Archive for the 'Global trade' Category



President and CEO Julie Smolyansky on “Following Your Gut”

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This past Wednesday September 12th, President and CEO of Lifeway Kefir, Julie Smolyansky lead a wegg® workshop about the importance of following your gut on business and personal endeavors. Her inspiring talk covered the journey of Lifeway beginning in her parent’s basement, in the mid-eighties, when they began making Kefir, a food inspired by their home country, the former Soviet Union.  It is now a $120 million publicly-traded company, thanks to Julie. She grew Lifeway to the size it is now, without a business degree, and became CEO at age 27, when her father suddenly passed away. Smolyansky shared the story of how one of her father’s friends reacted when he died and she was made CEO…

“[He said] ‘forget it, the company is done. Sell all of your stock tomorrow. There’s no way a 27 year old girl could run a company.’ This is done. Lifeway is over…I go into the office Monday morning…and everyone had sold their stock….It was devastating…[I] picked my head up and moved forward. Then, we had 70 people, today we have 320. We’ve grown our business from 12 million to 120 million…We continued to execute on the strategy we believed in, and continued to follow our gut, and worked really really hard….That man who said ‘she’s never gonna do it,’…I literally think about him every day. I say ‘thank you’, ‘thank you so much for underestimating me, for pissing me off, and making me angry…You gave me the fuel to move forward.”

Smolyansky went on to describe how being a young CEO became a strength for her. She followed her gut and made Lifeway one of the first businesses ever to have an active social media presence. She explained, “We were ahead of the game…Vogue called us ‘avant garde’ for being on social media.”

She also shared her beliefs on the importance of female entrepreneurship,

“If women were employed at the same rates as men, we know the global GDP would rise exponentially…That I think is really important. A rising tide raises all ships, and when women create jobs, an entire community is more safe and stable….Women are the key to saving the world…Entrepreneurship…can heal the world.”

Other inspiring takeaways from Smolyansky’s talk…

  • Keep moving ahead no matter what your challenges are in life.
  • Make a big impact:  it only takes one person one step at a time to change the world.
  • Follow your gut (we should all listen to our intuition on important matters in life).

Thank you to Julie, and her team, Justine and Maria, for making our on-the-ground wegg® workshop a success.  And thank you to Bank of America, Moji Eagan and Aneta Mazur, for hosting us.

If you were not able to make this wegg® workshop, we are having a wegginar® on Wednesday, October 3rd with Katie Kollhoff, CEO, NUMIX.  She’ll present on “Small Startup, Big Impact.”  Thanks to our sponsors, IBM, UPS, Bank of America and GlobalCare Clinical Trials, the program is no charge but you must register to attend, here.

Unlocking the Full Potential of Women- led SMEs in Indonesia

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In a recent East Asia Forum article, “Unleashing the capabilities of women-led SMEs in Indonesia,” author Naimah Talib reports that 43 percent of the 26 million small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Indonesia are women led or women owned (WSMEs). Not only do these WSMEs make up for ten percent of the country’s GDP, they also lead to social development of the culture by empowering women economically. Besides these major benefits, support of WSMEs aids Indonesia in achieving the UN’s “Sustainable Development Goals”, specifically the tenets of ‘gender equality,’ ‘decent work and economic growth’, and ‘reduced inequality’.

The advantages of backing WSMEs are clear, but why are there limitations on the growth of these organizations? This is the question that Talib proposes. She illustrates just some of the difficulties women who head businesses face. Talib explains,

” …common difficulties for expansion [for WSMEs] include limited access to information about financial support, lack of business and entrepreneurial skills, lack of professional networks and limited government support and services at the local level. Financial support is available for WSMEs, but female entrepreneurs tend to lack information about these options. Female entrepreneurs find that information about government funding programs is often limited, difficult to access or unclear.”

One of Talib’s main arguments suggest that Indonesian policymakers fail to effectively provide WSMEs with the necessary resources to solve these issues. Talib writes of the necessary reform,

“Three areas require greater attention: increasing the accessibility of information, strengthening the institutional capacity of the Creative Economy Agency and improving government services at the local level.”

To read more about the specific solutions posed to the pressing issue of the neglect of Indonesian WSMEs, read the article here.

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JOIN us for our morning wegg™ workshop on September 12th and hosted by Bank of America (135 S. LaSalle Street, 44th Floor).  Julie Smolyansky, President and CEO, Lifeway Foods, will present “Follow Your Gut,” covering:

  • How global factors influence company values and mission
  • Why we should empower women entrepreneurs around the world
  • How to channel inspiration from travel experiences into marketing initiatives

Tickets $40 ($20 for students); includes Continental Breakfast.  To learn more and to register, visit:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/weggtm-workshop-follow-your-gut-presented-by-julie-smolyansky-tickets-48655708534
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Women Entrepreneurs, the Global Market Needs You

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According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, In 2016, 97% of all exporters in the U.S. were small and medium-sized companies. The other statistic from this study that can’t be ignored is that only 12% of businesses that export are owned by women. Why are more women not accessing the vast world that is global business?

In Devishobha Chandramouli’s recent Entrepreneur article, “6 Global Trends Reveal How Women Are Redefining Entrepreneurship,” she reports the ways in which women entrepreneurs are critical to the global market. Within Chandramouli’s findings, WEGG founder, Laurel Delaney, reports on why women are often absent from business at a global level:

“Even in a developed economy, women business owners are less likely to explore and expand their products or services because they think they can’t do it, or that they don’t have access to the right training, education, advisory networks, mentorships and community programs. This perceived deficiency makes it difficult for women to access markets, conduct marketing and establish relationships.”

If women do not believe they are capable of global success, they will not achieve it. The secret is, that women are not only capable of global business, but are also exponentially beneficial to their communities when they have it. Chandramouli notes,

“As globalization is breaking down the barriers that limited businesses by cultures, gender and geography, many partnership and trade agreements have been developed in an attempt to encourage global economic activity among women. Women are known to give back about 90 percent of their earnings to the health and education of their communities and families, contributing to development directly, so it’s easy to see why it is critical.”

Women entrepreneurs, the global market needs you.

You can read Chandramouli’s article here, to learn more about how women have the ability to transform global business, for the better, from within.

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Why go global?  How do you start?  Where can you find customers?  How do you get paid?  Find out these answers and learn other best-kept secrets to expanding a business globally. 

JOIN us for our first weggchat™ (#weggchat) Wednesday, August 8 from 11:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. (noon) Central time on Take Your Business Global! and facilitated by Laurel Delaney, President of WEGG and founder of GlobeTrade.com.  Laurel will field questions and add insights on how to take a business global.  Small business owners can join the conversation by using the hashtag #weggchat to chime in with questions and answers.

Event is free of charge but you must use tchat.io or twubs.com to follow the conversation using the hashtag #weggchat.  See you there!
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Everyone Can Compete on the New Global Playing Field

Think your business is too small for globalization?  If so, change your attitude because according to Jeremy Melis, Director of Small Business Marketing at UPS, size doesn’t matter.

“The world’s electronic commerce system has transformed retailers into e-tailers, attracting and retaining consumers around the corner and around the globe. So, brands of various sizes and scope can now compete on the new global playing field, valued at $2.3 trillion and projected to almost double by 2021,” says Jeremy.

So what’s a small business to do in order to compete?

Start small, take baby steps, and as Jeremy highlights, “Other advancements and technologies are also making it easier for small businesses to launch, manage and dominate in the world of e-commerce. The key is to understand the many options available to drive business to the next level.”

See what those resource options are by clicking here.

A quick thank you to UPS for their support to WEGG.  We could not provide the incredible educational programming at WEGG without them.

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Note:  Did you just bag a customer in Argentina, Ireland or Korea? How do you structure the deal?  Don’t let lack of financing knowledge be the reason you lose the contract.

Join us for our next WEGGinar™ 6/6/18 on “Grow Globally By Offering Competitive Financing Solutions” and presented by Tamara Maxwell, Director, Minority and Women Owned Business & Multiplier Outreach Division, Office of Small Business, Export-Import Bank of the United States.  She will guide you on how to get paid.  Register here.

Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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The Challenges and Rewards to Taking a Business Global

There are many things to think about before you sell and market your products or services overseas — from finding customers, to sealing a business deal, to getting paid.  Yet, if you overcome the challenges to taking a business global, the rewards can be enormous.

What’s most important is to do your homework.  That makes everything you face so much easier and it also provides a level of confidence on what you know you should do next.

Learn more about how to expand your business internationally and overcome the challenges that come with it.

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Upcoming WEGGinar Feb 7Note: Don’t miss our next WEGGinar™ 2/7/18 on “Dare to Be Bold!  Here’s How” and presented by CamMI Pham, Partner, ThinkRenegade. Register here. Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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Women Entrepreneurs Are Crushing It

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, as of 2015, there are more than 9.4 million women-owned businesses in the United States, employing nearly 7.9 million people and contributing $1.4 trillion into the economy.  When it comes to starting and growing a business, women entrepreneurs are crushing it.

If there’s anything that defines women entrepreneurs, it’s their ability to figure out everything from how to write a business plan to launching an app to — yes — taking a business global.

When you are ready to launch and grow your business, keep these six tips in your back pocket from women who’ve done it before.

  1. Build a network early.
  2. Hire help early.
  3. Listen to advice, but make your own decisions.
  4. Go global early [not in the article but Laurel Delaney’s advice :-)]
  5. Go for it!
  6. Be confident.

Learn what women entrepreneurs have done to crush it.

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Note: Don’t miss our next WEGGinar™ 11/1/17 on “UPS Takes the Guesswork out of Global Shipping” and presented by Andrea Cervini, UPS Illinois, Small Business Marketing Manager (https://global.ups.com/how-to-ship-internationally/). Register here:
https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3272777010361474561.
Event is free of charge but you must register in advance to attend.
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How to Meet Global Demand and Diversify Trade

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How can we make trade safer, cheaper, simpler, and faster for American businesses?  Easy.  The newly minted Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is a game-changer for the way goods cross borders and move around the world.  What is the TFA?

TFA creates mechanisms that bring all 164 WTO member countries to a higher standard for how goods cross borders.

In simpler terms:  the TFA will minimize the hassle of doing business globally.  But that’s not it.  There are three key benefits to TFA that our sponsor, UPS, talks about in the Longitudes blog post below.

  1. Security: Trade facilitation and more secure supply chains
  2. Frictionless trade: Reaching more consumers
  3. Raising standards: Strengthening the supply chain’s weakest links

Read more here.

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next_up_3mar_2017_wegginarNote: Don’t miss our next WEGG webinar 3/8/17 on “Regulations, Conventions, and Battles of the Spirit: The International Trade of Craft Spirits,” and presented by Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart, President and Co-founder of KOVAL Distillery. Register here:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1699936616236520962.
Event is no charge but you must register in advance to attend.

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How to Find New Overseas Markets To Supply

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After realizing that not one company or person in Australia had come up with a good alternative to cosmetics marked by harsh chemicals and a poor reputation on animal cruelty, Kester Black founder Anna Ross started working with a chemist to develop a line of vegan, water based nail polish products. Three years later, customers rank her company’s brand as better than global name Butter London and in line with big player OPI.

The business started small, but Ross quickly found new markets to supply.  Now the brand has developed a loyal following in the Australian, European and New Zealand markets.  In addition, she earned the Young Business Woman of the Year award.

About Kester Black:

Established in 2009 by Anna Ross, Kester Black designs and produces ethical, sustainable cosmetics and skincare. Our products are the first in the world to obtain a vast suite of accreditations such as Choose Cruelty Free, International Cruelty Free, Vegan Society, Australian Made and B Corporation.

Learn more about how Anna started suppling overseas markets here. The biggest lesson to learn from this piece is to always listen to your customers.

Screenshot courtesy:  Kester Black

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next_up_4jan_2017_wegginarNote: Don’t miss our next WEGG webinar 1/4/17 on “Laurel Delaney’s Global Trade Trends Report 2017,” and presented by Laurel Delaney, President of GlobeTrade.com, creator of The Global Small Business Blog, and President of Women Entrepreneurs GROW Global.  Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4683006218535347459 Event is no charge but you must register in advance to attend.

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Our mission is to educate, inspire and nurture women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global so they can run healthier businesses and create a new future for themselves, their families and their community.


Women Entrepreneurs GROW Global is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. EIN/Tax ID #47-2956522.

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