John High, a staff member from the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, visited The American Legion's Economic Division on Jan. 21 to discuss exporting practices for veteran-owned small businesses. Citing the example of a small New Orleans company that sends Cajun spices to Switzerland, High stressed the value of businesses opening operations to a global market. The small Bayou-based company's decision to export its wares to Europe has paid off, as it is now "doing fantastically," High says.
"Opening overseas markets is a natural way for many entrepreneurs to expand their enterprises," said Joe Sharpe, the Legion's economic director, "but it's often thought to be too difficult or complex to accomplish.
"In many cases, it also takes some imagination and creativity to figure out if a particular product or service is marketable overseas. But as the ‘Cajun cookin' in Switzerland' example proves, it can be well worth the mental effort," he said.
Sharpe says the Legion will work with Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and the Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship to explore ways to educate proprietors of veteran-owned enterprises about the specifics of doing business in overseas markets – including the navigation of trade regulations – and identifying likely candidates within the veteran-owned business community for offshore expansion.
High noted that Canada, Mexico and China are high on the list of ripe export markets.
"It was a fruitful meeting," Sharpe said. "I can see how this topic will become an important part of our small business workshop curriculum."