by Virginia’s Gateway Region
The Metro Richmond Exports Initiative (MREI) and the City of Hopewell welcomed business leaders from all over the Richmond Metro Area to the Beacon Theatre yesterday to discuss exporting and its benefits for the region. At their second Lunch & Learn event, industry experts and companies already exporting gave presentations focused on international trade finance and the options available for payment, risk mitigation and financing.
Kathryn Carter, a director of the Global Trade and Supply Chains Solutions Division at Bank of America Merrill Lynch began the presentations at Tuesday’s event. Carter discussed some frequently asked questions and provided useful tips to help companies new to exporting with financing their global trade goals.
Each Lunch & Learn features success stories from local companies engaged in exporting. Janet Winkelman, CEO of Wink Fasteners in Charles City County, has been exporting her line of corrosion-resistant fasteners for over 20 years. Robert Latino, CEO of Reliability Center, works internationally as a trade reliability consultant, providing firms from all over the world with unique insight into how service-based companies can successfully export. In a joint presentation and Q&A session, Winkelman and Latino both acknowledged their export experience as a result of wanting an additional revenue stream.
MREI aims to emphasize that services are equally eligible for global trade as American-made products. Latino emphasized that American services are more popular outside of the U.S. than domestically. “Because of the reputation of U.S. technology and innovation, there is a greater desire for U.S. technologies outside of the country than there is here,” Latino said.
The MREI was created to encourage and assist local firms seeking to reach the 81 percent of bulk demand for American products that exists outside of the U.S. Over the next four years, MREI aims to increase export success of small- and medium-sized businesses by 40 percent. If successfully implemented, MREI’s efforts will result in an increased number of exporting companies in new foreign markets, companies exporting for the first time, and company innovations and patents. Such increases will lead to more jobs supported by exports, more capital investment due to exports and a projected increase in sales.