A division of the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, the U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm located across the United States and in U.S. Embassies and Consulates in nearly 80 countries. With three locations in the state, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh office covers the exporting needs of 36 counties in western, and parts of central Pennsylvania. Doverspike pointed out that their services include trade counseling, market intelligence, business matchmaking, and commercial diplomacy needed to connect with lucrative business opportunities.
“We also help develop trade finance and insurance strategies that align with your particular business objectives and help you complete your export transaction,” she said.
With the state playing a major role in the exporting market, Doverspike encouraged the audience to utilize the resources of her office as well as the products of the SBA. “Do your research, ask questions, think outside the box and know your market,” she said.
In the law field for more than 25 years, Cuccaro said it is important for entrepreneurs not to waste money.
Agreeing with Harvey and Doverspike she said no matter what stage of operation of the business it is important to know your market and to utilize available resources. When dealing with a lender she recommends knowing how much money you need and what the money will be used for. “Know your lending community and be smarter than your lender,” she said.
According to Nuppnau, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, Bureau of Small Business Opportunities is committed to implementing programs that increase contracting opportunities for self-certified small and verified small businesses.
“Governor Corbett is big on small business,” she said pointing out that he has signed executive orders that will assist small businesses and veteran-owned businesses. She indicated that the Small Diverse Business program will streamline the process for minority, women, veteran and service disabled veteran owned small businesses to participate as prime contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and professional service providers.
A major concern for all businesses is the Affordable Care Act. “In 2014 changes are coming, everyone will be responsible to have insurance,” Lampert pointed out. Discussing a complicated topic she said no matter if you are self-employed, an employer with fewer than 25 employees, an employer with fewer than 50 employees, or an employer with 50 or more employees, different provisions of the Affordable Care Act will apply and that research is the key to finding out what works best. Other than communicating with one’s current health care provider, she recommended the Department of Health and Human Services as a source of information.
Stressing that resources to help entrepreneurs at
all levels are plentiful, Harvey acknowledged that E-Magnify is one of the top Women Business Centers and that the region has numerous Small Business Development Centers and SCORE chapters. Assisting women entrepreneurs to start, sustain, and grow their businesses for more than two decades, E-Magnify provides counseling, training, and mentoring services.