Release Date: April 17, 2012


President Hightlights the Importance of Small Business
Development Centers in Helping Businesses Expand Globally

Pensacola, FL: The Florida Small Business Development Center Network (Florida SBDC Network) plays a key role in the National Export Initiative’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2014 through continued assistance and support of Florida businesses seeking international market growth opportunities. 

“The Florida Small Business Development Center Network has been on the forefront of identifying new opportunities for businesses for over 35 years. We are committed to accelerating Florida’s economy by helping Florida businesses explore new market opportunities outside our borders,” said Jerry Cartwright, the State Director of the Florida SBDC Network.

President Obama recently toured and spoke on the importance of international trade at the Port of Tampa, Florida's largest port by cargo tonnage and one of the nation's largest ports by area. In his address, the President introduced the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA), a new initiative working cooperatively with America's SBDCs to promote and create jobs in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through expansion in international markets; a priority and area of focus of the Florida SBDC Network. The SBNA will work with the Florida SBDC Network to continue accelerating international exports for Florida's SMEs. Ninety-five percent of exporters in the State of Florida are SMEs.

New statistics show that businesses expanding to international markets grow an average of 15%-20% faster and are 15% more profitable. In 2011, Florida businesses produced and exported nearly $65 billion in goods. This was a 17% increase from the previous year. To celebrate Florida’s export growth, Governor Rick Scott declared April as "Florida World Trade Month".  In his proclamation, Governor Scott says, "The impact of international commerce on Florida's economy cannot be overstated." To reach the national goal of doubling exports Florida’s businesses will need help.

The Florida SBDC Network has “Export Ready” programs and services in place to help new-to-market, new-to-export businesses in Florida expand globally:

  • An International Trade Certificate Program, one of a few National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE) accredited trade assistance programs in the world, and the only one in Florida.
  • An Export Marketing Plan Service as part of the national State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program, assists qualified manufacturing small businesses in Florida who are “new-to-export” identify growth strategies through the development of customized Export Marketing Plans.
  • The Florida Export Series, a three step program to operational effectiveness and ultimate success.
  • No-cost professional consulting in a variety of areas such as financing, accounting, taxes, marketing, web strategy, and more to help Florida businesses export successfully.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 43,000 of Florida's 2 Million businesses export, making Florida the second largest concentration of exporters in the U.S. Florida trade represents $102.9 billion dollars and more than 1.3 million jobs in Florida depend on international business. 

"Our economy was thriving when shipping containers left ports packed with goods that were stamped with three proud words: Made in America. And those exports supported a lot of good-paying jobs in America, including jobs right here in Florida," said President Obama.

"Florida's small and medium-sized businesses are the job creators in our state. The Florida SBDC Network is committed to providing the professional assistance and expertise they need to grow," said Cartwright.

For over 35 years, the Florida SBDC Network has nourished a statewide partnership between Federal and State government, higher education and local economic development organizations dedicated to providing emerging and growth businesses with professional business information and expertise that enable overall business growth and increased profitability and economic prosperity for the state.  In 2011, Florida SBDCs helped its clients acquire $96.6 million in capital for business expansion and investment; create and save 16,914 Floridian jobs; achieve new sales revenue growth worth $317.9 million; win government contract awards worth $313.9 million; and create 1,026 new business enterprises. To learn more about the Florida SBDC Network or to find a SBDC near you, visit or call 1.866.737.7232.

The Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network of 39 centers, is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, hosted by the University of West Florida and accredited through the national Association of SBDCs.

State Office l UWF Office of Economic Development & Engagement
11000 University Pkwy, Bldg 38 l Pensacola, FL 32514
866.737.7232 or 850.473.7800 l