The event gave local business owners a chance to explore international trade prospects.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Ron Barnhart is looking for businesses around the world that might want to build or relocate in the quiet village Lordstown.
Shanthi Subramanyam wants to market her company's management software abroad.
Barnhart and Subramanyam got some of their questions answered Thursday when they met with trade experts from the Ohio Department of Development's International Trade Division at Youngstown State University.
The event, sponsored by YSU's Williamson Center for International Business and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce, was designed to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to consider doing business internationally.
Seeking advice: Barnhart, planning and zoning administrator for the Village of Lordstown, said he attended to get some advice on attracting international businesses to the mostly rural Trumbull County community that is already home to General Motors assembly and fabricating plants.
"We have land that's perfect for industrial use, and half of it already has the infrastructure in place," he said. "We want to market that land and we want to bring in more jobs."
Barnhart planned to meet with trade experts for Argentina, Chile, Israel and Europe.
Subramanyam, president and chief executive of Empyra Enterprise in the Youngstown Business Incubator, said she wanted to explore prospects for selling its software products outside the United States. She was scheduled to meet with the trade representatives for Canada, Ohio's largest export customer, Japan and Europe.
The state's International Trade Division has offices in 10 countries around the world, each staffed by trade experts who do some of the "legwork" for small and medium-sized Ohio companies exploring the business prospects abroad. The service is free to the companies, paid for by tax dollars.
One-on-one meetings: Managing directors from six of those offices -- representing Argentina, Canada, Chile, Europe, Israel and Mexico -- spent the morning conducting one-on-one meetings at YSU.
The trade experts traditionally visit Ohio communities in May to meet with business owners and to gather information about Ohio-made products.
Reid Dulberger, executive vice president for the Chamber, said the meetings were scheduled to encourage local businesses to access international markets. "Meeting one-on-one with Ohio's leading international business experts will help us expand local exports and secure local jobs," he said.
Dr. Betty Jo Licata, dean of YSU's business school, said the sponsors were pleased that all the meeting slots were filled, with some business owners scheduling sessions with representatives from several locations.