Export opportunities, notes MSBDC state director Georgianna Parkin, pose formidable complexities for small businesses. Entrepreneurs turn to the Massachusetts Export Center for advice on overseas markets, international channel development, payment and financing, export regulatory compliance, logistics, supply chains, and a great deal more.
One notable example among the Export Center’s hundreds of success stories, adds Parkin, was its work with Marlborough-based Diamond Machining Technology (now called DMT). A manufacturer of diamond-surface sharpening stones/tools, DMT expanded its overseas markets with strategic and pragmatic advice from the Export Center and its Central and Western Massachusetts director, Julia Dvorko, a 1997 Isenberg MBA graduate. From 2011-2016, Julia and the Export Center helped DMT devise an international marketing plan and expand its global markets. That included helping DMT recruit dealers in Poland, Russia, and Italy. It also helped DMT acquire State Trade and Promotion (STEP) grants to attend international trade shows. The upshot: DMT now exports to over 20 countries and received recognition from the President of the United States via an E Award, which celebrates significant U.S. exporters.
Microenterprise of the Year
Back at the awards ceremony, a Pittsfield-based startup, Yummy Treasures, which sells vintage beads and gemstones, received the SBA’s Microenterprise of the Year honors. “Our Berkshire Regional Office director Keith Girouard and members of his team helped transform a craft collector’s passion into a thriving business,” observes Parkin. A sure measure of “thriving” is Yummy’s current performance on Etsy.com, where it #1 seller in the U.S. and #3 in the world. MSBDC counselors, Parkin notes, helped the business move out of owner Beth and Greg Carpenter’s basement into their own storefront and advised them on marketing and inventory management. Beth and Greg’s son, Zac Carpenter—an Isenberg Hospitality & Tourism Management and UMass Communications major—joined the business after graduation. He focuses on website design and social media.
Returns on Investment
The MSBDC network, emphasizes Parkin, has a strong presence in every Massachusetts region. Besides its center in Pittsfield, the network comprises offices in Springfield, Worcester, Boston, Lowell, and Fall River. Its Massachusetts Export Center is one of several MSBDC specialty centers, including its Minority Business Center and centers for sales to government and technical assistance with government procurements. The network’s annual impact surveys demonstrate its strong returns on investment. They include substantial capital investments in MSBDC clients, their own generation of tax revenues, and their nonlinear impact on job creation and employment (more on economic and social impact indicators here).
And speaking of job creation, Parkin notes that the lion’s share of MSBDC’s staff are Isenberg employees. “Twenty-five of them—all around the state—technically work for Isenberg,” she remarks. “So let’s give Isenberg some credit for the MSBDC’s impact on the Commonwealth’s business development and economy.”
*An MSBDC service center has earned SBA Regional Service Center of Excellence distinctions for eight years’ running. Eight years ago, the Massachusetts Export Center also took home the SBA’s top national honor for excellence.