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CompTIA representatives figured prominently today at a USTR event, discussing how small businesses such as theirs use exports to grow business even during these tough economic times.

Co-organized by CompTIA, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Coalition of Service Industries, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the USTR event was designed to illustrate how U.S. small businesses can succeed in the global economy through exports of their products and services. Speakers at the event included U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk, and SBA Administrator Karen Mills, among other government officials and SMB representatives.

CompTIA members Lester Keizer and Charlie Anderson gave panel presentations on the success they have found overseas. Lester Keizer is partner and Executive Vice President of Marketing for XiloCore, in Las Vegas, NV. His business sells a “cloud-based” disaster recovery solution to several foreign entities. Charlie Anderson, too, exports overseas, working through his Distributed Data Services, Inc. of Winter Park, FL., to provide credit card-related services for banks in the Caribbean and Central America. Both small IT businesses derive significant, and growing, portions of their revenue from exports.

“There’s a perception that small companies can’t play in the ‘complex’ field of international trade,” stated Bob Kramer, Vice President of Public Policy for CompTIA. “These companies prove that’s bunk. As with any business, hurdles exist. Instead of going across town to make a sale, it’s overseas. But these companies have the business savvy to overcome these barriers, using innovative products and services to create new markets offshore, even in times of economic turmoil.”

Also featured at the packed event was CompTIA’s Tim Herbert, Vice President of Research. New research conducted by CompTIA reveals that, on average, 13% of annual revenues at small and mediums-size information technology firms is generated from international markets. Furthermore, 43% of exporting IT SMBs indicate international sales are growing significantly faster than domestic sales. The data suggests many factors have contributed to this positive trend, including better channel/distribution options, demand from fast growing economies such as the BRIC countries, and the appeal of U.S. tech firms’ innovation/new product introductions.

“Clearly, small tech companies see access to foreign markets as a viable way to develop their business,” noted Herbert. “With policy barriers coming down, and as technology improves ‘physical’ access to markets, the survey indicates that an export-based business model holds immense promise for a growing number of SMBs.”

While many positives exist among SMBs selling internationally, a number of challenges have, and do, inhibit firms from fully capitalizing on export opportunities.

For tech companies, challenges often revolve around channel/partner issues, business and legal costs, concerns over IP protections, and financing or cash flow issues that limit their ability to penetrate new markets. With the trend toward Internet-based delivery of products and services (i.e., “cloud computing” and software-as-a-service), IT executives also voiced concern over foreign governments regulating exporting companies differently than local ones.

About CompTIA

CompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through its educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications, and public policy advocacy. For more information, please visit www.comptia.org.

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