SIUE School of Business, and The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and International Trade Centers (ITC) for the Metro East at SIUE have announced the inaugural Fuel the Future event.
The event will offer local small business representatives the opportunity to learn about the no-cost services available to them through these SIUE centers for business development and in particular exporting.
Additionally, the event will provide an opportunity to present selected local businesses who are clients of the SBDC and ITC with “Fueling the Future” awards for their extraordinary work and use of the services offered.
“Fuel the Future” event
9 a.m. to 12 noon, April 14, 2023
Birger Hall, 30 North Circle Drive, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Craig Eversmann, President and CEO of Marsh Shipping Supply Company, LLC (MSSC) is one award recipient that participants will hear from. MSSC manufactures Industrial Stenciling equipment and supplies, Carton Closure equipment, Valve Actuated Markers and Industrial Inkjet printers and inks. MSSC exports to 57 countries, and Eversmann credits much of their success their longstanding relationship with the ITC saying, “[The] ITC has been so supportive in growing our international presence.” He describes how they provided MSSC marketing research, funding for international tradeshows participation, translation support, new distribution vetting, and product certification.
Karen Tinsley-Sroka, Founder and CEO of My Scratch Offs, an interactive marketing company, is the other award recipient. She explains in an interview how the SBDC and the ITC have been instrumental in her business success during her work with these centers for over seven years. According to Tinsley-Sroka, the SBDC and ITC have helped her with business development and have introduced her to Export Now, an educational program teaching business representatives about requirements and best practices of exporting. The SBDC and ITC have also helped her raise her business profile through social media such as LinkedIn posts. As a result, her company has seen a significant increase in revenue sales in Canada. With the continued support of the SBDC and ITC, My Scratch Offs is planning to enter additional international markets.
Tinsley-Sroka advises other local businesses interested in exporting to reach out to the SBDC and ITC to ensure that correct procedures are followed and success is maximized. “Make sure you reach out to make sure you’re doing it right,” she suggests. “You don’t want to find out later you’re doing things wrong,” she continues. Tinsley-Sroka emphasizes that the resources available through the SBDC and ITC are critical in ensuring that all necessary legal processes are properly completed by regional small businesses engaged in exporting.
Tinsley-Sroka also provides the following advice for small business representatives: “Don’t give up. You have to continue to change and evolve. You just have to adapt to the ever-changing world we live in post COVID-19. And also seek out the resources of your local educational offices, whether that’s SIUE’s SBDC and ITC by you or something else.”
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the Metro East at SIUE provides no-to-low-cost resources and information in advising, research, and advocacy to Southwestern Illinois entrepreneurs, business owners, small business service providers and the University community in the nine-county region they serve. Supported by the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA), goals of the SBDC are to aid in maintaining, growing, and strengthening the local business community, creating and retaining new jobs, and encouraging new investment.
The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at SIUE serves businesses in the entire southern Illinois region by providing individualized, no-cost export advising, identification of foreign buyers, agents and/or distributors through trade leads, international market analysis, and more. The ITC is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as a service to the region’s entrepreneurial and business community.