HYBAS INTERNATIONAL LLC operates the Houston Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Export Center under a cooperative agreement with the MBDA of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The MBDA’s mission is to promote the growth of minority business enterprises (MBEs).
In 2001, I was laid-off from a technology company, and, during a downward spiraling economy. After six months of aggressively looking for employment, I had the guts and instinct to transition my career from Corporate America to entrepreneurship and teach myself how to export. I hit the ground running, traveling to the public library and the small business development center (SBDC), library to learn everything about exporting.
After much research, I attended my first export workshop and was the only woman in the room except for the organizers. I quickly realized that many of the gentlemen in the room knew each other. Someone approached me and asked, “What are you doing here, and I answered, “I am here to learn how to export just like you.” The gentleman responded and said, “The export industry is grandfathered down from generation-to-generation and if your family is not in the industry, it will be hard for you to enter.” I said, “ok” and politely walked away without his business card.
I continued to attend export workshops and conferences and saw the same gentleman at most of the events. The next time he approached me, he asked, “How are you doing with your export business? Are you finding the resources you need to get your business up and running? Have you secured an export transaction yet?” After our small talk, we finally shared business cards and I was surprised at his business and title.
Twenty years later, this gentleman and I still communicate and are friends. “Who knew”, my first conversation with this guy would be a game-changer for my business. He was generous and shared his knowledge and resources to help me jump start my export business. My advice is to attend export workshops, conferences, and webinars to learn everything you can about exporting. You will meet one person that will inspire you, leading you to that breakthrough export opportunity. Have a vision, drive and creativity to move your business forward. The Houston Export Center will be on that journey with you, and I personally will pour everything that I have learned about exporting into the tools and resources organized for you to start your export journey.
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