Back by popular demand, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of North Florida recently completed its second International Trade Certificate Series of Exporting with a graduation ceremony featuring 31 small business owners.
The business owners attended six weeks of classes, which featured a variety of experts with knowledge and experience in international trade, networking opportunities with local resources, direct access to technical assistance providers and live case studies.
“It’s exciting to bring together business owners wanting to know more about the opportunities in exporting,” said Cathy Hagan, series lead instructor area director for the SBDC at UNF. “The sessions armed participants with information and introduced them to the resources that can help.”
Founded in 1976, the SBDC at UNF has offered assistance to more than 30,000 small businesses within an 18-county area through management advice and technical training with minimal or no cost to potential and established small business owners.
Some topics featured during the exporting series included sessions on doing business in other areas of the world, such as Asia and the Caribbean; logistics and freight forwarding; legal considerations of doing business abroad; financing and payment methods; and market research, among others.
“This class should be a requirement when companies think about exporting,” said Tom Sivik, an employee of Southeastern Metals Manufacturing, Inc., and series participant.
The first six-week course was offered earlier this year and was repeated due to the high volume of phone calls from small business owners who wanted to participate in the certificate series.
The curriculum was developed and presented by the UNF SBDC with support from UNF’s Division of Continuing Education, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Enterprise Florida and the Jacksonville Port Authority.
“Certainly any time there is an opportunity to share some of what happens at the Port, we try to take advantage of it. It’s part of our mission,” said Port spokesperson Nancy Rubin. “We have a community outreach program that’s hugely focused on education and there is no way to better do so than through programs like this.”
Rubin added that such programs and educational opportunities can eventually bring jobs, dollars and opportunities to Jacksonville, which is “what we (the Port) want to help do here.”
In Spring 2009, the local SBDC will partner with the Clay County Chamber of Commerce to present the trade certificate series on exporting as part of a grant they received from Enterprise Florida.
For more information on the SBDC at UNF, go to www.sbdc.unf.edu.