International Trade Resource Center


N.H. Business urged to Look Southward to New Markets

By Janet Lathrop
UNH News Bureau

July 12, 2001

DURHAM, N.H. -- Last year, New Hampshire firms shipped more than $365 million in goods to Mexico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Argentina and several other Latin American nations, but Granite State businesses are not yet taking full advantage of markets there, according to Anka Verweij-Jacobs, international training manager for the N.H. Small Business Development Center's (SBDC) International Trade Resource Center, Portsmouth.

To help increase awareness among New Hampshire businesses of trade and export opportunities in Latin America, the SBDC is hosting a two-part Latin American Business and Cultural Festival on Thursday, July 26 at the International Trade Resource Center at Pease International Tradeport. The afternoon business festival from 1 to 5 p.m. will focus on the "how to," nuts and bolts of marketing, licensing, using U.S. government resources, developing business strategies, shipping, the economic outlook and finding a good match between markets and New Hampshire products in the region. Expert speakers hope to show New Hampshire entrepreneurs how they may diversify their customer bases in South and Central America.

"If your business has gotten an e-mail on its Web page from Mexico or Argentina -- or if your business would like to see that -- it's probably time to consider expanding your sales area," says Verweij-Jacobs.

"There is good expertise here in New Hampshire, there is a lot of knowledge available," she notes. "Come and get to know the people who are here to assist you." For example, she points out that at the International Trade Resource Center (ITRC), businesses will find not only the New Hampshire SBDC, but representatives of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the New Hampshire International Trade Association, and the Division of Economic Development's Office of International Commerce (OIC). The ITRC plans, develops and administers programs for international trade promotion and foreign market development.

Especially for this Latin American Business and Cultural Festival, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Export-Import Bank of the United States will be represented, as well. All can help answer questions at no cost and offer advice on how to start setting up connections.

A second and equally important part of the Latin American Business and Cultural Festival will feature Latin American music, food, dance, crafts and more from 5 to 9:30 p.m. This is intended to introduce a bit of cross-cultural enjoyment and entertainment to New Hampshire's business community, says Verweij-Jacobs.

"There is a certain need for fun events, too, in networking, and the cultural part can be so important in having a success in business. It's often the forgotten part, too," she adds. A general appreciation that there are many different cultures to be found and more than one language spoken in Central and South America is a good start, the training manager notes.

Besides the SBDC, sponsors for the July 26 event include the Redhook Brewery of Portsmouth, the U.S. Postal Service and Emery Worldwide. The N.H. SBDC is a nonprofit organization program supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the N.H. Dept. of Resources and Economic Development, the University of New Hampshire and its Whittemore School of Business and Economics, and the private sector.

Cost to attend the Business Festival alone is $55 per person, the Cultural Festival alone is $35 per person, and admission to both events is $75. For more information or to register, contact Anka Verweij-Jacobs, N.H. SBDC International Trade Resource Center, 17 New Hampshire Ave., Portsmouth 03801. Telephone 334-6074, E-mail: anka@dred.state.nh.us Or see www.exportnh.com

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