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New business initiative promises to ease access to foreign markets


American companies that are looking to expand to overseas markets face a bevy of logistical and legal challenges, including setting up local bank accounts, currency exchanges and brand awareness. A new public-private partnership, Getting to Global, was created specifically to minimize those barriers.

“U.S. companies are behind in the global e-commerce arena,” says Joshua Halpern, GtG founder and executive director. “European companies are cross-border from inception. Asian companies are expanding rapidly. To catch up, we need to get the right information to the right companies, and the best way to do that is through strategic partnerships.”

Leaders of the Getting to Global initiative.The GtG Initiative combines the digital resources of Google, Facebook, eBay and Pitney Bowes with the expertise of government agencies like the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Postal Service, as well as national organizations, including the Centers for International Trade Development and Global Retail Insights Network.

“The right solutions for these companies are already out there in the market — they just aren’t aware of them,” Halpern says. “We are aggregating the massive amount of information out there and providing a targeted, appropriate response to their needs.”

GtG is targeting several large sectors of the market, including agricultural goods (health, medical and food), industrial B2B products, software services and B2C commercial goods.

“About the only thing we’re not addressing is helping a company set up their first e-commerce platform,” Halpern says. “Our partners have expertise with physical products, building global brands and international payment gateways. We provide usable, actionable information for small- and medium-sized enterprises.”

The free resources provided by GtG are available through live workshops and online videos, classes and a searchable resource guide.

“We are providing a magnifying glass, looking at successful online sellers and having them share how they went global and how it works,” Halpern says. “We are connecting businesses with a neutral source of vetted solutions. This isn’t companies presenting a sales pitch, it’s companies talking about how they use tools and services.”

As the initiative grows, GtG sees opportunities to hold physical labs across the country and build partnerships on a local and national level.

“SMEs need to understand that localizing in the current market is limiting,” says Halpern. “Ninety seven percent of the world’s consumers are outside U.S. borders.”

GtG is providing the resources to help any company anywhere in the U.S. tap into that global marketplace.
 

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter is a jack-of-all-trades with a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums and nonprofit organizations. She's a bit obsessed with the built environment and irregularly shares her musings on architecture, urban planning and city life on Facebook and Twitter (@StrawStickBrick).
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