Written by CEDA’s Bruce Sherman.

Bruce ShermanIn today’s global business world, it is not just large companies that can increase sales by exporting or shipping their products outside their own borders. If you can send a product by mail or download it from the Internet, it’s considered an export. The ability to export goods helps an economy to grow by selling more overall goods and services, which increases the wealth of our community and region.

According to the CenterState Metropolitan Export Initiative by the Brookings Institute, the central New York region is primed to catch up with the rest of the country in regard to exporting. An important piece of improving our economic condition is assisting our region’s businesses with opening new markets.

Ninety-five percent of the world market is located outside of the United States. Over the next five years, the world is going to see an additional 1.8 billion people entering the middle class with disposable income. The opportunity to expand markets for our manufacturers and agribusinesses in Cayuga County lies not just outside New York’s borders, but outside the United States.

There has been a steady increase in exporting by Cayuga County businesses over the last 10 years. Since 2003, export sales have increased 96 percent ($205 million to $403 million), resulting in an increase of direct export support jobs by 27 percent (887 to 1,126). Those numbers may look impressive, although only 8 percent of our economic output in CNY relies on exports, which places us below the national average of 11 percent. There is plenty of room to grow, and it is our goal here at CEDA to help foster that growth.

In the world of economic development, business assistance is more than just providing a business with a grant or tax exemption. Introducing various tools to businesses to help expand their sales is just as, if not more important than providing traditional incentives. One avenue of assistance is to explore exporting opportunities for businesses in our county.

As CEDA’s economic development specialist, my role is to retain Cayuga County’s existing businesses and help them expand. A large part of my job is to connect our county’s industries with resources and other organizations that offer supportive services. We have a great partnership with such an organization, the Central New York International Business Alliance.

The CNYIBA offers export assistance to enhance global sales of businesses in the 12-county CenterState region. I have had the pleasure of working with, and introducing, Steven King, export director of the CNYIBA, to several Cayuga County manufacturers and producers. King has been exporting for over 25 years to over 80 countries and has extensive international sales and marketing experience.

Whether you have never exported, are currently exporting and want to expand, or have an unresolved customs issue, the CNYIBA is available to help. King’s services span from answering a simple question to developing a comprehensive export plan for your company. The CNYIBA can help you find overseas buyers, develop pricing and distribution strategies, deal with compliance and regulatory issues, and offer grant support for exports. King is well-versed to assist your business with reviewing overseas distributor contracts, and is a guru on export freight forwarding and logistics.

If you are a business owner or manager, I encourage you to schedule a meeting with King. He takes a holistic approach to reviewing your exporting needs and potential. The CNYIBA also offers exporting seminars and networking events and a great four-month part time program called ExportNY at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, which helps exporters at all stages to build confidence, competence, and export sales. More information about these events can be found at cnyiba.net.

The CNYIBA and King offer their services for a price that is right for your business: free!

Revitalizing our economy in Cayuga County and throughout New York is going to be a multifaceted process. I feel strongly that assisting our businesses with access to additional markets is crucial.

To grow your business in Cayuga County, contact me at bsherman@cayugaeda.org or Steven King at (315) 470-1800 or sking@cnyiba.net to schedule a meeting. To learn more about our work, reserve your seat at CEDA’s Economic Forecast Luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 28, by contacting Karen Tehan at (315) 252-3500.

Originally published as a special to The Citizen.