We also definitely see a good growth curve in the future.”

To help companies get involved in the global trade market, NEWTRAC and the state government have implemented programs to provide information about exporting.

Among the programs available are grants for export promotion to other markets.

Another opportunity offered by the state office of economic development

is the chance to participate in trade shows throughout the United States and overseas.

Alan Di Stefano, director of global trade and investment for the office of economic development, said that trade shows can be a very profitable experience for companies.

Di Stefano gave the example of a food company that went to a trade show to Singapore in April 2002.

The state subsidized 55 percent of the show cost of the company and 50 percent of airfare, hotels and meals.

Within six months, the company obtained a one-year $1 million contract with a fast-food chain.

NEWTRAC also wants to improve higher education programs in international trade.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Business Administration, for instance, is instituting studyabroad internships for undergraduates.

Dr.

Yvonne E.D.

Stedham, professor of management at UNR’s College of Business, feels it’s imperative that students learn about foreign markets.

“As a business college, we have to have an international studies program,” Stedham said.

“You have no idea how even big companies have make big mistaakes.