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Torres Bowman

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is offering free business development opportunities for regional companies looking to expand their sales in South America. 

Upcoming opportunities include:

  • Export Opportunities in South America webinar: 10-11 a.m. Tuesday, June 22
  • 2021 Virtual Trade Mission to South America: Sept. 20-27 (Peru, Colombia and Chile)
    • Virtual seats are first-come, first-served, so prompt registration is encouraged at sitorre@siue.edu. The deadline to register is Friday, July 16.

“After a challenging year due to the pandemic, businesses around the world are reopening their doors,” ITC at SIUE Director Silvia Torres Bowman said. “We are thrilled to host these exciting opportunities for regional business leaders to explore new international markets or expand sales in key global regions. Virtual platforms and our ITC networks provide this immediate opportunity to gain a leading edge on competitors.”

The Export Opportunities in South America webinar will highlight why South America is key for international business strategy. Attendees will learn about the business climate in the region, opportunities to enter or expand the market, best prospect sectors for Illinois exporters and more.

Stops on the 2021 Virtual Trade Mission to South America will include Peru, Colombia and Chile. Illinois companies already exporting to the region, and those looking to get started, are encouraged to apply and attend. Participating companies will have the opportunity to meet with potential business partners via one-on-one business matchmaking meetings. All industries and sectors are welcome. 

“South America is a region with 397 million potential customers who collectively imported more than $121 billion of U.S. goods in 2019,” Torres Bowman said. “It is a resilient region, called an ‘engine for growth’ by financial experts, as countries remain focused on expanding and modernizing their economies, implementing stimulus programs to confront the pandemic, and reenergize their global trade.”

This non-travel opportunity will ensure the advancement of companies’ international efforts. Virtual participants will gain exclusive access to potential partners and customers in three key markets. The mission will include such benefits as initial consultation and assessment, market research, webinar training covering business culture and how to conduct successful virtual meetings in South America, and complete support during each virtual meeting.

According to Torres Bowman, thanks to federal CARES Act funding, businesses can benefit from two full days of customized, pre-arranged one-on-one virtual meetings with pre-screened prospective partners, carefully selected with their input, for one country at a nominal $250 participation fee. Each additional country is $900 per day, per company.

Torres Bowman encourages businesses to consider applying for the Illinois State Trade Export Promotion funding offered to small and medium-sized exports to offset those costs. Businesses can be awarded up to $7,500 in cost reimbursement for either virtual or in-person missions. For eligibility details and to apply, visit siue.edu/business/itc/istep.

The ITC at SIUE will lead the mission, in partnership with experienced in-country consultants, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Southwestern Illinois Trade and Investment Council, with financial support from the CARES Act.

The virtual mission could serve businesses as preparation for an in-person trade mission to South America, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, to take place Dec. 7-10.

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