The United States Department of State will hold it’s ninth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kansas City in mid-March and there are a few remaining open spots for entrepreneurs from America’s heartland. U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon and Secretary of State – and Kansas’ own – Mike Pompeo will give keynote addresses. Learn about opportunities for your American small business to connect with international partners, you don’t have to be on the coasts to capitalize on the global economy.

Take a look below for more information on that event or the June meeting in the Netherlands!

MARCH MEETING: The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), now in it’s 9th iteration, will be in the Netherlands in June and the “Road to GES” will be in Overland Park, Kansas March 18-19.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon will deliver keynote addresses at this event, which will celebrate the entrepreneurs and innovations of America’s heartland.  2.19.19 Notional Agenda.

Anyone interested in attending the March meeting in Overland Park Kansas should send an e-mail to to receive an invitation to attend.

JUNE MEETING:  The GES Summit will take place in June in The Hague, the Netherlands, June 3-5, 2019.  .  The State Department is encouraging investment-ready entrepreneurs to apply at  Participants don’t have to have raised significant funding already, but the idea is that they should have advanced beyond the idea stage, be ready to scale, and be operating in one of the  five focus sectors (Health, Ag/Food, Energy, Water, or Connectivity/Tech).   Apply to join by March 1 at  At GES 2019, the State Department expects 2,000 participants, including 1,200 entrepreneurs, 400 investors, and 400 policy makers from over 120 countries.  The State Department expects business, government, and non-government leaders will bring billions of dollars of investment funding to the table in hopes of finding investment-ready entrepreneurs.

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce announces the Oklahoma STEP Forward Enhancement Fund, part of the State Trade Expansion Program, an export promotion initiative that makes matching-fund grants for states to assist small businesses. This grant is funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“The intent of this program is to increase the number of small businesses that are exporting, and to increase the value of exports for those small businesses that are currently exporting,” said Jennifer Springer, Director of Global Recruitment and Trade Services, at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.


Download the STEP Fund Flyer here.

Funding for this year will help eligible companies to offset the cost to participate at designated international trade shows and allow them to promote their Oklahoma-made products on a global scale.  In addition, other services such as website translations and marketing design; compliance testing; and shipping of sample products into international markets can be used toward the grant as well.

“The STEP grant, in partnership between the U.S. and Oklahoma Department of Commerce, is an incredible opportunity for Oklahoma exporters to receive marketing assistance to promote their products or services worldwide,” said Chuck Mills, President of Mills Machine and previous STEP grant recipient. “The program enabled us to translate our website into another language which made it easier for our customers to understand our product line!”

To be considered for the Oklahoma STEP Fund, all applicants are required to submit an application and supporting documentation. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce will begin taking applications from Oklahoma small businesses starting November 1, 2016.

A full application, guidelines and requirements can be found online at For more information, contact the Global Recruitment and Trade Division at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce at (800) 879-6552, or 405-815-5136 or

The country’s premier export promotion magazine is out in digital format for May 2016. Export USA offers Oklahoma exporters an affordable way to promote their products and services to 178 countries around the globe.

Read the May-June 2016 edition here.

It’s not just a good read though, as Export USA has connections that Oklahoma exporters need to market their quality products to a wide range of audiences. Rates for inclusion to the magazine’s USA Product Showcase begin at $299.

Learn more by calling 1-800-581-8533 or sign-up at

If you have a great product but don’t have the budget for an in-house marketing team, Export USA partner agency ThinkGlobal helps with the development of professional content for your website, mobile devices and print marketing.

Call 1-800-581-8533 or email for more information.

Shared via our resident New Jersey connection, OKGIT member George Lee of Red Devil Inc., these trade events and opportunities will be  hosted via our partners at the U.S. Commercial Service’s Northern New Jersey office in the coming month. Many of these are webinars, so no need to fly out to the Garden State!

Manufacturers and exporters in the Sooner State are set to benefit from the recent passage of the $1.1 trillion omnibus budget agreement passed on Dec. 18, 2015. As noted in an editorial in the Tulsa World, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will receive a $1.2 billion budget increase, some of which may be used to upgrade the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, of which the Port of Catoosa is the terminal. Port of Catoosa

As the piece notes, “Over the years, a $150 million public investment at the port has been leveraged to attract more than $1 billion in private investment. Along the waterway, in Oklahoma alone, more than $5 billion in private money has been invested. Employment tops 8,000.”

To read the full editorial, please visit the Tulsa World.


Port of CatoosaRobert Portiss, director of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority, was recently named a White House Transportation Champion of Change at a ceremony in Washington D.C. for his work in forging a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Arkansas-Oklahoma Port Operators Association.

An editorial in the Oct. 13 Tulsa World described Portiss’ work on Oklahoma’s largest seaport, saying “Portiss has been the driving force and head cheerleader for the Port of Catoosa almost since it opened.”

Located just outside Catoosa, Oklahoma, the Port of Catoosa is the head of navigation of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. The port itself is home to Foreign Trade Zone 53, where foreign goods and domestic products are considered outside of the U.S. Customs official territory, making goods inside the FTZ international commerce.

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa has an economic impact of $300 million on Oklahoma, with nearly 5.7 million tons of freight traveling the Oklahoma portions of the waterway in 2012 alone. Customers send and receive more than 2.2 million tons of cargo each year by barge, rail and truck. With more than 60 companies employing more than 4,000 Oklahomans, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is one of the premier economic engines of Oklahoma. Costing $1.3 billion to complete in 1971, it was the most expensive civil works project ever undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Eningeers. To date, more than $1.5 billion has been invested at the port by private industry, supporting jobs across the northeast parts of Oklahoma.

Top photo: “Aerial photo of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa taken May 5, 2008” by Bsbanks – Aerial photograph with the assistance of John Shoemaker.

Another great opportunity to learn about the second largest economy in the world and a major player on the global stage as Tulsa, Oklahoma plays host to a “China Town Hall: Local Connections, National Reflections” on Mon., October 5, 2015 at the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Learning Center.

Hosted by the National Committee on United States-China Relations, Confucius Institute at the University of Oklahoma, the East Asia Institute at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma Tulsa, the evening will feature a panel discussion on the findings of the recent report by the National Committee and Rhodium Group concerning the increase in Chinese FDI in the U.S.

Former Clinton Administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Thomasville, Alabama Mayor Sheldon Day, Daniel Rose of the Rhodium Group will participate in the panel discussion, while Weiping Wu, Ph.D. and Chair of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University will give the keynote address.

The topic of China’s increasing interest in FDI in the U.S. is not new, but its focus on markets in the central U.S. like Texas and Oklahoma has grown in recent years, as examined in this June 2015 Washington Post ‘Wonk Blog’ piece.

RSVP for the China Town Hall event is required and more information can be found by contacting Rex Burnett at

2015 China townhallflyer


Great news coming from the Journal Record, as MidAmerica Industrial Park launches plans for a $50 million expansion of facilities in Pryor, Okla.

According to a Journal Record report by Kirby Lee Davis, the park’s remaining 4,000 acres of unused land could be put into development by 2020. The industrial park will also host the future MidAmerica Career Center, a workforce development project.

Established in 1960, MidAmerica Industrial Park lies just 40 miles from Tulsa, Okla. and within quick transit distance of Interstate 35, Interstate 40 and Interstate 44, allowing next day delivery to 23 percent of the United States population. Rail, waterway and air transit corridors are also nearby, and MidAmerica’s shovel ready sites are perfect for large and small scale businesses looking to put people to work.

For international companies, both importers and exporters, MidAmerica offers a unique incentive as Foreign-Trade Zone 53 offers reductions, deferments or eliminations of duties.

MidAmerica is also home to Red Devil Inc. whose Vice President George Lee, is a leading member of the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team. Red Devil manufactures a broad and diversified line of hand tools and chemical products for professional and home maintenance and improvement – more than 400 different products in all. In addition to producing caulks, sealants and tools under its own brand name, the company also manufactures private label products for some of the nation’s largest hardware and home center chains.

To learn more about MidAmerica’s expansion plans, please read the entire Journal Record article here.