NEW NAME! Ohio SBDC: Export Assistance Network

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Director, SBDC Export Assistance Network, OSU South Centers)

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SBDC Export Assistance Network

The Ohio Development Services Agency’s Export Assistance Office has a new name for its specialized export service centers, called the Ohio SBDC Export Assistance Network. These services are available at seven regional Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) located across the state.

Formerly known as International Trade Assistance Centers (ITACs), the Ohio SBDC Export Assistance Network will continue to offer the same great service to help grow your business internationally.

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Export services include no-cost, confidential counseling from Export Assistance Network Directors; in-depth market research in more than 40 countries to help small businesses build local relationships and identify quality distributors; international marketing grants to encourage more investment into market development; and export-trained internships to support export growth.

If you are interested in exporting your goods and services into international markets, contact your local Ohio SBDC Export Assistance Director, by clicking here (PDF).

For more information about exporting services available for Ohio small businesses, visit:

Click here for more information.

Export Assistance

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Director, SBDC Export Assistance Network, OSU South Centers)

top-export-2Companies today compete in a global market that is significantly larger than the United States market. With 95 percent of the world’s population living outside the United States, it is time for small companies to explore these potential customers and benefit from these lucrative global markets.

The Ohio Small Business Development Centers Export Assistance Network located at the OSU South Centers in Piketon, serves as southern Ohio’s first point of contact for export assistance to expand businesses, by connecting Ohio entrepreneurs and small businesses with new buyers and new international markets.

The Export Assistance Network staff will assist companies by providing no-cost, in-depth and confidential counseling, including:
• assessment of your company’s global readiness
• securing international market research and regulatory information
• development of an international business plan
• international transaction assistance
• networking with service providers
• introduction to federal and state government agencies that provide services, programs, and financial resources to companies seeking to export
• training events
• financial assistance (IMAGE/AEG grants)
• Export Internship Program

For more information regarding no-cost confidential export assistance from the Ohio State University South Centers Ohio Small Business Development Centers Export Assistance Network, contact: Kelly O’Bryant, Export Assistance Director, 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, OH 45661, Phone: 740-289-2071 ext 235, Fax: 740-289-4591, or Email:

Source: Ohio SBDC Export Assistance Network

Client Spotlight: Schmelzer Industries (2015)

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Schmelzer Industries, Inc. in Somerset, Ohio, was founded in 1984 to manufacture quality fiberglass surfacing veils and light-weight reinforcement mats in the composites industry and began shipping products in 1986. Schmelzer Industries is a family-owned business. Tim Schmelzer said, “My Dad was the first-generation owner and operator. He is retired now, but mom still provides assistance. My siblings and I are involved with various family businesses, and I have taken the lead at Schmelzer Industries, and my sister, Monica, is our site manager.”

Tim Schmelzer 1Schmelzer Industries serves customers across the country and around the world; proudly continuing their tradition of quality products and excellent service. The company supplies products for composite processes—a surfacing veil or light-weight fiberglass reinforcement used in plastic resin mold parts used to retain surfaces.

Processes include:
• Continuous Lamination
• Electrical Flat Sheet
• Filament Winding
• Fiberglass Reinforced Gypsum
• Compressed Molding
• Pre-Forming
• Pultrusion
• Resin Transfer / Vacuum Infusion

Some product use include surfacing for: boats, helmets, lunch trays, pultrusion for windows, cars, airplanes, costume shields and masks, and anything that needs a light, strong surface material.

Tim shares, “Dad kept the business very small, very specialized. In this second generation, we are working on taking our product a little more global. We have done some business around the globe, but we recognize the worldwide industry is growing, and we need to grow with it. We began our effort by seeking input from the International Trade Assistance Center (ITAC) to expand our global reach. We spoke to Melissa Carter and Tom Bainbridge from ITAC to assist us in expanding our market in Germany and Brazil. ITAC shared names of industry contacts as well as an assessment of each country’s culture.”

Tim continues, “ITAC went through the Ohio State European Office in London to get contacts in Germany for potential industry clientele. They found a list of distributors for our product. We have whittled the list down to three and are actively working with one of the three. We received the contact report in March, and we are working on building a business relationship. We are talking about price lists, supply, packaging and shipping, but it all takes time. The contact in Germany is also willing to work on marketing in the Czech Republic and Denmark.”

Tim Schmelzer 2“The second proposed expansion location was Brazil. We have the report from Brazil and have selected two distributors of which to pursue a relationship. We have also connected with the other two potential distributors as well. One helpful piece of information was the information provided by ITAC regarding Brazil’s composites market value.” Tim said, “It gave us some idea of the GDP of the country. We understand the U.S. market because we live here, but when we go to Brazil, we are at a disadvantage.”

Tim describes, “Another part of the Schmelzer Industries plan is to get into different product lines. Only a few companies throughout the world do veil surfacing composite work. Composites are challenging because we are trying to fit other’s products, but we have the expertise to manage that challenge. Our composite can make other products better, and we are marketing it as a solution to companies that may not even now be aware of the benefit.”

To find out more about their products, go to Schmelzer Industries.

State of Ohio Looking For Companies Interested in Exporting

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Director, International Trade Assistance Center, OSU South Centers)

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12.16.15 – Release

The State of Ohio is looking for companies that are interested in exporting their goods or services into international markets. The Ohio Development Services Agency offers a unique opportunity to match businesses committed to exporting with college students, called the Ohio Export Internship Program.

Highly-motivated students from 12 different Ohio universities have been selected to participate in this year’s program. The goal of the internship is to help Ohio companies focus on increasing their global exports and train students in international business. Companies are provided a 50 percent reimbursement to offset the costs of intern wages.

“You don’t have to learn on your own,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “70 percent of the world’s purchasing power is outside the U.S. and we can help you go after that to grow your business.”

The deadline for companies to apply is March 15, 2016. The 2016 internship program runs from May 16 through August 12, 2016. Ohio companies can apply at

Go to Ohio Export Internship Program to learn more.

In four years, 102 student-company matches have been created, resulting in more than $19 million in expected global sales and 17 full-time job offers. This program is a partnership between the Ohio Development Services Agency, Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University and the Williams College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University.

Fact Sheet: Helping U.S. Exporters Gain Access to Valuable Overseas Markets

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Director, International Trade Assistance Center, OSU South Centers)

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Release No. 0318.15
Contact: Office of Communications (202)720-4623

FACT SHEET: Helping U.S. Exporters Gain Access to Valuable Overseas Markets

Secretary Vilsack will travel to Japan and China this week, to meet with agricultural counterparts. The United States recently concluded negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Japan and 10 other nations. Countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership currently account for up to 42 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $63 billion. The Administration continues to work with Congress to secure the passage of the agreement into law so that American agriculture can take full advantage of unprecedented new market access in some of the fastest-growing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

The past seven years have represented the strongest period for American agricultural exports in the history of our country, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $911.3 billion between Fiscal Years 2009 and 2015. In fiscal year 2015, American farmers and ranchers exported $139.7 billion of food and agricultural goods to consumers worldwide. Not only that, U.S. agricultural exports supported more than 1 million American jobs both on and off the farm, a substantial part of the estimated 11.7 million jobs supported by exports all across our country.

Opening New Markets for Farmers, Ranchers, and Rural Businesses
USDA continuously seeks opportunities for U.S. agricultural producers to expand overseas markets that contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, and boost economic growth.

• USDA’s Market Development Programs have provided funding to help approximately 70 U.S. agricultural producer associations, each representing hundreds or thousands of producers, expand commercial export markets for their goods. An independent study demonstrated that U.S. agricultural exports increased by $6.1 billion as a result of the increased joint investment in foreign market development by government and industry during the 2002-09 timeframe studied. Overall, U.S. agricultural exports increase $35 for every additional market development dollar expended by government and industry.

• When implemented, the TPP agreement with 11 Pacific Rim countries will provide new market access across the board for America’s farmers and ranchers by lowering tariffs and eliminating other barriers, and will boost exports and support jobs in our rural economies. The agreement will advance U.S. economic interests in a critical region that accounts for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The TPP is a partnership between the United States and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

• Since 2009, the United States has entered into free trade agreements with Colombia, Jordan, Oman, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. And through organic equivalency agreements established by USDA with Canada, the European Union, Switzerland, Japan, and Korea, U.S. organic farmers and businesses have streamlined access to over $35 billion international organic markets.

• Through the Administration’s Made in Rural America Export and Investment Initiative, USDA is working to help farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses access federal export programs, connect with new customers and markets abroad, and bring new opportunity to rural America.

• Since 2009, USDA has led more than 225 U.S. agribusinesses and more than 20 State Departments of Agriculture on agricultural trade missions to China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Malaysia, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. These businesses reported on-the-spot and short- term follow-up sales of more than $94 million. That number will grow exponentially over the next several years as a direct result of the partnerships forged and contacts established during USDA trade missions.

• USDA opened international market outlets for American farmers and ranchers by successfully negotiating and issuing thousands of export certificates for food products valued at more than $800 million.

Removing Unfair Barriers to Trade

USDA works on behalf of agricultural exporters to resolve trade related to animal and plant health concerns and to ensure that trade decisions are based on science. In FY2015, USDA resolved more than 150 trade-related issues involving U.S. agricultural exports valued at $2.4 billion.

• In FY2015, USDA engaged trading partners to eliminate all remaining animal health barriers related to BSE for U.S. export markets. The following 14 countries removed all BSE restrictions and granted access to U.S. beef and beef products: Australia; Macau; Philippines; New Zealand; Singapore; Ukraine; Vietnam; Egypt; Lebanon; Turkey; Costa Rica; Guatemala; St. Lucia; Iraq. The total value of U.S. beef and beef products exported to the 14 countries that lifted their BSE restrictions is in excess of $180 million.

• In FY 2015, USDA retained the poultry market to the European Union worth $111 million.

• When shipments are held up at foreign ports, USDA negotiates the overseas process to get products moving again. In FY 2015 USDA successfully secured the release of 250 detained shipments worth $45 million. The shipments ranged from apples to Taiwan to horses to Mexico.

• The USDA successfully negotiated continuation of “on-arrival” fumigation for California citrus for the 2015/2016 season. Korea remains the number one market for California citrus estimated to be worth $225 million.

• USDA successfully negotiated with Australia to open the Australian market to California Japanese plums in time for the 2015 shipping season. With the addition of California Japanese plums, the U.S. stone fruit market to Australia is now valued at $12 million per year.

• In FY 2015 USDA secured access for U.S. pork to Peru, a market valued at $5 million per year.

• USDA expanded market access for all apple varieties from all states of the U.S. to China in FY2015; the estimated value of this market is $100 million.

• The USDA minimized the trade impact of 2015 flag smut detection in Kansas which protected approximately $800 million in annual sales of Hard Red Winter wheat to the sixteen countries that regulate for this disease.

USDA believes that American agriculture will always succeed if competition is fair. USDA remains a strong partner and advocate in the international marketplace, working with foreign governments and international regulatory or standard-setting organizations to ensure the smooth and safe flow of international trade. USDA will continue to strike down foreign barriers to American products that can’t be justified by science-while helping exporters identify and gain access to new overseas markets.



Coming Soon–Applications for the Ohio Export Internship Program

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Director, International Trade Assistance Center, OSU South Centers)

As you plan ahead for 2016, consider applying for the Ohio Export Internship Program (EIP). This internship program matches companies with interns that have completed an intensive 15 week export program at The Ohio State University. The EIP students will be available for placement for the summer of 2016. In addition to a highly-trained intern, you can receive 50% reimbursement of their salaries. For additional information, visit the website. Company applications open January 1, 2016.

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Upcoming Trade missions qualify for reimbursable IMAGE grant

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Director, International Trade Assistance Center, OSU South Centers)

The Ohio International Market Access Grant for Exporter (IMAGE) has been renewed for 2015-2016. This program allows exhibition at a trade show or matchmaking and market visit at a 50% reimbursement. Below are applicable opportunities.

The Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) promotes export-focused trade missions for the purpose of growing Ohio exports and creating jobs.

earth-634815_1920 (2)Participating in a trade mission provides companies with an opportunity to travel overseas to meet with prospective international business partners face-to-face, greatly enhancing the potential for business success. Trade mission services typically include: business matchmaking, customized market research, in-country business briefings, networking opportunities, in-country support and follow-up assistance. IMAGE grants will help Ohio companies fund these trade efforts. Call Kelly O’Bryant at 740-289-2071 x235 or email for more information.

Trade Mission to Germany and United Kingdom

The Council of Great Lakes Governors (CGLG) in partnership with the ODSA is leading a multi-sector Trade Mission to Germany and the United Kingdom. The goal of this mission is to assist small to medium-sized companies from the Great Lakes region to export products and services. Registration deadline: December 9, 2015. for more information on this mission, visit Germany and United Kingdom.

Trade Mission to China

The CGLG in partnership with the ODSA is leading a multi-sector Trade Mission to China This mission will be held May 7-14, 2016. For additional information, visit China.

If you apply for the IMAGE grant, these trade missions will qualify at reimbursable events. Call the International Trade Assistance Center, Kelly O’Bryant, at 740-289-2071 x235 or email for more information on how IMAGE grants can be used.