The White House Rural Council held its first "Made in Rural America" regional export forum with business owners and local leaders in Canonsburg, Pa., today.
The one-day forum, which was hosted by the Appalachian Regional Commission and led by Tom Vilsack, U.S. agriculture secretary, kicks off a series that will include four more forums to be attended by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker; Small Business Administration Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet; Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg; and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.
The forums are part of the Obama administration's Made in Rural America Export and Investment Initiative that was created earlier this year to help rural businesses take advantage of new investment opportunities and access markets abroad. The first forum will provide business-to-business learning opportunities and federal, state, and local expertise for rural businesses. The next forum, hosted by the Delta Regional Authority, will be held in the Memphis region on July 18.
At the forum, the Obama administration unveiled a web portal for rural businesses considering export opportunities available on BusinessUSA.gov. The web portal, which has received more than 5 million page views to date, allows U.S. businesses to search information and resources from 24 federal agencies, from starting a business to financing to exporting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
"BusinessUSA is pleased to support the Made in Rural America Export and Investment Initiative and has begun the process of adding new content to the already extensive export resources on BusinessUSA.gov. Rural businesses and entrepreneurs will want to stay tuned to http://business.usa.gov/rural-exporting
, as we will also be developing a new online tool to help them quickly discover and access government-wide information and services specifically geared to support rural exporters," said Dennis Alvord, executive director of BusinessUSA, in a statement.