Illinois State University’s Export Project is able to help more Illinois-based businesses expand into overseas markets thanks to a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  The funding supports the Export Project’s work with the agriculture equipment and technology firms Dickey-John and Brandt Consolidated, and the paint manufacturer Rust-Oleum Corporation.

Since 2006, Export Project faculty and student teams have traveled to New Zealand, Germany, Argentina, Poland, China, and India to help companies explore international market opportunities.  Plans are currently underway to send teams working with Dickey-John, Brandt Consolidated and Rust-Oleum to Romania, Brazil and South Africa during the summer of 2010.

Export Project team members include faculty and students from Illinois State’s College of Business and College of Applied Science and Technology. Throughout the year, the teams work with medium-sized companies to identify, evaluate, and actively develop international business opportunities and prepare export plans. The teams act as consultants and prepare targeted marketing studies for specific countries. During the summer months, Export Project teams travel overseas to selected countries to evaluate potential export market opportunities. In addition to helping businesses grow, the multidisciplinary project gives Illinois State students a unique opportunity to gain international business and marketing experience.

Members of the Export Team are:

  • Iris Varner, Director of the International Business Institute,
  • Mark Hoelscher, Associate Professor in Management and Quantitative Methods;
  • Klaus Schmidt, Associate Professor in technology,
  • Aslihan Spaulding, Associate Professor in Agriculture.

In 2007, the Export Project received a two-year, $165,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  That funding was used to expand partnerships with small and medium-sized agriculturally-focused businesses, enhance the University’s international business curriculum, and provide faculty development opportunities.