Mississippi businesses are finding opportunities abroad as part of the Mississippi Development Authority’s trade missions.
For the next trip — March 26-30 — at least 15 Mississippi companies are heading to Dubai and Jordan. It marks MDA’s first foray into both regions.
Citing Dubai’s expansive and continual growth, MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough Jr. said the region was ripe with opportunity for partnership with Mississippi companies.
“Dubai has more cranes than any other city on planet earth,” McCullough, quoting a report from The Wall Street Journal. “Dubai is growing very rapidly despite relatively modest prices of crude oil.”
Chris Carter with Wood Industries said he was excited to discover the possibilities of doing business with economic leaders in Dubai and Jordan.
Wood Industries, based out of Belmont, manufactures air compressors.
“When the opportunity came up, we said, ‘this is great, let’s go try to sell our products over there,'” Carter said. “We feel we have products that will match up to that country.”
Currently, Wood Industries sells its products in Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States.
Carter said he’s been on dozens of trips through MDA in the past six years and has established invaluable business and personal connections.
“Once you develop that relationship, business, it happens. It just happens,” he said. “Do I expect to build that relationship in Dubai? I would love to.”
He added, “This is going to be exciting, it’s going to be educational, and I hope to learn a lot about the needs of these countries and then develop these relationships so we can start shipping products over to them.”
McCullough said, before each travel mission, MDA specifically identifies businesses that have the available capital and are interested in doing business with based companies.
Aimee Murry, public relations and marketing communications manager for Bio Soil Enhancers out of Hattiesburg, said each of the travel missions are tailored to meet needs specific to varying Mississippi businesses.
“When you land on the ground, you are working and you know exactly what you’re going to do the entire time,” Murry said. “They are very impressive.”
Bio Soil Enhancers manufactures microbial products for agriculture to improve crop production and reduce fertilizer needs.
Murry travels nationally and internationally with Bio Soil Enhancers. While she is not going to Dubai, she recently returned from a November MDA mission trip to Israel and will be traveling to India in May. Murry said she has yet to work with a development authority as dedicated as MDA.
“I have not found a stronger development authority than what we have here in Mississippi,” she said. “The team at MDA works with Mississippi companies to develop business internally, and they do an amazing job. I’m a fan.”
In 2016, over 100 Mississippi companies, large and small, went on trade missions hosted by MDA.
McCullough said the small businesses alone saw $6 million immediate sales with another $56 million in projected sales over the trade missions conducted in 2016.
MDA has 10 international trade missions planned for 2017.
McCullough believes Mississippi is becoming world renowned for its workforce and its production of quality products.
“We don’t just make things, we perfect things in Mississippi which creates demand in the global arena,” he said. “We no longer live just in a North American economy, we’re in global economy. Mississippi is not only competing, Mississippi is winning.”
For its work in international trade, MDA’s international trade office was awarded the Presidential Award for Export Services.
“That’s a point of pride that we at MDA are really proud of; it’s a credit to Mississippi companies,” McCullough said. “That’s how you change perceptions around the world.”
McCullough said he is looking forward to the upcoming trip to Dubai and Jordan.
“I’m very optimistic that buyers in Dubai will welcome Mississippi businesses, small and large, with open arms, and we anticipate a very productive mission to Dubai,” he said.
Contact Sarah Fowler at 601-961-7303 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.