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Growing Small Businesses Globally: A Look at a Unique Program of Greater Portland Inc

Growing Small Businesses Globally

In 2018, Greater Portland Inc (GPI) created a first-of-its-kind business development program offering export-focused training and travel scholarships to entrepreneurs interested in expanding their businesses through international sales. The Growing Small Businesses Globally export assistance training and travel scholarship – focused primarily on entrepreneurs of color, women and veterans – covers half the cost of six key export training, counseling and advising sessions offered by four partner agencies. Upon completion of each training, entrepreneurs also receive a contribution to a travel stipend for their first international sales experience. The goal of this program is to prepare entrepreneurs for international sales in advance of their first international deal.

Greater Portland Inc worked with four of the region’s public sector export partners including the U.S. Commercial Service, Small Business Administration, Oregon SBDC Network Global Trade Center, PCC SBDC, and Business Oregon to deliver the essential network and education private sector entrepreneurs need before they embark upon their first international experience. The target market for this program are entrepreneurs of color, women and veterans who have not traditionally had access to this support network.

After aligning key export advising partners, GPI’s primary role included filling the pipeline of entrepreneurs from around the region and then supporting them through their self-guided learning experience. Through a hard-copy export advising “passport”, created just for this program, each participating entrepreneur advances through the curriculum using this spectrum of export advising services to prepare for international sales.

Eighteen entrepreneurs are currently participating in the Growing Small Businesses Globally export assistance program. Greater Portland Inc is preparing to fund a third round of scholarships.

For more information about the program, please contact Greater Portland Inc’s VP of Regional Competitiveness, Lloyd Purdy, Lloyd.purdy@greaterportlandinc.com.