The recent Enterprise Florida-led export sales mission to San Jose, Costa Rica produced more than $23 million in total export sales for the 21 small and mid-sized businesses attending. The mission was held February 26 – March 1, 2018.
During the mission, more than 180 meetings were held between Florida businesses and their Costa Rican counterparts to jointly assess the local and, in some instances, Central America sales potential of their products and/or services.
The sales mission included an economic briefing from locally-based U.S. Government officials, providing the Florida delegation with valuable insights about how business is conducted in Costa Rica. Florida companies also had the opportunity to meet with U.S. commercial officers stationed in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Trade between the U.S. and Costa Rica totaled $10.2 billion in 2016, where Florida was the leading state in two-way trade. Costa Rica ranked as Florida’s 12th largest merchandise trading partner with nearly $3.6 billion in total trade and nearly $2.5 billion in exports alone in 2016.
“This event was extremely helpful for our company to introduce our products to this new market,” said Michael Rogers, president of e-Lifeguard.com in Rockledge. “The quality of leads was exceptional and the future potential prospects appear very promising for future sales to Costa Rica and Central America. This expansion will help us to grow our business in Florida and hire new workers to produce the goods needed for these new sales. We also appreciate the introduction to area professionals in our market industry to help us learn about it locally.”
Kelly Wood, president of Nu-Trend Plastics in Jacksonville, attended the mission as well. The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network connected the company to Enterprise Florida. “Nu-Trend Plastics is just entering into the export business,” Wood said. “The guidance and knowledge we have received from Enterprise Florida has been phenomenal! We are a small business and could not have been able to gain this exposure without the assistance of the grant. We were well prepared before leaving and the support received during the mission trip was outstanding. Before arriving we had ten appointments set. All clients we met with want to continue conversations and sent samples for Nu-Trend to quote. Thank you!”
“The experience of our first trade mission to Costa Rica has opened our eyes to both the demand for our products and services outside the U.S., as well as the strength of the collaboration between the US Trade offices and Enterprise Florida,” said Helda Rodriguez, president of Oldsmar-based NovaCharge LLC. “As Gold Key participants, both the customer and partner leads provided to us, and the meetings set up on our behalf during the event, far exceeded our expectations. This potential for future business has already caused us to assess the staff we will require and the added services spending we will need to begin a successful export business. While we have yet to determine our final plans, we expect to add sales staff and operational staff to address our expanded reach outside of Florida, as we grow to address the opportunities in Costa Rica and other potential markets.”
EFI maintains an extensive schedule of overseas trade missions and exhibitions worldwide. In Fiscal Year 2016-17, more than 500 small and mid-sized Florida businesses reported $738 million in total export sales following international events.
Companies that attended the Costa Rica mission: