Home Back Issues June 2011 Small Oregon businesses go global

Small Oregon businesses go global

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Article Index
Small Oregon businesses go global
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5

By Ben Jacklet

 

0611_GoingGlobal_010611_GoingGlobal_020611_GoingGlobal_03
Workers at Hydra-Power Systems in Portland build custom manifolds for vehicles for an industrial market that is becoming increasingly global. // Photos by Eric Näslund

 

For Oregon City’s Benchmade Knife Company, the next frontier is China. Not manufacturing there — selling there.

For Redmond-based Mountain High Oxygen & Supply, it’s the Czech Republic.

For Portland’s Columbia Green, it’s Canada.

For Clackamas-based Castor & Pollux Pet Works, it’s South Africa — and China if the rules ever change.

And for Columbia Industrial Products in Eugene, it might be India. Or Brazil. Or maybe both.

As the dollar weakens and overseas economies continue to grow, Oregon-based businesses are scrambling to go global with varying degrees of success. Young companies are moving into international markets for the first time. Veteran firms are following the money into nations once written off as not worth the effort. Some are selling finished products. Others are finding their ways into global supply chains. Still others are exporting First-World expertise to nations with rising fortunes.

It’s all part of a massive global power shift. The International Monetary Fund predicts that 87% of world economic growth over the next five years will occur outside of the United States. The opportunity is vast for exporters selling to China, Brazil, India and South Korea, not to mention Colombia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam.

Oregon is already a strong exporter. A recent Brookings Institution report identified the Portland metropolitan region as the second-most export-heavy local economy in the nation after Witchita, Kansas. Portland was one of four U.S. cities to double exports from 2003 to 2008, outperforming larger cities such as Atlanta, Phoenix and Miami.

This should count as an advantage, since wages tend to be higher at firms that export and ripple effects can spread the prosperity generated by international trade far and wide. But the bulk of Oregon’s success as an exporter can be traced back to one corporation: Intel. For the small- and medium-sized businesses that make up much of the rest of the state’s economy, going global can be as daunting as it is tempting. “The U.S. has been outsourcing work for a long time,” says Noah Siegel, director of international relations for the City of Portland. “Rebuilding exports is easier said than done.” Barriers to trade include language and cultural differences, protectionist trade policies, prohibitive tariffs, opaque regulations, delayed payments, questionable governance, intellectual property theft and even flat-out bribery.

 



 

More Articles

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

Launch

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

September's Launch article features Orchid Health, BuddyUp and Inter-Europe Consulting.


Read more...

The Backstory

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014

In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.


Read more...

October surprise

News
Sunday, October 12, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER

Cylvia Hayes, tabloid vs. watchdog journalism and the looming threat of a Cascadia earthquake.


Read more...

College Conundrum

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.


Read more...

Gone Fishing

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LORI TOBIAS

Business has been good to Laura Anderson, leading some to suggest she must be awfully lucky to find such success in a business notorious for failure. But luck’s had little to do with it.


Read more...

A Recipe for Success

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Two businesswomen, two iconic food brands and one food-obsessed city. We thought this sounded like a recipe for good conversation. So in late August, Oregon Business sat down with Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, to discuss their rapidly expanding businesses and Oregon’s trendsetting food scene.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS