ExporTech Accelerates Global Growth

TransAgra International expects to more than double its global sales in the next year, and strategies learned at ExporTech will help the Storm Lake company achieve that goal.

“We learned a great deal about building our global presence and making contacts, as well as the details of exporting and registrations in each country,” said Dr. Rebecca Quesnell, vice president of operations and research/product development director. “These are strategies that will help us approach our goals in a realistic and effective way.” TransAgra manufactures all-natural products for animal health. The company recently completed the CIRAS-driven ExporTech 2.0 program. ExporTech is a national export assistance program that helps companies develop customized plans for growing their level of exports. It is a joint effort of CIRAS, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Most Iowa companies want to increase overseas sales, but it’s hard to get started if you don’t know where to begin,” said Marc Schneider, CIRAS project manager. “We form a cohort of four to eight companies per offering that participate in a mix of sessions in Ames and online. Ultimately, they develop a customized international growth plan.”

The program is open to all companies, including those who have not yet ventured into global markets.

“We participated in ExporTech to learn how to position our company to excel in this area,” said Teresa Quirante, sales and marketing executive with Cedar Falls-based Z&Z Medical, a provider of medical imaging supplies and accessories. “We haven’t exported many products before and felt we needed to have a firm foundation before we fully jumped in. We feel we now have the tools in our toolbox to grow and succeed worldwide.”

When ExporTech was first introduced by CIRAS in 2014, participants attended three full-day events scheduled about a month apart. Content experts covered topics like sales and distribution strategies, pricing and payment practices, logistics, regulations and certifications, and marketing messages. The same topics are covered in the new hybrid model.

A unique feature of ExporTech is the customized plan that each company develops. The plan is presented to a review panel of experienced exporters, who provide feedback to each presenter.

The final piece of ExporTech is a follow-up meeting about three months later to see how the company is progressing with their plan, help resolve any new issues, and provide connections within the Iowa “export village.”

“Companies are surprised there are so many resources to help them on both the state and federal sides,” Schneider said. ExporTech 2.0 will be offered again next year with weekly sessions January 10–March 21, 2023.

For more information, contact Marc Schneider at maschn@iastate.edu or 563-221-1596.