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Global Cities Initiative Releases Kansas City Export Market Assessment

It’s time for metro-area companies to start thinking about business opportunities outside of their own zip code, Greater Kansas City Chamber President Jim Heeter said Wednesday, announcing the release of an export market assessment for the region.

The Global Cities Initiative has spent the last six months studying opportunities for Kansas City businesses to expand abroad.

“When Kansas City companies sell Kansas City goods and services internationally, they’re bringing new dollars into our economy, and they’re creating new jobs in our communities,” said Heeter.

Paul Weida of Black & Veatch says the Global Cities Initiative is based on two facts: 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, and 85 percent of future growth is expected elsewhere.

He says major metropolitan areas such as Kansas City need to look farther afield to expand.

“The key point of that is making their economies stronger and more financially resilient,” Weida said.

The market assessment found small and mid-size enterprises are “ripe for export expansion,” and the regional transportation and logistic network made Kansas City companies well-positioned for growth.

Anthony Hancox of Garmin reminded the audience that the well-known GPS manufacturer was a small company just two decades ago.

Too often, he says businesses are only expanding overseas because they wait for a customer to approach them.

“So it tells me that companies aren’t being as proactive as maybe they could be,” Hancox said.

The market assessment echoed Hancox comments: it concluded few Kansas City companies are chasing these international opportunities, despite opportunities to do so through partnerships with local economic development groups.

Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

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