World Trading

Need a global network? Give this veteran a try.

Business owners are constantly bombarded by pitches for trade groups and hot new Web sites that promise to improve their international sales. But if you need a resource that has withstood the test of time, you should take a gander at the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA).

Jen O'Conner, director of Brooklyn Goes Global (BGG), the international division of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in New York City, says the WTCA has been the most valuable network BGG has worked with. "The WTCA has given us a phenomenal number of overseas buyers interested in what Brooklyn businesses have to sell," she says.

O'Conner says the vast majority of the 1,200 sales proposals BGG sent out last year on behalf of Brooklyn manufacturers (90 to 95 percent of whom are entrepreneurs) came from leads generated by the WTCA. The nonprofit, nonpolitical association, which focuses on global trade, provides services in 337 cities in 101 countries worldwide. Among its dazzling array of tools: facilities that can be used to host meetings, and a gamut of business services such as videoconferencing, an active trade-lead operation, market research and group trade missions. Herbert Ouida, WTCA's executive vice president, describes the organization as one-stop shopping for the nearly 500,000 companies affiliated with it worldwide.

Classic Clothing Inc. founder and owner Shawn Korenman found himself on the fast track when a potential buyer in Thailand found an ad for his company on the WTCA Web site. "He came over here and spent $40,000 on his first order," says Korenman, 26, whose New York City company sells about $300,000 worth of recycled jeans, bags and shorts a year to U.S. and international clients.

For more information, visit

Christopher D. Lancette is an Atlanta journalist who covers international topics for Hispanic Business and other publications.

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This article was originally published in the May 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: World Trading.

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