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DC Department of Small and Local Business Development Leads Second Trade Mission to South Africa

Thursday, July 18, 2013
Trade mission to enhance competitiveness and expand opportunities for local businesses

(Washington, DD) – The DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) is leading its second business trade mission to South Africa. The goals of the mission are to increase business opportunities for DC businesses and to promote related business activities in the District and South Africa.

“We are excited to strengthen our mutual desire to better advance trade and small business partnerships between the District and Tshwane,” said Interim Director Robert Summers. “These trade missions benefit the District’s economy by adding valuable international contacts and increased export sales, in turn, yielding new opportunities for the District’s small businesses.”

Led by Summers and Export DC Manager, Gizachew Andargeh, the July 22-27 trade mission will facilitate five businesses accessing and securing foreign contracts in South Africa. The firms participating range in services and products that include real estate development, information technology, water resource management, and liquor production and distribution.

Hailed as having the largest economy in Africa and an economy projected to grow by five percent annually over the next decade, South Africa’s region represents a vast amount of opportunity for small businesses. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development, Africa offers the highest and fastest return on foreign direct investment, more than any other region.

During the trade mission, DSLBD will meet with officials from the cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Cape Town. The trade mission provides the first economic development activity proposed by the Tshwane Sister City Agreement renewed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray in July 2011. The firms participating in the trade mission are CultureShockMedia, General Services, Inc., Georgetown Trading, Health Information 2 Business Solutions, and the Neighborhood Development Company.

“This trip represents a shared objective between the District and South Africa- to expand revenues and spur job growth,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Victor L. Hoskins. “Exporting goods and services is a fundamental component to a growing economy. I am confident that business successes will result from this trade mission.”

Created in March of 2012, DSLBD’s ExportDC initiative, is the District’s first major export promotion and development initiative. ExportDC has helped expose and connect more than 300 businesses to
international opportunities. The division provides international trade counseling and works with federal and local resource partners to promote DC services and products on the global stage. As part of a partnership with the Small Business Administration, ExportDC administers the State, Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant providing reimbursements to qualified businesses for approved international marketing activities. All of DC firms represented on the South Africa Small Business Trade Mission are STEP grantees.