JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald
JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald
Colorado is a global market, and resources exist for businesses hoping to export internationally.
This was the message at an “Export 101” event hosted Friday by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Colorado’s U.S. Export Assistance Center at Fort Lewis College, Tipton’s alma mater.
Attendees interested in exporting their products learned the ins and outs of how to get started and what resources are there to help.
Tipton’s appearance in Durango comes as he faces what is expected to be one of the state’s most expensive and hotly contested congressional races in November. Earlier this week, he had his first major debate with Democratic challenger Sal Pace. At the debate he cited the high federal debt and business owners’ reluctance to hire as reasons for the flagging economy.
“The time to go along to get along and business as usual has passed,” he said Wednesday night before the crowd in Alamosa.
Pace countered that it was Republicans’ intransigence that had created gridlock in Washington.
While Tipton avoided overt campaigning at Friday’s event, it was clear he wanted to position himself as a friend to business.
“We have innovative people with great exports,” he said upon recognizing two Durango-based businesses that have shown growth in exporting.
Tipton presented Chinook Medical Gear and Freenotes Harmony Park with Export Achievement Certificates.
Freenotes makes outdoor musical instruments and has international partners in New Zealand, Australia and Israel, among other countries. The company is currently looking to export in Chile.
Sandi Moilanen, international division director for the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, pointed to a variety of grants that exist to help get businesses started in the exporting process.
Moilanen informed the attendees about two programs through the trade office that provides financial assistance to Colorado companies in exporting their products: the New Step Program and the Colorado Export Development Grant.
The office is accepting applications for the grant until Sept. 14. Selected businesses could receive up to $4,500 to put toward direct expenses for developing a new market.
“I’m really impressed with the amount of resources at the federal and state levels,” said Louise Garnett.
Garnett, a marketing consultant, recently started Altitude Sickness Relief. She sells the products online within the U.S. but attended the event to learn more about the regulations and tariffs that go along with international exporting.
Sandra Necessary, director of the U.S. Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Commercial Service in Santa Fe, discussed resources her office has for businesses either exporting for the first time or those looking for extra guidance.
For those interested in traveling to the country to find a partner, Necessary touted a program where the office sets up meetings with potential partners, obtains a translator that goes to all of the meetings and takes care of transportation.
“I think this is where we shine,” Necessary said.