Written by Arkansas Real Estate
This week we had the opportunity to catch up with Dan Hendrix, President/CEO of the World Trade Center in Rogers. Dan has been a remarkable asset to our community, and the World Trade Center continues to bring growth and trade opportunities to Northwest Arkansas.
The Trade Center is responsible for bringing the trade missions and diplomats to NWA as we introduce these decision makers to our own high level decision makers with the intent of exploring and expanding trade activities, cultural and business exchanges and commercial diplomacy. Our mission is to assist Arkansas companies and Agricultural producers to expand globally and to educate students in global commerce through our internship program which includes students from all Arkansas universities.
What impact has the World Trade Center had on the NWA economy?
Since establishing the World Trade Center Arkansas in 2007 we have hosted over 40 foreign diplomats, Consul Generals, Trade Ministers and Country Presidents. Additionally we have received many foreign trade missions interested in purchasing Arkansas products. The opportunity to facilitate the visits of these distinguished guests has exposed NWA to these high level decision makers who are responsible for increasing trade between Arkansas and their countries. Of course they spend money in the local economy when they are here and the visits have generated foreign offices being located in NWA.
What international markets are you trying to reach out to?
We have trade directors for Asia and Latin America and these regions of the globe have been our focus but we are willing to assist companies in any global region.
What are some recent successes the World Trade Center has had locally?
Through our trade missions we have taken many Arkansas companies to several foreign countries to attend meetings with prospective distributors and buyers and attend trade shows. For example; nine Arkansas companies attended the Expocomer Trade show in Panama City Panama in March which resulted export sales being generated by several of the companies. We are currently assisting an Arkansas company with a water solution pilot project in Panama. We have assisted several Arkansas companies to sell product in Asia and several other Latin American countries. We are the match makers for these companies.
We are the designated trade organization for the State of Arkansas through the Arkansas Economic Development Commission; because of that relationship we are the recipients of a STEP grant (State Trade Export Promotion) administed by the SBA. These funds are used to assist companies to attend trade missions and trade shows through reimbursing for travel, booth expense and Gold Key service through the Department of Commerce. Over 25 Arkansas companies have participated in these funds as part of President Obama's National Export Initiative.