WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Global Innovation Forum at the National Foreign Trade Council today announced a new partnership to help startups and small businesses access the global marketplace.  The partnership was made official via a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and the Global Innovation Forum.

The partnership will pair the expertise and convening power of the Global Innovation Forum and its members with the expanded efforts of the Obama administration through its revitalized export strategy, the National Export Initiative (NEI)/NEXT, announced by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in May 2014.  NEI/NEXT is focused on supporting U.S. business and community growth by making it easier for U.S. companies to access export resources and capitalize on growing opportunities around the world.

Specifically, this partnership will accelerate the Commerce Department’s Startup Global initiative, a pilot effort under NEI/NEXT to help more startup firms think global from the earliest stages of a company’s growth.

“The Obama administration is committed to ensuring American entrepreneurs have the tools they need to prepare for global success from day one. The Startup Global initiative provides direct export assistance to startups, and forms lasting partnerships with the United States’ unparalleled incubator and accelerator network,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The Global Innovation Forum is a valuable partner to the International Trade Administration in helping to connect a range of private sector stakeholders to the Startup Global pilot initiative and improve startups’ understanding of how to participate effectively in global markets.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the Commerce Department to advance the participation of startups and small businesses in global trade.  Startups don’t necessarily expect to be global from day one, but young and small companies are increasingly able to reach customers and partners halfway around the world in the digital age,” said Jake Colvin, Executive Director of the Global Innovation Forum. “It is important that entrepreneurs realize that the U.S. Government and the private sector offer valuable resources that can aid their global journeys.”

The Global Innovation Forum participated in the two initial Startup Global programs hosted at 1776 in Washington DC and Nashville Startup Global, hosted by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

This partnership builds on the Global Innovation Forum’s prior cooperation with the Commerce Department via a Startup Global Design Workshop held in May 2014.  That discussion was hosted by the White House Business Council and featured representatives from the Global Innovation Forum, 1776, Business Forward and Intuit — whose Chief Innovation Officer chairs GIF.

For more information contact

Global Innovation Forum: Jennifer Cummings, the Fratelli Group (202) 822-9491

About the Global Innovation Forum

The Global Innovation Forum connects entrepreneur, nonprofit and university communities with corporations and government officials to explore the opportunities and challenges of engaging in the global marketplace. Through public forums, private workshops and online platforms, GIF elevates the global opportunity that exists, explores challenges to participating effectively in international markets and works to improve the public policy landscape to benefit a broad range of global innovators. GIF is a project of the National Foreign Trade Council Foundation. For more information, visit www.globalinnovationforum.com.

About the Startup Global Pilot Initiative

The International Trade Administration (ITA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce is piloting Startup Global, an initiative launched by Secretary Penny Pritzker in February 2015, to provide focused assistance and information to early-stage companies by building partnerships with the United States’ unparalleled incubators and accelerators, which are key centers of gravity and trusted advisers in the startup ecosystem. Startup Global will produce half day educational seminars in partnership with local incubators and accelerators to cover the most-pressing issues startups face in the global business environment. Startup Global was launched as part of NEI/NEXT, the successor to the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI). The NEI/NEXT strategy coordinates federal programs and policies to help more U.S. companies begin exporting and expand to new markets by making it easier to get involved. For more information, visit www.trade.gov/neinext.