Primex Teaches Business How to Successfully Export
SAN JUAN – Many businessowners and manufacturers would like to export their products off-island but sometimes do not know whether their products will be accepted or satisfy global market trends.
To fill in this knowledge gap, the Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension Inc. (Primex) is launching a series of activities later this month and in March to support the manufacturing sector by educating about the latest trends in export, intellectual property, business plans, etiquette and corporate communication. Created 23 years ago, Primex is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the National Institute of Standards & Technology/Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST/MEP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Primex will hold an export conference Feb. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Sony Hall of Iniciativa Tecnológica Centro Oriental Inc. (Inteco) in Caguas. On the following day, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., a conference will be held on intellectual property and copyright in manufacturing at Primex’s facilities in San Juan’s Hato Rey district. On March 1, the organization is sponsoring a conference on Alternate Telecommunications & Cybersecurity at Inteco’s Sony Hall in Caguas.
Astrid Vélez, strategist, motivational speaker & certified coach with more than 20 years of experience operating in international markets, will speak about the trends that help businessowners satisfy the needs of a specific market. She said global trends are in favor of products that satisfy climatological change, meet the need for health changes or are artisanal or fresh. “We have to find what the perfect match is,” she said.
For instance, she noted that after hurricanes Irma and Maria, the market for natural healthcare products went up as individuals searched for treatments of their ailments because of medication shortages. The climate change phenomenon has also created a market for products that can help individuals survive earthquakes. The global problem with cyberattacks has created a market for products that can help businesses or individuals protect their information and computers.
“There is a market for everything. The important thing is to export intelligently,” Vélez said.
José Ledesma, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, will be advising companies, especially small businesses, on the tricks of the trade to successfully export their products. He said companies need to tailor their products to each specific foreign market. “I will talk about the need to prepare and the tasks one must complete to be successful,” he said. “It is not merely saying I will export to Australia, for example, but that I am becoming familiar with that market.”
For instance, Puerto Rico’s ethnic products, such as empanadillas or sofritos, which are used in local cuisine, can be sold outside of Puerto Rico. “But you have to remove the ethnic element from it and make it more general,” he said.
Ledesma, who has more than 10 years’ experience exporting coffee to Asia, said there are export fairs companies can attend to exhibit their products, an exercise he said businessowners must do. Businessowners should also consider doing studies to ascertain if their product will obtain good reception in a specific market. “Sometimes the preparation is not done in a rigorous manner,” he said.
Samuel Pamias, intellectual property lawyer in local and federal courts, will be available to provide information so businessowners can protect their intellectual property, brands and trade secrets. The biggest advice Pamias gives companies wishing to export is to register their property rights in the country where they are going to export before making any investments. Each country has its own intellectual property laws, but there are international treaties such as the Protocol of Madrid that force signatories to respect property rights. Pamias said he has contacts from around the world who can help local businesspeople with the registration of their property rights. “I also register in the United States. Puerto Rico is a bridge to registering rights in other parts of the world, and our costs are more economic,” he said.
Primex Executive Director Migdalia Rosado said the educational plan allows local entrepreneurs to prepare, organize and execute a plan to remain solid and expand their business.
“The export event we will hold Feb. 26 includes a special process. Primex will give 10 companies the opportunity to participate in an academy that will allow them to export products,” she said.