Leveraging Digital Tools To Take Your Small Business GlobalExplore how small businesses are utilizing digital tools more than ever to bolster their global operations and the implications for the future of digital trade
September 23, 2020
On September 23, the Global Innovation Forum, in partnership with the International Trade Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration, hosted a webinar to explore how small businesses are utilizing digital tools more than ever to bolster their global operations.
GIF’s Executive Director, Jake Colvin, moderated a panel discussion with small business owners from the United States about how businesses are using digital tools more intensively to operate and continue succeeding throughout the pandemic.
Co-Founder, Global Air Media
Eno Umoh is the Co-Founder of Global Air Media and the Global Air Drone Academy. As a member of the US State Department’s ‘US Speaker’s Program,’ Umoh always looks to promote a culture of entrepreneurship and safety in this ever-emerging industry.
About Global Air Media
Since 2015 Global Air Media has focused on providing drone training, education, mapping, and consultation services to clients around the world. In addition to their commercial services, GAM launched the Global Air Drone Academy (GADA) to promote ‘STEAM’ technology using drones, drone safety, and entrepreneurship in this emerging industry. GADA has delivered drone technology workshops in partnership with the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Embassies in Nigeria, Zambia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. Since 2016 we have provided training to more than 6,000 students in 400+ schools and in 7 countries.
I highly recommend that any companies looking to expand globally talk to their local U.S. Commercial Service office. This has opened many doors for us that would not have been possible otherwise.
Maxeme Tuchman is the CEO and Co-Founder of Caribu. She has been the winner or finalist in 30+ pitch competitions, the first Latinx founder to raise $1M in Equity Crowdfunding, and named as one of INC Magazine’s top 100 Female Founders for 2019. Max has worked in almost every level of education from being a public school teacher, a consultant at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Executive Director of Teach For America, and manager of education projects under NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
Caribu is an interactive video-calling platform that allows parents and grandparents to read and draw with children when they’re not in the same location. Caribu is one of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Inventions, made Fast Company’s list of World Changing Ideas, was named one of the ‘Top Ten EdTech Companies to Watch’ in Forbes, and became one of the most innovative startups in the world by winning the 1776 Global Challenge Cup.
Co-Founder & CEO, Caribu
Our greatest digital tools are the app stores. It’s our retail store. That is how we have reached over 200 countries and territories. Being able to reach all of those places and have people easily download the product has allowed us to get to that global reach.
Dr. Wei-Shin Lai
Founder & CEO, AcousticSheep LLC
Dr. Wei-Shin Lai, a family physician, and her husband Jason Wolfe, a video game developer, founded AcousticSheep LLC in 2007. Since leaving their day jobs in 2013, Jason and Wei-Shin have won numerous awards as Entrepreneur of the Year in PA (SBA), Entrepreneur of the Year in Western PA & WV (Ernst & Young), and Small Business of the Year with the Consumer Technology Association.
AcousticSheep LLC was founded after Dr. Lai struggled with getting back to sleep after taking patient phone calls in the middle of the night. She needed to listen to some meditative music to help her relax, but headphones were bulky, and ear buds were uncomfortable. Since there were no headphones specifically designed for sleeping on the market, she invented her own and called them SleepPhones.
One thing that can help small businesses going forward is making sure we enable trade across borders. Having free trade agreements in place is going to help make things a lot smoother after the pandemic.
Export Finance Programs
The U.S. Small Business Administration has financing options to help you take your small business global. Visit www.sba.gov/tradetools for more information.
SBA offers export finance loan guarantees
Export Express Loan
Export Express lenders can directly underwrite a loan without getting prior approval from the SBA, which allows small businesses to get capital quickly.
Export Working Capital Loan
Allows small business owners to apply for loans in advance of finalizing an export sale or contract, giving exporters greater flexibility in negotiating export payment terms.
International Trade Loan
Helps small businesses enter international markets and make investments to compete with other importers.
Small business grants are available for international e-commerce & export development
State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)
STEP provides financial awards to state and territory governments to assist small businesses with export development.
Up to $10,000 is available for website globalization, e-commerce market listing, platform fees, and international payment handling. Up to $6,000 is available for digital marketing including social media and advertising