Recent Op-Eds

It seems as though every day we become more aware of the changes that have been brought about by technology. Through the Internet and other mediums of communication, a person in South Dakota can connect with someone in South Korea more quickly and more easily than ever before. As technology continues to evolve, the opportunities for businesses in South Dakota to connect with markets around the globe evolve as well, with great potential benefit to our state.

Many people assume that only large companies have the resources and the ability to export products to other countries. However, in 2006, 97 percent of the total number of U.S. companies exporting were small or medium sized businesses, accounting for over one-fourth of the total value of U.S. exports. Currently, small businesses in the U.S. generate over $1 billion per day in export value. However, only one percent of all U.S. businesses export, which is generally less than our international competitors. In the United Kingdom and Germany, nine percent of all businesses export.

In November, I was joined by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) at a summit in Sioux Falls where local business leaders discussed the opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to export goods to other countries. The summit focused on the potential for companies in South Dakota and Minnesota, particularly in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, to increase sales by reaching markets in other countries. Particularly as the domestic economy rebounds from a long recession, increased exports can create jobs and increase wages in South Dakota.

There are several existing government programs that can help small and medium sized businesses expand their export opportunities. The U.S. Commercial Service, which is a division of the Commerce Department, helps companies research potential markets and introduce potential international customers to small and medium sized businesses. The Export-Import Bank can help reduce the risk of exporting abroad and provide working capital to small and medium sized businesses when private financing is not available.

The world is more connected now than ever before through rapidly advancing technology. Companies in the U.S. sell products and services abroad, creating jobs here at home. Small and medium sized businesses in South Dakota have the potential to find customers all over the world, and there are mechanisms in place to help. Small businesses have the opportunity to thrive in the global economy, which is good for South Dakota’s economy.

To learn more about ways to create export opportunities for small and medium sized businesses in South Dakota, please contact the U.S. Export Assistance Center at 605-330-4265.

Senator Thune serves as a member of the Senate Small Business Committee and the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee – both of which are involved with various federal agencies and programs that are designed to help U.S. businesses.

Click here to view video of the Export Summit.