October 3, 2022

ExporTech™ is a national export assistance program that helps companies develop customized plans for growing their level of exports. The effort is a joint effort of Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Most Iowa companies want to increase overseas sales but it’s hard to get started if you don’t know where to begin,” said Marc Schneider, CIRAS project manager who runs the Iowa ExporTech™ program. “We form a cohort of four to eight companies per offering that participate in a mix of in-person and virtual sessions. Ultimately, they develop a customized international growth plan.” The program is open to all companies, including those who have started to export as well as those who have not yet ventured into global markets. Read More.

“We participated in ExporTech™ to learn how to position our company to excel in this area,” said Teresa Quirante, sales and marketing executive with the Cedar Falls-based Z&Z Medical, a provider of medical imaging supplies and accessories. “We haven’t exported many products before and felt we needed to have a firm foundation before we fully jumped in. We feel we now have the tools in our toolbox to grow and succeed worldwide.”

When ExporTech™ was first introduced by CIRAS in 2014, participants attended three full-day events scheduled about a month apart. Subject matter experts covered topics like sales and distribution strategies, pricing and payment practices, logistics, regulations and certifications, and marketing messages. The upgraded ExporTech™ 2.0 program covers and expands on these same topics using a new combined in-person, virtual and online content hybrid model.

A unique feature of ExporTech™ is the customized plan that each company develops. The plan is presented to a review panel of experienced exporters, who provide feedback to each presenter. The final piece of ExporTech™ is a follow-up meeting about three months later to see how the company is progressing with their plan, help resolve any issues that have come up, and provide contacts within the Iowa “export village.”

TransAgra, manufacturer of all-natural products for animal health, recently completed the spring 2022 ExporTech™ 2.0 program. TransAgra International expects to more than double its global sales in the next year, and strategies learned at ExporTech™ will help the Storm Lake company achieve that goal. “We learned a great deal about building our global presence and making contacts, as well as the details of exporting and registrations in each country,” said Dr. Rebecca Quesnell, vice president of operations and director of research/product development. “These are strategies that will help us approach our goals in a realistic and effective way.”

“Companies are surprised there are so many resources to help them on both the state and federal side,” Schneider said. There is a cost to participate, but Schneider shared that grants are available through IEDA to reimburse up to 75% of the expense for qualified companies.

The ExporTech™ 2.0 program will be offered next year with weekly sessions from January 10 – March 21, 2023. Additional details are available here or contact Marc Schneider at maschn@iastate.edu or 563.221.1596.

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