Blog By: Business Development and Trade Manager, Carlotta Gmachl


There’s never been a shakeup quite like this in our lifetimes. The pandemic is reshaping business practices and markets in every industry around the world – all at once.

For Michigan’s small businesses, exporting can provide a critical new avenue to expand and diversify your business by tapping into international opportunities. With the right strategy, trade and export offers the opportunity to grow your business by accessing new markets.

Through the resources and partners curated by the Detroit Regional Partnership, we have made it easier than ever to take the first step in understanding this opportunity.

Here are five things to remember to start your venture into international markets.


#1 Save the Dart-Throwing for Happy Hour or Leisure Travel

Throwing a dart at a map on the wall while blind-folded may be an exhilarating way to pick a vacation destination, but it’s no way to target international markets. Yet, unless you have experience in exports, that’s essentially what you’re doing. Non-profit organizations like the Detroit Regional Partnership take out the guess work and guide you to the best markets for the products and services you offer.


#2 Add the Right Amount of Alphabet Soup to Your Diet

There is one “food group” when it comes to your proverbial trade diet – alphabet soup. Michigan is blessed with many non-profit and quasi-government organizations dedicated to expand exports from local companies (think MEDC, SBDC, GVSU, IBC).

The problem? It’s acronym after mind-numbing acronym and difficult to know whom to contact for what. Our trade team offers concierge services”¯that put you in contact with the right resources that fit your needs using Michigan’s alphabet soup of trade organizations.


#3 Leave the Subtitles for the Independent Film Channel

Imagine purchasing a house thousands of miles away from a stranger who uses different currency and doesn’t speak your language. That’s a risky proposition that’s ripe for failure.

When it comes to exports there’s no shortage of support you can access. Michigan has a network of domestic and international organizations that can literally serve as your international concierge. They have local contacts in every market who can help translate your company’s value proposition into the language of business no matter what country or market you want to enter. For you, that means profits and growth.


#4 Rediscover Your Love of Free Stuff – It’ll Lead to a Custom Export Strategy

From the time you launched your business, there’s likely been an endless stream of other companies trying to sell you products or services to make your business “better.” After making payroll and paying to keep the lights on, developing an international export and trade strategy may seem like an unaffordable luxury.

Surprisingly, there are numerous resources, training seminars, and events all designed to help companies of all sizes and sectors navigate the current trade landscape. And it’s all largely free! You just need to take advantage of it.


#5 Let Someone Else Win Trivial Pursuit – You’ve Got Money to Make

Did you know Japan has more robots in operation than any other country in the world? Or that Michigan exports over $600 million in transportation equipment to South Korea, and the same goes for Italy?

Likely not. Most people don’t. But the Detroit Regional Partnership’s Trade and Export program offers analysis and data of key markets allowing you to cut through the noise and find the best place to grow your business.


Act Now – We Are an Email or Call Away

International trade is something every Michigan business should consider, and it all starts with a quick call or email to the Detroit Regional Partnership.



Carlotta Gmachl leads the Detroit Regional Partnership’s trade program, bringing awareness to local businesses on the opportunities and gains of trade and export. A native Austrian, she specializes in business attraction in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland region.