City of Largo, Florida
March 2 Story of the Week
March 2 Story of the Week
Scholarship Available for Export Marketing Plan Services for
Manufacturers and Technical Service Providers
The United States Small Business Administration, Enterprise Florida, Inc. and the U.S. Commercial Service, the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network has recently announced a new scholarship to assist in qualified manufacturing small businesses that are located within Florida, and are new to the exporting sector. The scholarship is also available to technical service providers such as architects and engineers. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist in identifying growth strategies through the development of customized Export Marketing Plans.
Export marketing is much different than domestic marketing - it involves preparing an offering that will entice a foreign buyer and a foreign customer base who has different preferences and customs. Creating an export marketing plan is more complex than a traditional plan in that a business needs to address issues such as currency exchanges, international transactions, documentation, legal protection, regulatory issues, and more. While an Exporting Plan may require more due diligence, the rewards are worth it - exporting opens up companies to 95% of the world's customers.
Under the new scholarship program, once an applicant becomes a scholarship candidate, he or she will meet with a Florida SBDC Certified Business Analyst to conduct a confidential, in-depth business assessment to prepare and provide the company with a customized Export Marketing Plan. The cost for preparing an Export Marketing Plan is $3,000. Qualifying companies are eligible for a $2,500 scholarship, making the cost to the company $500.
Upon completion and acceptance of the Florida SBDC Export Marketing Plan, each company can apply and will be automatically approved for an Enterprise Florida grant up to $1,500 to be used for an Enterprise Florida Trade Mission or a standalone Gold Key with the U.S. Commercial Service. This grant may also be used to retain the services of an interpreter if needed.
The scholarship program requires that a company must be committed to exporting, must have been a minimum of 3 years in business, and have 5 or more full-time employees. The business must be operating profitably, based on U.S. domestic operations. The company must have between $500,000 to $10 million in annual sales, and the products or services must be labeled "Made in the USA" or have at least 51% U.S. Content. An additional requirement is that the company must meet the SBA's small business standards. At this point in time, Florida manufacturers and professional service providers are preferred.
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