Business  |  Export Assistance

Entrepreneurship and Business Assistance Centers » Export Assistance

Connecting to New Markets and Customers

Developing relationships is a key component of growing international business. By participating in trade missions, attending trade shows, making in-country visits and participating in buyers missions close to home, businesses have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the market and establish rewarding relationships.

Ohio Development Services Agency

The Ohio Development Services Agency partners with various organizations to offer trade missions to markets throughout the world. These trade missions are often supported financially by the Agency to be offered to Ohio companies at a reduced rate. Visit the Upcoming Trade Missions and Trade Shows page to see a listing of current partnerships.

Ohio has international contractors in countries and regions like China, Southeast Asia, Canada, Europe, India, Japan, Mexico and Brazil that can offer Ohio companies qualified prospective agent and distributor reports, invaluable first-hand market research and in-country market assistance, all at no charge to the company.

U.S. Commercial Service International Buyers Program

Through the Gold Key Service, the U.S. Commercial Service can provides U.S. firms with prequalified and prescreened appointments with potential overseas agents, distributors, sales representatives and strategic business partners. Additional services such as transportation, translation, and others are available for an additional fee.

The Department of Commerce often offers trade missions for U.S. firms that want to explore and pursue export opportunities by meeting directly with potential clients in their markets. The Department of Commerce also certifies trade missions that are organized by state and private sector organizations and hosted by Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service overseas offices.

Council of Great Lakes Governors International Trade Offices

Each year, the Council of Great Lakes Governors leads multi-state trade missions to assist small to medium sized companies from the Great Lakes region to export their products and services.  Trade missions are an excellent way for companies to visit international markets as part of an organized group of business people.  Each participant receives one-on-one business appointments with interested distributors and agents customized by the Council's International Trade Offices.

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC)

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) is the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, representing companies and trade associations engaged in the export of a full range of U.S. hardwood products, including: lumber, veneer, plywood, flooring, molding and dimension materials. AHEC offers companies a chance to participate in trade shows throughout the world. Members of the organization will receive a discounted registration price.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. ARC also hosts trade shows worldwide. These trade shows provide the opportunity to meet potential customers face-to-face.

Food Export-Midwest

The Food Export Association of the Midwest USA provides a variety of services and activities to help Ohio companies succeed in international markets. Food Export-Midwest focuses on exporter education providing educational tools to help companies become export ready.
They also focus on Market Entry services where they can provide links to buyers in various international markets. This is done through a variety of programs including: Buyers Missions, typically taking place in conjunction with food industry trade shows; it provides Ohio companies the opportunity to meet with several international buyers to present their products and find customers while staying close to home.
Focused Trade Missions take companies to international markets where they can learn about the competitive landscape, the retail and foodservice industries and meet buyers and learn about the potential for their products in international markets. The Food Show Plus! program provides international tradeshow assistance and provides a number of services to make sure companies can successfully market themselves at an international tradeshow.

They also focus on Market Promotion services to help companies remain viable and competitive once they enter international markets. The Branded Program is also available to eligible companies in Ohio which can provide 50% cost share reimbursement for a variety of international marketing and promotional activities.

U.S. Trade and Development Agency

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency works to help companies create U.S. jobs through the export of goods and services. USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects and reverse trade missions. USTDA activities cover most industry sectors.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency sponsors Reverse Trade Missions to bring foreign buyers to the U.S. These missions are great opportunities for Ohio and U.S. businesses to build relationships with overseas customers right here in the U.S.

U.S. Department of State

The Office of Commercial and Business Affairs is the Department of State’s focal point for outreach to the US business community to facilitate their interests abroad. The Office offers two programs designed to provide small and medium-sized companies with information on business conditions and export opportunities:

  • Direct Line connects businesses directly to U.S. Ambassadors and Economic/Commercial teams overseas discussions about new markets and opportunities.
  • BIDS (Business Information Database System) is an open platform consolidating information on foreign government procurements of specific interest to U.S. suppliers.