Exporting Presents Growth Opportunities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
With more than 95 percent of the world’s population and 75 percent of the market residing outside of U.S. borders, starting or enhancing exporting provides potential opportunities for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to market and sell their products and services to a much broader audience.
This potential opportunity is especially important for rural businesses with a limited customer base. Although small to medium-sized business account for 98 percent of all exporting enterprises, only about 4 percent actually engage in exporting goods and services. Despite the innate challenges and inherent barriers to exporting for SMEs, there are numerous entities that offer no or low cost export assistance. Some examples include: The Center for International Trade Development, The U.S. Small Business Administration, The California State Trade and Export Program, and The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.
The Peterson Institute for International Economics developed a policy brief that contemplates free trade agreements, its potential impacts on SMEs, and provides recommendations on how the exporting process could be more efficient and manageable for SMEs. Clearly there are varying analyses and perspectives regarding U.S. free trade agreements, and there is likely a great deal of room for improvement, but access to the global economy has the potential to significantly help SMEs in rural California grow and expand their business to the betterment of their communities as a whole.
U.S.D.A.: Rural U.S. Communities are Improving
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released an op-ed outlining the various improvements rural communities throughout the U.S. are currently experiencing.
The key points Secretary Vilsack highlights include:
- Rural counties added 125,000 jobs in both 2014 and 2015;
- Unemployment is below 6 percent for the first time since 2007;
- Child poverty rates decreased 3 percent from 2012 to 2014, and food insecurity for children is at its lowest level on record;
- Assisted 1.2 million families purchase, repair or refinance their homes;
- Invested in 8,350 community facilities such as schools, libraries, hospitals and public spaces; and,
- Enabled access to 21st century basic broadband infrastructure.
Is Energy Storage the Future?
Several bills were passed by the Legislature that are designed to significantly increase the use of energy storage. The bills are intended to help the State meet its 50 percent renewable energy mandate by 2050. But even as various technologies continue to move closer to viable commercialization, it is clear this will be a challenge as California’s population is expected to increase significantly. Hydroelectric energy storage solutions, which are specifically targeted as storage solution in AB 33, will need to be balanced with California’s growing water demands. Fortunately, there is no shortage of potential solutions that companies around the globe are racing to deploy:
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