Commercial Service Spotlight –Going Global Strategically

December 23, 2015

At a glance:

  • Main takeaway: Are you a small business or startup with plans for global expansion, but not sure where to start? A powerful resource called the US Commercial Service is available to help you achieve international growth.
  • Impact on your business: The US Commercial Service and Oakland head Rod Hirsch offer resources to businesses in the Bay Area and beyond, seeking to expand their presence overseas.
  • Next steps: Contact Aprio’s International Tax Team to explore more information about how your small business may be able to expand globally. 

Schedule a consultation with Aprio today


The full story: 

Are you a small business or startup with plans for global expansion, but not sure where to start? Thankfully, a powerful resource is available to help you achieve international growth.

The US Commercial Service, a division of the Department of Commerce, offers resources to businesses seeking to expand their presence overseas. The service is essentially an innovative match maker, connecting businesses with Export Assist, which provides worldwide contacts, distribution channels and bankers to finance new activities abroad.

Meet the head of US commercial service Oakland

Rod Hirsch is the head of Oakland’s Commercial Service and is seen by many East Bay businesses as the “East Bay-to-International dot connector.” He has facilitated the global expansion of many local companies.

Helping R&B cellars secure a wine distributor

For example, Rod worked with the Port of Oakland to bring R&B Cellars to the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair, which led the company to secure a Chinese wine distributor.

At the fair, Rod arranged a California Pavilion, which garnered extra attention for the Richmond-based winery. In addition to the wine fair success, along with some help from FedEx, Rod created virtual wine tasting events for R&B Cellars.

What exactly is a virtual wine tasting?

In this case, R&B ships their wine to the consulate or embassy in a specific country (recently Thailand and Kuala Lumpur) and the wine is sampled by interested parties such as diplomats and hoteliers. During the tasting, representatives from R&B Cellars log into the video conference from their offices in the US to join the tasting and discuss the wine selections in real time, from across the globe.

Aprio helps you grow internationally

Aprio’s Tom Neff is very familiar with the assistance Rod and the Commercial Service provides. The two have collaborated on work for mutual clients, most recently with R&B Cellars.

Our accounting firm has a strong interest in supporting companies going international. We assist in the complex and sometimes intimidating world of international accounting through business structuring, financial counsel and navigation of international tax laws.

Are you ready to take advantage of all that Commercial Service has to offer?

The Commercial Service works with US companies with a minimum of 50% American content that are “export ready,” meaning that the business has been in operation for a minimum of two years and is able to provide a track record of domestic sales.

However, for the Bay Area’s highly innovative technological environment, startups emerging from stealth mode could also benefit from the assistance of the Commercial Service.

Rod acts as a “risk abator” with venture capital firms as well in order to protect their investments while growing his start up clients globally.

Growth requires a global strategy

Interested companies should have a global strategy in place in order to maintain the strongest position unless they want to be bought out. Many larger companies quickly buy out fledgling startups before they have a chance to gain competitive traction. A good portion of the companies Rod works with are small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Connecting with the US Commercial Service

You have several options for connecting with the US Commercial Service. In Oakland, the office is in the federal building at 1301 Clay Street.

Parties not based in Oakland can use the website to locate their local branch office. The Commercial Service website also offers a wealth of information for interested business owners, including webinars.

In addition, you can get face time with the Commercial Service at one of its many private sector events, such as the frequent Discover Global Markets events held around the US.

Schedule a consultation with Aprio today to learn more about growing your operations internationally.