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Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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On an average day, Trina Worrell Benjamin handles invoices, returns calls and emails, directs a team of nearly a dozen employees and manages a client roster that has included big names like Rite Aid and Toys“R”Us. She admits her first steps into entrepreneurship were not easy. But with the help of…

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

  • SBDC: Temple University SBDC
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Trade with Colombia will Help Pennsylvania Businesses

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A nice article from The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) was posted last week that talks about international trade opportunities between Pennsylvania small businesses and Colombia as a result of a recent trade agreement.

Our own Brent Rondon, Manager of the Global Business Program at the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (SBDC), shared his expertise in advising Pennsylvania businesses on international trade opportunities:

“…the Pittsburgh region has a wide array of manufacturing and technology companies. They are highly specialized and competitive, and exports constitute between 5 to 20 percent of their sales. When they compete overseas, many times tools such as trade agreements help them win contracts,” said Rondon.

The article also highlights SBDC client, Hörmann Flexon.

Based in Leetsdale (Allegheny County), Hörmann Flexon is a manufacturer of residential and commercial doors that initially approached the Duqesne SBDC for assistance with its entry strategy into international markets.

As a result of SBDC guidance export sales quickly gained momentum -- including a recent $200,000 sale to a new customer in Colombia.  Hörmann Flexon  recognizes the value of the new trade agreement and looks to do more business overseas, specifically in Colombia:

Hörmann Flexon “could do much more in export sales when the trade agreement with Colombia is implemented. The competition is fierce out there. We need to export to help our economy. Our products are of great quality, so the end user will also win,” said Carlos Turcios, International Sales Manager for Hörmann Flexon.

The U.S.-Colombia trade agreement, which was signed into legislation by President Obama last week, will "support additional Pennsylvania jobs, increase exports, and enhance the competitiveness of Pennsylvania small businesses seeking new Colombian customers."

When the agreement is implemented, more than 80 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products will become duty-free immediately, with remaining tariffs phased out over 10 years.

The USTR is an agency that specializes in trade issues and regions of the world that “negotiates directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, to resolve disputes, and to participate in global trade policy organizations.”

Read the full article here.

Learn more about International Business services provided by the Pennsylvania SBDC.