International Trade Center

Big reach for your small business.

Cargo Ship

Illinois is the largest exporting state in the Midwest and the 5th largest exporting state in the U.S. In 2017, Illinois exports totaled over $65.19 billion; the majority of them came from small businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

The International Trade Center of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC provides in-depth personalized assistance in all aspects of international trade at no cost to your company. We work with companies that are considering exporting, new exporters finding challenges working through the export process, and seasoned exporters increasing their international market presence.

  • Export readiness assessment
  • International business planning: product preparation, market analysis, logistics, documentation, financial analysis, compliance and legal considerations.
  • International market intelligence: identify potential export markets, assess targeted markets, find foreign buyers and distributors in the selected markets.
  • Global supply chain management
  • Export funding resources
  • International payment methods
  • Export compliance
  • Assistance with foreign customs
  • International B2B/B2C e-commerce
  • Export seminars, forums, workshops and in-house training
  • Opportunities to attend foreign trade missions & international trade shows

To address other specific exporting needs, we work in partnership with agencies like U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Commercial Service, Export-Import Bank, and Illinois Office of Trade and Investment, among others.

*Assistance is also available in Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

Why export?
  • Exporting is a great way to increase sales and competitiveness, sustain and create new jobs, and utilize full capacity of manufacturing facilities.
  • In 2010, small businesses accounted for 34 percent of the overall value of U.S. exports.
  • U.S. goods & services are the gold standard of innovation, quality and safety abroad.
  • Foreign demand is growing. Reduce dependence on domestic markets & stabilize season markets and sales fluctuations.
  • 95 percent of potential customers live outside the U.S.
  • Most foreign markets are growing 4-10 percent each year.
  • President’s Export Initiative – take advantage of the government resources available to help you become a successful exporter – from finding compatible markets to financing your exporting programs.
10 Best Practices of Exporting

1 – Management commitment to the challenges and rewards of selling and shipping globally.

2 – Define your export market in terms of what is to be bought, precisely by whom, and why.

3 – Concentrate all available resources on two or three products or objectives within a given time period.

4 – Obtain the best information through your own industry.

5 – Write down your business plan and work from it.

6 – Walk on two legs. Pick a good freight forwarder to walk alongside your international banker.

7 – Translate your literature into the language of each country in which you will do business.

8 – Use the free services of the International Trade Center at your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

9 – Limit the effects of your inevitable mistakes by starting slowly.

10 – Communicate frequently and well with your international contacts, and visit the overseas markets.