Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pennsylvania's Free Export Assistance Services

Posted by Tina

Did you know that the State of Pennsylvania has the most comprehensive export assistance program of any state?  And that their services are offered mostly at no cost to companies in the Commonwealth?

We are very fortunate to be located in a State that is so forward thinking and committed to supporting PA companies with their global development efforts.  Here is a brief overview of the available resources through Pennsylvania's Center for Trade Development:

Free Export Assistance Services:  The State has partnered with 10 existing trade services providers located across the Commonwealth and provides funding to these organization so that they can offer free export assistance.  These services include market research, technical trade assistance and referrals to public and private trade facilitators.  The World Trade Center of Central Pennsylvania is the State's regional partner for an 8 county region in Southcentral PA.
Overseas Trade Offices:  Pennsylvania has a network of  20 overseas trade offices, these are local international business consultants who are contracted with the Commonwealth to provide very customized assistance to PA companies at no charge.  The majority of these offices have been working on behalf of PA companies for over 10 years and all of them have great connections to their local business community.  Remember, their services are very customized, but to give you an idea of typical requests for assistance from our region, here are some examples of their services:
  • Gathering marketing and competitive intelligence
  • Providing insight and analysis on market entry strategy
  • Identifying overseas partners, distributors, agents, etc
  • Providing regulatory information
  • Identifying relevant trade events
  • Conducting foreign company background checks
  • Trade lead assistance
  • Organizing in-country meetings and logistical assistance
  • And much more....

Global Access Program Grants - GAP is a valuable tool available to qualifying companies seeking financial assistance and foreign market entry support. GAP will provide up to $5,000.00 in 1:1 matching funds per year to qualifying Pennsylvania companies to offset a portion of the expenses associated with export promotion activities, such as international business development trips, participation at international trade shows, translation of product literature and website globalization. This program is funded in part through a grant award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.  For more details, you can download more information.

International Trade Missions and Trade Show Participation - Every year, the State organizes several trade missions to key international markets as well as Pennsylvania Pavilion at major international trade shows.  Contact us for the most recent schedule of events.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Social Slam Conference Takeaways

Posted by Melissa

Last month, I attended the Social Slam Conference in Knoxville, TN organized by the Social Media Club Knoxville.  I absolutely loved being among like-minded social media professionals.  It was a great day of learning and reinforcement.  The day made me feel energized and the speakers were absolutely fabulous, providing useful tips and ideas. 

Halfway through the day the conference I realized that most of what was being told was common sense if you really think about it.  For example, one of the main things stressed throughout the day was NOT to send out automated tweets.  If you really think about what twitter is, then this would absolutely make sense.  Twitter is for conversation and engagement.  Would you want to have your customers send an email to you, to not receive a reply, but later in the day receive an automated email message not related to their question? You wouldn’t, so why should your twitter be any different? Twitter is meant to engage your audience, not just push information to them.
The biggest takeaway from the conference is to really be sure your social media strategy is aligned with your overall marketing and business strategy.  All of the speakers’ provided tips on how to do this and how to make social media more valuable to your company.
Some other key quotes that I took away from the Social Slam Conference that may you want to keep in mind for your social media strategy:
  • Community engagement is a lifestyle, not a job. – Marisa Peacock
  • The spiritual nature of social media is that people beg for love and earn respect. - Billy Delaney
  • Listen to your “fans” (they can tell you a lot of things that you may not see sitting in your office)- Lynsay Calor
  • Content is greatest sales technique in the world. Period.-Marcus Sheridan
  • One of my favorite places to put a blog address is an invoice. Clients look at invoices.- Stanford Smith
  • We like change when it means something to us- Gini Dietrich
  • Business is built on relationships, just like it always has been – Mark W Schaefer
(As a side note, since this was a nationally attended social media focused conference, the organizer tracked all tweets related to Social Slam, and Melissa came in at # 8!)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Henry Molded Products Company Tour

Guest Blogger John Englebert

On April 27, Henry Molded Products, (HMP) hosted our group for a company tour and wonderful breakfast presentation about the innovative products and successful practices of their company at their facility in Lebanon.

Henry Molded Products manufacturers an array of high quality molded fiber/pulp products.  Their product line ranges from custom designed applications to standard in stock items. Such products include: STAKKER® Roll Handling Cradles, LAREÉ™ Floral Maché, nursery and greenhouse containers, and off the shelf products, such as wine bottle and jelly jar packaging.

HMP also has a second manufacturing plant and warehouse in South Carolina. Additional warehouse and distribution facilities exist throughout North America and Western Europe.

Henry Molded’s recyclable products are environmentally friendly, extremely durable, and cost effective, which offer unique features to their clients.  Their line of products are manufactured using 100% pre- and post-consumer recycled paper.  Customers know they are receiving high quality products that leave a positive environmental footprint.

HMP’s ongoing commitment to environmental and sustainable citizenship, has prompted an installation of a large PV solar array, conservation of process resources and energy efficient building contraction.

All of these responsible and effective measures are continuing to gain the company worldwide acceptance as government, industry, and consumers become more environmentally conscientious. These successes have enabled Henry Molded Products to celebrate its 50th anniversary without any signs of slowing down.

This event was part of a series of company tours offered in partnership with MANTEC, Inc. showcasing our members and clients who excel in international trade and innovation.   

US-Bulgaria Chamber in America Promotes Trade & Investment Opportunities

By guest blogger Eliz Nestorov, President,US-Bulgaria Chamber in America  The recently founded U.S.-Bulgarian Chamber in America (USBGC) is ...