Uncle Sam wants you to prosper by doing business abroad--and the U.S government provides a wealth of resources, free of charge, to entrepreneurs who need a boost in export-import trade. Start any hunt for international trade opportunities by checking in with the feds:
- The SBA's Office of International Trade (http://www.sba.gov/OIT/): From information sources to sources of working capital, the SBA offers plenty of programs to boost small businesses' chances of export-import success. The details are spelled out here. While you're at the SBA Web site, don't miss Exporting by Small Firms (http://www.sba.gov/advo/stats/exp_rpt.html). It's a detailed look at the role of small business in U.S. exports.
- Census Bureau (http://www.census.gov/indicator/www/ustrade.html): Go here to unearth all the foreign trade stats you can swallow, available free of charge.
- International Trade Administration (http://www.ita.doc.gov): The most valuable click at this Department of Commerce site is the Trade Information Center (http://infoserv2.ita.doc.gov/tic.nsf), a first stop for info on federal help, plus acres of details on foreign nations and regions. Or for more personalized aid, call (800) USA-TRADE.
- Export-Import Bank (http://www.exim.gov/msbprogs.html): The Export-Import Bank has money to assist in building an export business; available programs are detailed at this site, or call (800) 565-EXIM. Another plus: The agency holds seminars nationwide. Get schedule info at (202) 565-3912.