New GIF Report Emphasizes Value of Global Markets, Trade Policies to American Small Businesses and Workers

May 9, 2017

Washington D.C. – NFTC’s Global Innovation Forum (GIF) today released a new report, “The New Faces of American Trade” during a breakfast forum with small businesses, technology providers, policymakers and other key stakeholders.

The report, which explores the role of internet platforms and cloud technologies in the global success of small business, highlights 16 companies from across the United States that are growing because of their participation in the global marketplace. Together, these 16 businesses support over 1,000 jobs across sectors including biotech, cloud services, pet food, manufacturing and mining.

At the launch discussion, three of the businesses featured in the report spoke about how their companies are creating American jobs as the result of their international businesses, discussed the technologies they use to run a global businesses and suggested ways that governments can help.

Kevin Zalewski and Rob Patterson, Co-owners of Rochester, Michigan-based Love Book outlined how they started an online platform in 2008 to allow anyone to build a book about all the reasons you love someone. “Our global business now averages about 26 percent,” said Patterson, who noted that in recent months overseas sales have risen to upwards of 40 percent.

Jamie Deering, VP of Public Service & Outreach for San Diego-based Deering Banjo, outlined how internet technologies like Hubspot have powered the backend of their business while emphasizing the role of social media in enabling a tight-knit community of musicians to spread the word about their instruments globally.  Deering noted that, “We can share what we do and hear back from customers in a really honest way” and noted how tools including Instagram and Facebook have helped them connect globally.

Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, CEO of Erie, Pennsylvania-based SleepPhones noted the importance of government policy in the global success of businesses like hers.  “I think we need to be at the table when it comes to trade agreements. If we are not at the table, there is no voice for America and another one will step in,” Lai said.

Susan Molinari, Vice President of Public Policy & Government Affairs at Google, National Foreign Trade Council President Rufus Yerxa and representatives from the U.S. Government and industry also contributed to the discussion.

“Small business leaders told us that participating in the global economy strengthens their companies and has enabled them to create jobs in the United States,” said Jake Colvin, Executive Director of the Global Innovation Forum. “Businesses from Missouri to Wisconsin to Georgia can be fundamentally global thanks to the internet and benefit from U.S. policies and programs that facilitate open, transparent and rules-based global markets.”

The report is available for download at

About NFTC’s Global Innovation Forum

The Global Innovation Forum is a nonprofit effort to connect entrepreneur, small business, development, and university communities with policymakers and select corporations to explore the opportunities and challenges of engaging in the global marketplace. GIF serves as a hub for business, university and development communities around the world to communicate with officials and corporations, discover public and private resources to help them succeed, and improve the public policy landscape to enable global innovation. GIF is a project of the 501(c)(3) National Foreign Trade Council Foundation.