Chattanooga's Tennessee Small Business Development Center, located at 100 Cherokee Boulevard, has been certified as an internal trade center by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The certification means that counselors are knowledgeable regarding identifying markets for products, able to select foreign partners, familiar with export regulations and controls, and more.
The only other international trade center in Tennessee is located in Nashville, officials said.
Two of the TSBDC's counselors, Ivette Rios, small business specialist, and Jules Doux, senior small business specialist, have passed the intermediate-level exam for SBA certification as international counselors. Doux said that certification is a way to expand services to businesses in the area.
Both specialists are pursuing the next level of certification—certified global business professional—and hope to complete it by summer's end.
With the two certifications, the TSBDC will be in a position to support the National Export Initiative as the only business counseling center in the area with a focus on international trade, officials said.
“Ninety-seven percent of the market is outside the U.S. This gives local businesses a venue for growth. Some local businesses may have considered exporting. We can help them with market potential and research to help them to decide which countries and how to handle customs in order to export their products,” Rios said in a prepared statement.
The TSBDC will host trade seminars and market-specific seminars in the near future, officials said. One-on-one counseling will also be provided to Tier II companies (companies that are ready to export) and Tier III companies (companies that are already exporting but looking to expand to other markets).
To learn more, call 423-756-8668.