Tuesday AM Recap 5/11/10: International Trade Alliance

What do PCS Utilidata, Rings and Things, and Dry Fly Distillery all have in common? They are all local companies–founded in Spokane not recruited from elsewhere–working with the International Trade Alliance (ITA) to increase their export business. The International Trade Alliance is a local economic development non-profit that helps Spokane-area businesses develop international markets for their locally manufactured or locally distributed products. Last night the council had a really interesting presentation from ITA executive director Mark Peterson detailing their efforts boost local business and create jobs through exports. According to Mr. Peterson the exports business in Washington state is rebounding ahead of the national trend and is not just dependent on the aerospace industry. The ITA is working to help our businesses crack the tough but lucrative BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) by utilizing local business folks with language expertise related to these countries.

I asked Mr. Peterson what are some of the challenges facing local export businesses and how could we help them? He said there are transportation challenges. I expected him to possibly detail trucking and freight concerns but was surprised to hear that the biggest concern for exporters was actually getting more international flights at the Spokane International Airport. Our exports in Spokane tend to be small, lightweight, and suitable for just in time delivery. One of the biggest things that could help the businesses would be the addition of more direct flights to destinations like Calgary, Alberta. Since every $180K in exports creates at least one new job in our community the funds the City contributes to the ITA is money well spent.

Did you know that Spokane city council has converted to an electronic document system? If you like watching us on channel 5 on Monday nights now you can follow along at home by downloading the same same agenda sheet and supporting materials packet we get. It’s easy. Just go to the City Council website and on the left-hand side under the heading “Current Agenda” download the pdf marked “Full Packet With Bookmarks.” This gives you everything the council gets for our meetings. It also save reams of paper for us to get it electronically. THanks to Melanie Coe, Dorothy Webster, Terry Pfister and everyone else at the City who helped create the process to digitize our agenda packet.

In other business last night the council heard five mayoral proclamations, passed one emergency budget ordinance to receive a grant for fire protection equipment, and passed two resolutions. One resolution regarded materials procurement and the other regarded selling three forclosed homes that had been part of city home improvement loan program.

News, Small Business

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