‘There’s a market out there, outside the borders of the U.S.,” says Karriem Beyah, president of iGlobalTrade LLC. In 2015 New Jersey exported $32 billion in goods, and America exported $2.2 trillion in goods and services, according to government figures.
“This is an exclusive market,” he says, adding that a lot of people don’t know about it or overlook it because they assume it takes too much effort and knowledge to do business on an international level.
But Beyah knows it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s why he has teamed up with several business experts and government groups to sponsor an international trade conference in Trenton. “At this event, you’ll get all the expertise you need to do what you have to do. It’s a one-stop shop,” he says.
International Trade Conference & Expo: Let’s Go Global takes place Wednesday, March 1, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the War Memorial building, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton. The cost is $45 in advance, $55 at the door. For information, contact 609-510-8703. Register online from the Small Business Development Center website at sbdc.tcnj.edu or from Eventbrite.com.
In addition to Beyah, the conference is headed by co-chairs Herb Ames, founder and CEO of Devin Group, and Samuel Blango III, CEO of Seccom International Group, LLC. Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson will introduce the conference and Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes will speak at the event closing.
The event is designed to partner manufacturers of American-made products with people who need them around the world. “The goal is to assist in increasing the bottom line of the participants,” Beyah says.
To make this happen there will be two panel discussions, one focusing on creating a business plan and one focusing on the international markets and exporting.
Each of the panelists will talk about the specific ways they can help participants.
The U.S. Commercial Service will discuss how it connects U.S. companies with international buyers, providing them with market intelligence, trade counseling, business matchmaking, and advocacy/commercial diplomacy support.
“They handle about 1,800 trading professionals around the world in about 250 cities world-wide. They are the hub between the person who needs a particular product and the company that has it,” Beyah says.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), the country’s official export credit agency, will discuss its role in providing business owners with working capital and related financial and insurance assistance.
The State of New Jersey, International Trade Advocate office, will discuss how it helps companies access free export consulting.
The City of Trenton, Economic Development, which spearheads Trenton Business Week, will discuss how it partners with the Trenton Downtown Association, the Mid Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations.
The County of Mercer, Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) office will discuss the county’s status as an FTZ and how it can reduce overall expenses for businesses through duty benefits.
The Small Business Development Center, College of New Jersey, will give a presentation on its services, which include help for new entrepreneurs, businesses in all stages of development, and its Spanish Business Center.
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association will provide literature about its member based organization which offers more than 100 events and webinars each year, advocacy, and more.
After the presentations participants will have the opportunity to exchange business cards and meet with the panelists and other industry representatives on a one-on-one basis. “We want people to follow up,” Beyah says.
He expects a mix of attendees including college students, local established businesses, startups, and individuals interested in learning about international trade.
So far several students and manufacturers have registered or expressed an interest in attending the expo, including a manufacturer of specialty bicycle tires, and other manufacturing related companies with products ranging from sheet metal to rubber, food, iron, parachutes, and meat packing.
In addition to Beyah’s interest in international trade, he has a background in communications and urban planning. He studied at Mercer County Community College and is the owner of Starlight Communications. He is a real estate development consultant with a commitment to fostering strong communities and business zones. Recently Beyah consulted on a project to complete a 13-store shopping mall off Pennington Road.
As a managing partner of Capital City Renaissance Group, he is working on funding for the North Clinton Avenue Redevelopment project. The plan covers 43 city blocks and would include mixed-use commercial and residential housing, including solar and internet technology. Beyah, whose father worked in the trucking industry and whose mother was a homemaker, grew up in that neighborhood.
“Back then, you had everything you needed: doctors, prescriptions, shoes, vegetables and staples, gasoline, haircuts, and car repair. You name it. It was all there,” Beyah says.
“My concept is to bring it back and make the neighborhood sustainable. It’s a passion, I guess. It’s a project that’s been overlooked for years,” he says.
The “Let’s Go Global” conference brings together Beyah’s experience with local business and international trade. He’s proud that Trenton will be hosting its first global event of this scale. “American products are high quality,” says Beyah, “and the world loves American products.”