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The International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, in partnership with the Southwestern Illinois Trade and Investment Council, will host “Export Needs and Trade Initiatives for Southwest Illinois: Lunch and Dialogue with the Business Community” on Tuesday, July 25.

torres bowman silvia2017The event will be held from noon to 2 p.m. in the Morris University Center’s International Room on SIUE’s campus, and will feature a networking lunch, followed by a roundtable discussion.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Reservations will be accepted through July 14, or until seats are filled.

“This event will engage exporting businesses and discuss the results of our first Export Needs Assessment Survey,” said Silvia Torres Bowman (right), director of the Illinois ITC. “Our survey helped us identify specific opportunities and challenges the business community in our region is facing with regard to their international activities, as well as key areas where we need to improve to enable more businesses to become successful exporters.”

“We will present our findings, and more importantly, hear personal stories, challenges and concerns from the business community and innovate ways to better support their export growth,” she added. “This is a unique opportunity for businesses to be represented and heard. Participants will help us design future projects and initiatives that will best serve their needs.”

Trade missions are about opening doors for businesses and entrepreneurs and developing long-term opportunities in foreign markets. Participants will be provided an exclusive first look at the new proposed list of trade shows and missions for 2017-18, sponsored by the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment. These shows cover various industries, relevant to the region.

“In May 2009, the ITC led its first trade mission to South America in partnership with the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, bringing positive results to our region,” Bowman explained. “We look forward to organizing a Southwestern Illinois Trade Mission, in partnership with the Trade and Investment Council, to place regional businesses in front of new international customers and partners. This trade mission will be designed based on what our businesses need and want.”

According to Torres Bowman, the roundtable discussion will offer updates on Illinois State Trade and Export Promotion Program (ISTEP) funding, including how regional companies can take full advantage of the program which assists Illinois businesses to cover major expenses associated with international travel, participation in trade shows/missions, marketing, research and product compliance. The ISTEP program offers between 50 to 75 percent cost reimbursement on pre-approved eligible international activities for Illinois small to medium sized businesses. More details are available at siue.edu/business/itc/istep.

For more information about how to do business globally and how to benefit from the Southwestern Illinois Trade & Investment Council, contact the International Trade Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (618) 650-3851 or by visiting siue.edu/business/itc.