A first-of-its kind summit in Youngstown was held Monday to give businesses the tools and resources they need to start exporting their products.
Top trade officials from the Obama administration took part in the Tech Belt Summit at Fellows Riverside Gardens, letting businesses know Washington is paying attention to the Valley.
It was a packed house.
"Ohioans, especially in the Mahoning Valley, know how to make things, make big things," said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. "We're No. 3 in the country. Only Texas and California make more things than Ohio does."
Mike Russell works for the HALTEC Corp. in Salem. It manufactures tire valve systems and exports them worldwide.
"They are the tire valves you would see on off-road equipment or mining equipment," said Russell.
Russell said exporting has helped the corporation, and he encourages other businesses to get involved.
"I think a lot of smaller companies think it's difficult or they are scared or nervous, but there are so many resources," said Russell.
Fred Hochberg, chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., was also on hand to tell businesses about the financing plans it offers. About 85 to 95 percent of its customers are small businesses.
"We can also work with your local bank to get you working capital loans," said Hochberg. "You can buy the inventory and finance the receivables to your exporting."
The chairman also took note of what the Mahoning Valley has to offer, as did U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Francisco Sanchez.
"Ohio's got a better employment record than most of the states right now," said Hochberg. "Part of that is because this is a great export state. Ohio is growing faster than the country in terms of as a whole."
Brown said Washington is keeping its eye on the business success stories in the Buckeye State.
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