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Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at SIUE plans virtual stops in South America

The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at SIUE will host a virtual trade mission to South America on Sept. 20-27. Virtual stops will include Peru, Colombia and Chile.

Southern Illinois companies already exporting to this region in addition to those looking to get started in these markets are welcome to apply. Participating companies will have the opportunity to meet with potential business partners on one-on-one business matchmaking meetings in a virtual setting. All industries and sectors are welcome.

Silvia Torres, ITC director (shown), said the virtual event could also serve your business as preparation for an In-Person Trade Mission to South America, sponsored by partners at the U.S. Department of Commerce, to take place Dec. 7-10. The ITC will be participating in this in-person mission and ISTEP funding can be made available to eligible small businesses interested in registering and traveling with us.

Virtual events leading up to an in-person trade mission can be very beneficial in that they allow companies to make initial contacts, learn more about the markets to be visited and lay the groundwork for a more productive trip, she said.

Despite recent political challenges, South America is resilient, Torres said. Leadership experience and innovative methods have helped South American businesses meet the challenges of uncertain times, generating prospects for future growth.


The virtual trade mission will include:

  • Initial consultation and assessment
  • Market research
  • Pre-matchmaking business briefings
  • Complete mission planning
  • Customized online business appointments
  • Webinar training covering business culture and how to conduct successful virtual meetings in South America
  • Complete support during each virtual meeting (hosting, note-taking, interpretation services)
  • Detailed post-mission review and report /follow-ups

Thanks to Federal CARES Act funding, a business can benefit from two full days of customized, pre-arranged one-on-one virtual meetings with pre-screened prospective partners, carefully selected with participant’s input, for one country for a $250 participation fee (complete service package valued at $1,800).

If you are interested in participating in virtual meetings with the other two countries, the participation fee for each additional country is $900/day/company. A company could qualify for the Illinois State Trade Export Promotion (ISTEP) financial funding offered to small and medium-sized exporters. Businesses can be awarded up to $7,500 in cost reimbursements (for virtual and in-person missions). For details regarding eligibility and how to apply, visit

Registration deadline is July 16 or when all spots are filled, whichever happens first.

For more information and to register, contact Silvia Torres, ITC director, via email at

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