The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has certified the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC), at 100 Cherokee Blvd., as an International Trade Center. The certification means counselors are knowledgeable regarding identifying markets for products; the selection of foreign partners; shipping products; export regulations and controls, and international trade payment methods. Currently, the only other International Trade Center in Tennessee is located in Nashville.
Two of the TSBDC’s counselors, Ivette Rios, small business specialist, and Jules Doux, senior small business specialist, have passed the intermediate level exam for SBA certification as international counselors. According to Doux, international certification is “a way to expand services to existing business in the area.”
The next level of certification for the counselors is Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP). Upon passing the NASBITE CGBP exam Rios and Doux will be proficient in global commerce, and have knowledge of global marketing, trade finance, global business management, and supply chain management. Depending on the exam schedule, Rios and Doux plan to complete the next level of certification by the end of summer.
With both certifications, the TSBDC will be in a prime position to support the National Export Initiative (NEI) as the only business counseling center in the area with a focus on international trade which will promote global expansion for local businesses.
“Ninety-seven per cent of the market is outside the U.S. This gives local businesses a venue for growth. Some local businesses may have considered exporting. We can help them with market potential and research to help them to decide which countries and how to handle customs in order to export their products,” said Rios.
The TSBDC will host basic trade seminars as well as market specific seminars in the near future. With the help of counselors in the Atlanta SBA office, the TSBDC is putting together a schedule of seminars to be held in spring. In addition, one-on-one counseling will be provided to Tier II companies, companies that are ready to export, and Tier III companies, those that are currently exporting, but are looking to expand to other markets.
To learn more about the services available at the TSBDC visit tsbdc.org or call 423 756-8668.