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5 Questions with Justin Oslowski, New Hampshire Export Assistance Center

Exporting is an important component to the New Hampshire economy and there are several resources in the state standing by to work with companies interested in expanding their customer base into global markets. We’ve said it before (so we’ll say it again!): New Hampshire companies and manufacturers, even the smallest ones, have products and services in demand overseas. Justin Oslowski, director of the New Hampshire Export Assistance Center, works closely with our Office of International Commerce to help these companies fulfill their export goals. By the way, he’ll be at the Dubai Air Show with our Tina Kasim next week, promoting the state’s robust aerospace and defense industries at one of the largest industry trade show in the region.

Oslowski

Justin Oslowski ~ NH Export Assistance Center

1. What unique characteristics make New Hampshire companies successful in international business?

Having worked in several U.S. states, I’m genuinely impressed by the range of cutting edge products and services offered by New Hampshire’s business community. In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, these are the offerings that international buyers are particularly keen to purchase, so the demand is there.

What’s unique about New Hampshire companies is that they recognize the need to tap into this international demand. U.S. companies, for varied reasons, often don’t make the commitment to international business development and potentially sacrifice a critical revenue stream as a result. That’s rare in New Hampshire, so it speaks to the understanding and usefulness of exporting to sustain business growth and job creation in the state.

2. How does the New Hampshire Export Assistance Center work together/complement the New Hampshire Office of International Commerce?

Our partnership with the State of New Hampshire’s Office of International Commerce is highly synergistic. The state is one of our most important clients, as my office is often called upon to execute many of the state’s initiatives, from trade missions to trade shows and across a wide range of international business development needs.

At an individual client level, the state often counsels the client, provides preliminary market research and identifies potential markets. They also make that critical introduction of the client to my office, and we help to execute the client’s international business plan through our network of U.S. Commercial Service offices located in U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. We also strategize and partner on the best way to use limited international development resources.

The Export Expansion Fund, in partnership with The Provident Bank and the Granite State District Export Council, and the State’s matching grants, are two practical and effective programs that were created by the partnership.

3. For a company that’s never exported anything before, what are a few of the most important things that a company would need to do in preparation for exporting its products?

The basic message I’d share is that any New Hampshire company is not alone when it comes to exporting. We have a formal referral protocol in the state under the umbrella of the New Hampshire International Trade Resource Network. We can quickly assess where a client is in the international business development process, and bring colleagues from the Small Business Administration, the Small Business Development Centers, the State, my office or even partners at SCORE, Ex-Im Bank or the Granite State District Export Council into the discussion.

We’ll work with the client to identify what their particular needs are before approaching international markets, and ensure that they are well prepared to achieve their objectives. I would strongly suggest that a client never go it alone. We want to encourage international business and exporting, but there are nuances that we can help each client understand and minimize the learning curve.

4. Can you share a success story or two to provide concrete examples of how the NH EAC supports businesses in the state?

There are many great stories to share, but two more recent examples would be stories like Hydrocomp in Durham and Geophysical Survey Systems in Nashua. In each case, the clients took advantage of the market knowledge and services of my office, and the financial resources being offered through the State of New Hampshire’s matching grants and the Export Expansion Fund.

Hydrocomp used funding to vet and identify potential business partners in Asia, while GSSI relaunched its line of products in Taiwan by using our office to conduct a Single Company Promotion, to educate potential end-users in market. Our clients are savvy, and they used all of the resources available to them.

5. What does the NH EAC have coming up that’s new, exciting, or otherwise of particular interest to New Hampshire businesses?

In addition to our first foray into the Middle East aerospace market by attending the Dubai Air Show next week, the state recently announced the availability of a $5,000 matching grant for New Hampshire exporters available through its State Trade Export Promotion grant. The application deadline is today (Nov. 6) and we’d like to see as many New Hampshire clients use the program as possible.

We also recently announced our second round of funding available via the Export Expansion Fund with The Provident Bank and the Granite State District Export Council. Although the focus of the EEF is a little narrower than the matching grants, we want to see companies take advantage of both programs to help build their export business.