Business  |  Export Assistance

Export Assistance

Export Assistance

More than 95 percent of the world’s population and two-thirds of the global purchasing power lies outside America’s borders, yet less than 1 percent of the 30 million businesses in the U.S. export. Small and medium-sized companies account for almost 97 percent of U.S. exporters, but still represent only about 20 percent of the total export value of U.S. goods.

Exporting enables companies to diversify their portfolios and to weather changes in the domestic economy. Moreover, for every $1 billion the U.S. exports, 5,279 jobs are created or supported in the manufacturing sector. (Source: U.S. Commercial Service)

Ohio is the ninth-largest exporting state in the U.S., consistently ranking as one of the top 10 exporting states in the nation. Ohio merchandise exports were valued at $50.1 billion in 2017, an increase of 1.6 percent from 2016, with machinery, vehicles, aircrafts, electrical machinery, plastics and oil seed as the top export industries. View the Ohio Exports Report.

Help to Start or Increase Exporting

The Ohio International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) Program

IMAGE is a 50 percent reimbursement program designed to offset Ohio small businesses' costs associated with international marketing initiatives including trade shows and missions, marketing material and website translation, and export education programs. Activities must be approved in advance. Learn more

The Branded Program

Offered by the Food Export Association of the Midwest, the Branded Program is a 50 percent reimbursement program designed to assist in the exportation of food and agricultural products produced in the Midwest. Reimbursable costs include eligible marketing and promotional activities. Activities must be approved in advance. Learn more

Ohio companies can receive free, confidential counseling from international trade specialists that are located throughout Ohio. International trade specialists assist small and medium-sized businesses with topics such as international business planning, market research, export documentation, local product requirements and logistics. Learn more

The Ohio Development Services Agency works with representatives internationally to provide opportunities for Ohio businesses to increase export sales and create jobs through the International Market Support Program.

Many small businesses don’t have the local market expertise or relationships to expand their business in the international market. The in-market representatives assist with providing detailed market research and matchmaking with potential customers.

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Developing relationships is a key component of growing international business. By participating in trade missions, attending trade shows, making in-country visits and participating in buyers missions close to home, businesses have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the market and establish rewarding relationships. Learn more

Having access to capital and insuring your receivables are important aspects for small and medium-sized businesses as they expand into new global markets. The U.S. Small Business Administration and Export Import Bank of the U.S. offer loans, lines of credit, foreign buyer financing and export credit insurance to support your international sales growth. Learn more

Finding the time to focus on developing a new market is a challenge for many small businesses. The Ohio Export Internship Program is designed to help businesses overcome this challenge by matching them with highly motivated students from Ohio universities and colleges. The students have taken export-focused coursework at Max M. Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University, the Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University or the School of Business Administration at University of Dayton. Learn more

U.S. Commercial Service

The U.S. Commercial Service has international offices in 80 countries around the world. For the complete list of their international offices, please click here. Their services include trade counseling, market intelligence research and reports, business matchmaking and commercial diplomacy.

The Gold Key Matching Service is also a great opportunity to get pre-screened appointments arranged before your business visits the international market. The U.S. Commercial Service can offer customized market and industry briefing, pre-screened appointment setting, post-meeting debriefing, as well as help with travel, accommodations and interpreter services. Gold Key Matching is offered to US companies as a reduced-cost rate. 

The U.S. Commercial Service also offers an International Partner Search (IPS) service. IPS provides a report on up to five qualified potential overseas representatives who have examined a U.S. company's materials and have expressed an interest in the company's products or services.

Food Export-Midwest Market Builder Service

The Food Export Association of the Midwest USA is a private/nonprofit group that helps and promotes the export of food and agricultural products from the Midwestern region of the United States. The Market Builder Service provides a company with primary research on a specific product in a specific target market.  A custom and comprehensive report includes store checks, pricing, competitor review, import analysis and market overview conducted by Food Export-Midwest’s local in-market representative. is a free online trade platform that can help new or experienced exporters increase sales, lower costs, reduce risk and build trade expertise.



Additional Opportunities by Industry

The Ohio Aerospace Institute offers a variety of opportunities for Ohio businesses in the Aerospace industry. OAI works to enhance partners' aerospace competitiveness through research and technology development, workforce preparedness and engagement with global networks for innovation and advocacy.  

The Food Export Association of the Midwest has programs and services to help food producing and processing companies export. From education to trade shows to market research, this resource may be what a business needs to break into a new market.

The American Hardwood Export Council is an international trade association for the US hardwood industry. AHEC has offices located internationally in strategic hardwood markets.

U. S. Livestock Genetics Export, Inc. matches international producers with companies in the United States that offer genetics with superior credentials.  USLGE represents the international marketing interests of the dairy, beef, sheep, swine and horse breeding industries. 

U.S. Soybean Export Council represents soybean producers, commodity shippers, merchandisers, allied agribusinesses and agricultural organizations. USSEC has a strong global network of international offices and support in the U.S., they help build a preference for U.S. soybeans and soybean products, advocate for the use of soy in feed, aquaculture and human consumption, promote the benefits of soy use through education and connect industry leaders through a robust membership program.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulates US companies for exporting alcohol and tobacco products. With tutorials and online training available, the TTB can help exporters navigate through the process and identify assistance where necessary.