The Far North Center for International Trade Development, housed at Feather River College, is the only international trade center in California located north of Sacramento.
The Far North Center, one of only seven such centers in the state, offers free or low-cost programs and services to northern California businesses.
These services include one-on-one technical assistance and consulting, market research, market leads, training and educational programs, and special events to bring local businesses face-to-face with overseas companies seeking new products.
Angela Cordell, director of the state-funded Far North Center, said, “The purpose of the trade center is to help small businesses gain access to markets overseas.” She added, “There are so many resources available at the state and federal level to help businesses sell overseas, however some of these resources take years to find out about.”
Cordell’s job is to connect local businesses with all of these resources — which is potentially a great opportunity for small businesses in Plumas County.
Cordell noted, “I am constantly shocked and awed by the many small companies that exist in Plumas County and other small rural counties that are already engaged internationally with customers.”
Cordell also emphasized that California’s informal brand, as the “Golden State,” is well known overseas. International consumers are anxious to buy products with “Made in California” stamped on them.
Some California company brands, even some relatively unknown companies to U.S. consumers, are already household names overseas.
Another goal of the trade center is to help Feather River College and its students become more “globalized.” Cordell hopes to offer Feather River College students experience working on projects internationally.
Cordell is relatively new to her position, having started in June 2016, so outreach to small business is currently limited to word-of-mouth and interviews with local knowledgeable people.
Cordell hopes to launch a news center and make more use of existing social media.
Cordell can be reached at (916) 205-6473 or [email protected].
China test marketing project
The California Center for International Trade Development, a statewide initiative established in 1989, is also interested in offering international matchmaking events that will bring California companies and products face-to-face with companies and markets abroad at a very low cost to companies.
In a first of its kind project, the California Center for International Trade Development, in cooperation with other state and federal agencies, is giving selected companies the opportunity to test-market their health and beauty products, vitamin and food supplements and non-refrigerated organic food at a major department store located in Hong Kong in May of this year.
Participation in this type of test-marketing project is an inexpensive way for small businesses to get their feet wet marketing overseas.
In the Hong Kong project, Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium Ltd will be creating a “California Corner” within their flagship department store.
This well known company in Hong Kong is keen to expand the number of personal care, dietary supplements and senior care products in their stores that are specifically made in California.
In this project, the California State Trade Expansion Program will be providing public relations, marketing, transportation and logistics support.
The federal U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, will be providing marketing, logistics and organizational support.
Yue Hwa will be providing merchandising and sales support.
There is believed to be an excellent chance that long-term contracts can result for those products that sell well at the store.
Although this is the first of these test-marketing projects that the California Center for International Trade Development has put on, the Center hopes to have more like it in the future.
When that happens, local businesses in Plumas County may be well positioned to participate.