Utah Global Forum sees 7 billion potential customers

Wednesday , September 24, 2014 - 4:08 PM

Standard-Examiner staff

SALT LAKE CITY — Speakers pace across the stage explaining the points of branding, specific foreign markets and the overall importance of taking local business overseas.

The speakers were part of the Utah Global Forum on Wednesday in the Grand Ballroom of the Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s office invited local business representatives to attend the event to learn about the process of taking their business international. The event was organized by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, World Trade Center Utah and the Salt Lake Chamber.

“It’s time to let ourselves be known,” Herbert said during his address. “We’ve been kind of an unknown commodity here in Utah.”

Travis Call, with the Utah Trade Association of Utah, worked a booth at the event. The nonprofit organization has helped companies and individuals visit foreign countries for the past 50 years.

“I think it will have a great impact,” Call said. “If you don’t have a global mindset, then you stay inside the box.”

He is glad to see the effort the state is making in developing the forum. It is a step to increase the governor’s efforts to increase global exporting.

“More events focused on the global mindset will have a greater impact,” Call said. “Having a Utah Global Forum is key to that.”

State officials said companies that stay within Utah’s borders are missing out on a pool of about 7 billion potential customers available in the rest of the world — 95 percent of the world’s customers are outside of the United States.

In the past, Utah’s exports have been composed mostly of minerals and ore from the mines, in addition to a few companies such as Campbell Scientific and ATK, who also doing business overseas.

The forum is a part of an effort to by the governor’s office to rectify the dearth in international business in hopes of creating a more diverse and robust Utah economy, as well as helping companies increase their revenue streams in overseas markets.

The governor’s office described the event as having an interactive and cutting-edge event with a rapid-fire presentation format.

Representatives from the Major League soccer team Real Salt Lake began the event with a presentation on the importance of developing cross-cultural ties, common goals and awareness in developing business relationships.

International business expert and GlobeTrade founder Laurel Delaney served as the event’s main speaker. She has written multiple books on business exporting.

Delaney said there is a lot of room for additional growth in exporting. Only 1 percent of U.S. businesses export.

“What those business owners are telling us is that there is a whole lot of room for growth,” Delaney said.

To enter the global market, Delaney recommended that businesses need to develop a global mindset.

Companies need to have emotional intelligence, adaptability and be open to engagement with the world.

She was followed by a succession of speakers such as Campbell Scientific President Paul Campbell, who explained how he expanded his business in China, as well as a panel of business leaders who shared the challenges and successes of doing business overseas.

Aside from their presentations, the speakers were available for one-on-one conversations with attendees.

In addition to the speakers, forum attendees could peruse numerous booths of companies and organizations looking to ease or support expansion into international markets or have done business themselves overseas.

Members of the Utah Trade Association took the opportunity of the forum to name Fred Lampropoulos, president and CEO of Merit Medical Systems Inc. as the 2014 International Person of the Year.

The association also named BioFire Diagnostics as the 2014 International Company of the Year. The company provides film array systems to hospitals and clinics.

ATK also had a booth at the event.

“We want to support Utah as a terrific place to do business,” said Senior Communications Manager Bryan Warren.

Warren said ATK has experience doing business with international companies. It is currently working on projects for the French company Airbus.

“We’re constantly pursuing incremental international business,” Warren said. “I think Utah Global Forum is a great way to highlight the state of Utah. I would hope this is a continuing effort and I hope it proves successful to the state."

While the event explained how to hit markets around the world, it had a focus Mexico, China, the Europe Union and the Middle East. GOED officials said these are the geographical areas with a high potential for export success.

Nathan Reagan, Country Manager for the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, attended the event to meet companies interested in doing business with the Middle Eastern country.

“I think there is a lot of potential there and that is why we’re here,” Reagan said. “We’re very focused on meeting companies that are ready to do something.”

And that was the purpose of the Utah Global Forum. To facilitate the dialogue on how businesses can expand beyond local borders and develop a strategy of expansion into the global marketplace.

Contact Jesus Lopez Jr. at 801-625-4239 or jlopez@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @jesuslopezSE and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/JesusLopezSE.

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