Trade Center Director Awarded State Star

The Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) has announced that Jim Foley, director of the Illinois SBDC International Trade and NAFTA Opportunity Centers at Bradley University has been selected as the 2007 State Star of the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network. The award is given each year to recognize outstanding contributions in SBDC program development, leadership, and client counseling. Jim has been with the trade centers for nearly 14 years and serves as national director for the NASBITE CGBP professional certification, and Chairman of the International Association of Trade Training Organizations based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


José Rey from Columbia Partners of America Visits the Turner Center

by Anthony Cambas, NAFTA Trade Specialist, Illinois SBDC NAFTA Opportunity Center at Bradley University

The Illinois SBDC International Trade and NAFTA Opportunity Centers had the honor of hosting José Alejandro Rey, recipient of a U.S. Department of State, American Business Fellows Program fellowship from July 2 to August 11, 2007. This program was created to promote an understanding of issues related to international business and economic growth in Latin America while forging linkages between the private sectors of the United States and its neighbors. The Partners of the Americas was founded in 1964 as the "people to people" component of the Alliance for Progress.

José had an opportunity to learn about different technical aspects of international trade including product classification under the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS), international trade compliance and documentation, and how to utilize different resources for potential foreign market opportunity identification.

José, who owns a business in Colombia dedicated to the importation of manufacturing machinery from the United States, was able to establish business ties with Illinois companies and to tour Caterpillar manufacturing and logistics facilities. The recently negotiated US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement will bring new opportunities to small businesses in Colombia such as José's and will solidify commercial and personal ties between the two countries.

Mr. Rey also observed the techniques and practices employed by the ITC/NOC staff when counseling clients and interacting with the Illinois international trade community.

José's visit to the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship was true to the spirit of the "people to people focus" of the partners of the Americas Program. He will return to Colombia with new perspectives and insights on international trade and importing from the United States. This experience, it is hoped, will help make Jose's business more competitive and profitable leading to greater U.S. exports.

For further information, contact Anthony Cambas at (309) 677-3075 or send him an email.


Bradley Summer Interns

The trade centers hosted two interns this summer, both graduate students at Bradley University. Ash Basnet (MBA from Nepal) and Arun Palanisamy (ME from India) worked on various projects and attended events with José Rey (see related story). Ash wanted to expand her understanding of international business and Arun was seeking training in entrepreneurship. Both worked on client research projects and planning on the Project Asia grant. "The trade center staff have the most international fervor and experience I have ever known" comments Ash. "The insights into international trade and the skills I gained have increased my enthusiasm for international business." Arun really enjoyed the international environment. "I never felt that I was working in a room. It felt more like the United Nations!"