World Trade Center-Kansas City News: December, 2021
Dec 21, 2021
A LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
Happy December from World Trade Center-Kansas City! We are excited to reintroduce our monthly WTC newsletter. Here, you can read about small businesses looking internationally, trade news from D.C. and even hear from World Trade Centers across the globe.
WTC-KC has had a busy quarter! We were recently awarded a federal Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) grant. This grant will be used to create a program to grow exports regionally. Stay tuned for a formal announcement, but in the meantime, read the press release here.
At the end of October, WTC-KC had the privilege of co-hosting a delegation from the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB). WTC-KC hosted three round table conversations with the delegates and industry leaders in Kansas City focused on healthcare; energy and agriculture; and entrepreneurship and workforce. The delegation was able to tour a local farm, Spark KC, a co-working space in downtown Kansas City, as well as Logistics Park KC in Edgerton, Kansas. During their visit, the delegates toured the new technical KCK public school building, and a select group of students presented their global issues projects to the delegates. Finally, the delegates ended their trip to Kansas City with a closing reception hosted by the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce at Second and Delaware in the River Market. WTC-KC is proud to have shown the delegation the best of Kansas City and to have had the opportunity to facilitate meaningful conversation and idea exchange at the round tables.
On September 23, WTC-KC put on its 6th Annual Go Global KC event, hosted at the Missouri Innovation Campus. The event focused on supply chain disruptions and featured keynote remarks from United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Don Graves, who spoke on equity and how “building back better” must include rural communities, as well as women and minority owned businesses. Ike Nwabuonwu, President and CEO of Alpha Energy and Electric, Jay Kim, President and CEO of DataLocker, and Connie Zack, Co-Owner of Sunlighten, discussed how their businesses have dealt with supply chain disruptions in a panel moderated by Brian Gordon of Commerce Bank. Afterward, attendees had the opportunity to speak with representatives from different World Trade Centers in breakout rooms. If you were unable to attend, you can watch a brief video recap created by Summit Tech Academy students, Jordan Devoy, Sydney Siemens, Amera Haniyeah, and Quinton Nofziger.
After an eventful fall season, WTC-KC is looking forward to a fruitful 2022.
Small Business Spotlight: Madison Stitch
In the heart of the Crossroads lies two connected storefronts: Madison Stitch and Madison Flitch. As a new, small Kansas City business, they not only weathered the pandemic, but were able to come out stronger on the other side. After owner John Pryor had to temporarily close the show room of Madison Flitch, which produces wooden furniture pieces as well as artistic, decorative pieces, Madison Stitch was created with the original purpose of selling masks to help keep the community safe.
In his search for employees who knew how to stitch, Pryor began working with the Burmese immigrant refugee communities in Kansas City. As refugees and immigrants, it had been difficult for many to find jobs, especially during the pandemic. As they began working at Madison Stitch making masks, the vision for the company soon evolved. Each “stitcher” designed their own leather bag. These bags are now sold by Madison Stitch, both in-stores and online and are handmade by the stitchers who designed them. Madison Stitch was featured in both the KC Star and 41 Action News.
Pryor is prepared to sell goods internationally on the Madison Stitch side of the shop. The handmade, local items will no doubt find a market abroad as they have here in Kansas City. Although the process to move international is slower for Madison Flitch, as the business begins creating fine art, Pryor is hopeful for an international push eventually.
Dispatches from DC
The biggest topic in trade for the past two years: supply chain disruptions. With the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, many hoped that supply chain disruptions would be a thing of the past. However, over the summer it became clear that supply chain disruptions were worsening. Our Go Global KC 2021 panelists predicted that these disruptions would not clear up until early to mid-2023.
The Atlantic reports that the disruption the world is currently facing is not the result of one large issue, but rather is the consequence of several different factors. Many goods are routed from or originate in East Asia, which is dealing with an outbreak of the Delta variant. As the supply chain slows down in the East, Americans in the West are demanding it pick up the pace, with increased demand for things like cars and computers. This is compounded by the traffic jam in the LA port. There is a shortage of truckers and a labor shortage in general. Read more in-depth about the logistics of the current supply chain disruption here.
In early October, President Biden announced that the LA port would become a 24/7 operation. Additionally, he met with trade powerhouses, Samsung and Walmart, among others, to talk long term strategy for making the supply chain more resilient. Hopefully, adding night hours to the port of LA will help ease the logjam, but adding hours does not address existing inefficiencies at the port that may have contributed to the back-up initially.
On November 17, the Guardian reported that although the LA port has the capacity for 24/7 operations, a shortage of workers has made this schedule difficult to implement. While we are far from out of the woods on supply chain issues, and the general advice is to start your holiday shopping months ago, progress is being made, particularly at the LA port. Containers are being cleared faster and wait times are decreasing.
As the transportation of goods across the ocean slows, the transportation of people is up and running for the first time since March 2020. On November 8th, the US opened its borders to non-essential travelers who are fully vaccinated from Canada, Mexico and most of Europe. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo remarked about the impact this will have on the tourism industry in the U.S., which was severely impacted by COVID, as well as the opportunity for travelers to come to the U.S. to do business.
While COVID-19 has greatly impacted, and continues to affect, global trade and business, goods and people are starting to cross borders with more ease once again. WTC-KC is here to support you and your business in navigating the world of foreign trade.
Around the Globe
WTC- Sao Paulo
Written By: Jane Weiffenbach, Strategic Advisor
The WTC SP Business Club is known for being the most relevant business platform in Brazil.
Our great service of business and financial strategic advisory, commercial intelligence, and solid qualified relationships worldwide, makes WTC SP stand out and lead the market of business intermediation.
An important part of our international work is the inbound and outbound actions. Supporting commercially, the inbound work is to understand how to best promote foreign companies into the Brazilian market and the outbound work is to help Brazilian companies in the process of internationalization.
Both parts of our international work promote establishing a strategic partnership on which we participate doing the market research, identifying targets, business intelligence, matchmakings, structuring on demand actions with the goal to introduce the company and provide more visibility in the Brazilian market, this way making it favorable to new business opportunities supported by our team during every step.
WTC SP is open to answering any further questions regarding our work. It would be a pleasure to have companies from Kansas City interested in partnering with us and exploring great possibilities abroad. For more information on connecting with WTC SP, please contact Grace Dolan at firstname.lastname@example.org.