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Orange County is expected to export nearly $25 billion in 2014, led by $7 billion from the tech sector alone. So how does a new company enter the complicated global market while at the same time facing all of the other challenges of starting a business? Enovant Foundation, the Community Vitalization Council and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have teamed up in support the launch of the International Business Accelerator (IBA). The IBA is the first program of its kind program in the US to combine the techniques of early-stage business acceleration with the tools to develop global markets. The three organizations signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum on August 29 in Irvine to launch the initiative.
In its current pilot phase, IBA is working with two start ups. The IBA plans to enter full operations in early 2015 and looks to replicate its program at other locations across the US. International business is frequently thought of as a second step in the launch process, but research has shown that a successful launch requires that international business be thoroughly integrated into business processes from the beginning.
The IBA is a joint venture of Enovant (Foundation for Everyday Innovation) and the Community Vitalization Council (CiViC 180), and supported by K5Launch, a Southern California accelerator. The IBA will work with companies to identify appropriate international markets, find distributors or customers and to access financing to support the launch and international shipments.
SBA is an independent agency of the federal government whose mission is to help Americans start, build, and grow businesses. Among the agency’s programs are several aimed at providing assistance to exporting small businesses. “The IBA is an exciting concept and one that fits well with the export-oriented economy in Southern California,” remarked J. Adalberto Quijada, Director of SBA’s Santa Ana District Office. “We view it as essential that every manufacturing and service company think in global terms.”
Amir Banifatemi, managing partner at K5 Ventures business accelerator (www.k5launch.com) and past President of the Tech Coast Angels (Orange County), notes that “We know that the process of business acceleration works. Working intensively over a period of months to prepare companies for launch has a high success rate and we have worked with more than 120 such start ups for which we have accelerated about 45 and we can note the difference in their performance and market readiness. What we have found is that companies that have the ability to go international need to think global from the initial phases of their product and service design, even if they first implement in the US.”
Christopher Lynch, President of CiViC 180 (www.civic180.org) and adjunct professor of International Business at Golden Gate University, adds “The entrepreneur needs to understand how international trade works and we teach them that. In today’s global marketplace, you can’t have a main company and an international appendage. We work with the start ups to integrate the global business approach into the DNA of the company.”
For further information on the IBA and its services, please visit www.iba.io