Friday, August 31, 2012

Florida: Exporting and SMEs

Recently I came across a report from International Trade Administration ( )regarding Florida Exports, Jobs and Foreign Investment from June 2012. The report had some interesting facts that I thought i will share. Florida is were i operate my business so i also have some selfish reasons to share this with you:

1. 37,687 companies exported from Florida in 20009 of those 36,109 were Small and Medium Sized enterprises (SME)

2. 67% of Florida's total exports are from SMEs

3. The largest trading partners are Switzerland ($7.3 billion in export sales), Brazil ($5.3 billion), Venezuela ($4.5 billion), Canada ($4.1 billion) and Colombia ($2.8 billion)

These figures seem impressive, however, when I see these figures i think of the challenges and opportunities of exporting. Consider these other figures from the Census Bureau (

1. Florida has 491,249 private non farm establishments

2. Total number of firms in Florida is 2,009,589 for 2009

Do you see it? According to these figures only 7% of businesses in Florida engaged in exporting! I know some of you might point out that private non farm establishments are not the same as companies but even accounting for different types of establishments there is still a vast number of Florida companies that do not export. The opportunity to expand our exports is enormous! Do you see the second opportunity? Most of our exports are going to South America, a few to Europe. What about Africa, Central America, Asia? There are numerous places were Florida businesses can expand and export. I see these challenges as opportunities and as we all well know running a business is about seizing opportunities.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is your next business breakthrough in Sub Saharan Africa?

I read a press release from the International Trade Administration this morning. Its an old one, dated June 14th, 2012 but the information is still relevant. In thepress release the World Bank's "Doing Business in a more transparent World" document is cited as evidence that 36 out of the 46 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa have improved business regulations this year and 6 of the world's 10 fastest economies are in this area as well. Hopefully this translates to better export opportunities for our businesses. The point here is simple. This COULD be the next big market for your business.

I know many of you are thinking do not put too much thought into this area. Asia occupies most of the commercial "bandwidth" out there and Latin America follows as our business are far more adept at conducting business in those countries than in sub-Saharan Africa. For this same very reason this is why it could be a potential market, the competition might be less fierce and the opportunities might be more abundant. Obviously this is just food for thought, a proper market research needs to be conducted before ANY business decides to take this leap but the facts are there, this area is growing, its growing fast and many are not paying attention.

You can read the press release at the following link:

I look forward to your comments.