Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

PCC’s Global Trade Center celebrates half decade of building resilient global businesses in Oregon

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Portland Community College launched the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network (OSBDCN) Global Trade Center in 2017 to provide international trade services and advising for small businesses in Oregon.

This year marks the center’s five-year anniversary, a milestone that highlights the team’s dedication and successful collaboration with valued partners across the state. As the only Global Trade Center in Oregon specialized in international trade, the Global Trade Center also serves as a statewide resource.

Combining one-on-one no cost trade advising with programs taught by business experts, the Global Trade Center provides clients the resources they need to expand into global markets. With 75% of consumers residing outside of the United States, the center focuses on helping Oregon businesses reach new customers by growing and diversifying their portfolios. They teach clients the importance of global trade not only for growth, but for resiliency.

Tammy Marquez-Oldham.

Tammy Marquez-Oldham.

“Growing into global markets diversifies the revenue for small businesses, helping them be more resilient, especially during economic crises,” said Tammy Marquez-Oldham, who is the co-founder and director of the trade center. “Business resiliency is a mind-set and isn’t something you build one time, but we help clients build it into their companies’ strategy and culture, so when the next economic crisis occurs they are ready for it.”

Marquez-Oldham said business resiliency is about having the ability to innovate, adapt, and move through economic crisis and disruption. The COVID-19 global pandemic created crisis and disruptions, motivating more businesses to look at global trade as a strategy for their company. Partnering with Oregon’s 19 Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), the Global Trade Center is able to broaden the reach of the small businesses they serve in their local communities. 

Businesses can simply visit their local SBDCs to begin an assessment process. Their advisors will refer businesses who are ready to begin exporting, importing, or expanding to new international markets to the trade center. This is where they will be supported by Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) credentialed trade advisors with one-on-one no cost assessment, planning, referral to advanced resources and training.

“Our experienced advisors are here to demystify the process and help these businesses find and realize new opportunities abroad,” said David Kohl, co-founder of the center and a global trade liaison. “And because of our dedicated partners who bring complimentary support – from trade finance solutions to on-the-ground support in foreign countries – we are truly able to broaden our impact to serve Oregon’s business community.”

Beyond partnering with the 19 SBDCs across the state, the Global Trade Center was founded in partnership with US Commercial Service, Business Oregon, Small Business Administration (SBA), EXIM Bank. The Oregon state trade partners and the OSBDCN Global Trade Center work together in a spirit of collaboration to represent the international trade ecosystem, each playing a vital role to support businesses either enter into the global marketplace or expand. 

“The Global Trade Center is such an important component to assisting the many small Oregon businesses that every year seek to expand their business horizons and grow their companies through the development of international business,” said Allan Christian, senior international trade specialist for U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), Portland, OR. “They successfully partner with our USCS office in Portland and other international trade professionals to deliver the comprehensive training and programs that help Oregon small businesses achieve success.” 

Maintaining a center that supports small businesses during a global pandemic is no small feat. The Global Trade Center pivoted to offer their classes and advising online, providing the same level of support to businesses in the virtual environment.

Business owners will have the opportunity to engage in two upcoming training programs at the Global Trade Center. The Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) Exam Prep Program will be offered from Feb. 23-25 to help individuals prepare for the upcoming CGBP credential exams. 

Another program called “Buying and Selling Outside the US” will provide business owners or managers an overview of all aspects of international trade and will begin on April 5.

“In five years we’ve collaborated to serve 369 businesses, and given the recovery and resilience focus of small businesses today, we look forward to supporting many more in their journey over the next five years,” said Marquez-Oldham.