Published: Feb. 24, 2012

Michigan companies want to export more

Contact(s): Andy Henion Media Communications office: (517) 355-3294 cell: (517) 281-6949 Andy.Henion@cabs.msu.edu, J.D. Snyder Center for Community and Economic Development office: (517) 353-9555 cell: (616) 826-3294 snyderj6@msu.edu

LANSING, Mich. — Nine out of 10 small and mid-sized companies want to export more goods and services, but a vast majority of the firms are unaware that federal resources are available to help them do that, according to a survey by MSU’s Center for Community and Economic Development.

The survey found that 73 percent of companies were completely unaware of federal agencies providing free and low-cost services that help boost exports.

“If companies knew about these resources and used them, it would make a big difference,” said J.D. Snyder, researcher with the Lansing-based CCED and director of an export-strategies project funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. “Exporting is an excellent business strategy to increase sales and revenues.”

The CCED surveyed 66 companies in two of Michigan’s most chronically depressed areas: a 14-county east central region that includes Saginaw and a three-county area in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

About 43 percent of the companies said they are currently exporting.

In other findings, 78 percent of respondents cited at least one area – including export regulations, markets and logistics – where their lack of knowledge was a major impediment to export market entry. And 74 percent said at least one financial concern was a key deterrent to exporting, including insufficient working capital and labor resources, prohibitive administration costs, excessive financial risk and the cost of competing.

Small businesses have a wealth of federal, state, and university resources they can turn to. The state recently launched a new export assistance program, the State Trade Export Promotion, to mobilize resources across the state. This new program assists small and medium-sized businesses seeking to enter and expand export markets.

In addition, the MSU International Business Center provides a complete menu of exporting tools and resources, including its redesigned globalEDGE website to assist companies in their pursuit of foreign market entry or expansion.

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