Gearing Up for Next ExporTech

Participants in the next ExporTech 2.0 series can expect the same mix of in-person presentations and online content that made last year’s program so successful.

“The hybrid format was well received by both the attendees and subject matter experts,” said Marc Schneider, a CIRAS project manager who leads ExporTech. “It provides a regular cadence for sessions with the flexibility to have different participants from each company attend the topics important to them. It also promotes teamwork and networking between participants, and it provides easily managed time slots to complete the program.”

ExporTech is a national export assistance program that helps companies develop plans for growing their export activity. It’s a joint effort of CIRAS, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The next session begins January 10.

“This was well worth the time and effort we invested,” said Amanda Jepson, of Bovia, a participant in the most recent series. “The program really helped us clarify our export plans, so we knew where to push for growth.”

ExporTech welcomes participation from all companies. The program caters to both experienced exporters aiming to broaden their market reach and companies new to exporting seeking guidance in expanding into additional markets. However, its primary focus is on small- to medium-sized businesses, particularly those characterized by Schneider as “accidental exporters.”

“These are firms that are exporting today but not in a formal, structured way,” he explained. “They are reacting to orders and inquiries they’ve received via the Internet, trade shows, and customers who’ve found them. They now realize they should be targeting these markets and customers, and they want to ensure they have the right processes in place to do it.”

The series covers topics like sales and distribution strategies, pricing and payment practices, regulations and certifications, logistics, and market research. Participants are assigned a coach to guide them through the process, help them recognize export gaps specific to their company, and direct them to resources to help close those gaps.

“We had several obstacles that were keeping us from being successful exporters,” said Brian Houlihan, president of Lansing Housing Products. “Participating in ExporTech helped us identify those obstacles and provided resources for overcoming them.”

Participants leave the program with a customized strategic plan to grow their business through expanded exporting. A follow-up meeting takes place three months later to see how the company is progressing with their plan and what additional assistance may be needed.

IEDA offers grants to reimburse up to 71 percent of expenses for qualified companies.

For more information, contact Marc Schneider at or 563-221-1596.