Groundbreaking Global Supplier Diversity Initiative Launched

Wilmington, Del.— The World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia and Export Delaware announce, “Selling to the World, Growing a Vibrant, Inclusive, and Connected Economy for Greater Philadelphia” a program to expand small business exports that feature a new Global Supplier Diversity Initiative to support minority- and women-owned businesses. For the first time, minority- and women-owned enterprises (MWBE) will have unparalleled access to international partners and customers as they enter global supply chains.

The First Program of its Kind 

This program is carefully crafted to include Global Supplier Diversity Directors from Fortune 500 companies and business leaders as mentors. According to the US Census Bureau, 18 percent of US businesses are minority-owned (about 1 million businesses). Nearly 20 percent (1.1 million) are women-owned. Many of these companies apply to be certified as minority- or women-owned businesses. This designation offers numerous benefits; however, many small businesses don’t know how to leverage their certification to increase their sales overseas. This is about to change for those in the Delaware and Greater Philadelphia region.

The facts are compelling and demonstrate that there is much room to grow. According to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), minority-owned businesses represent 17.5 percent of exporting companies in the US and have a strong competitive advantage in conducting business internationally due to cultural affinities, multi-lingual skills, and close ties to countries of origin. The US Census reports that women-owned businesses represent 12.1 percent of US exporters. Compared with non-exporting companies, MWBEs have higher productivity and hire more employees than their non-exporting counterparts.

“MWBEs have great potential but, like many small businesses, are often hesitant and unaware of the assistance available to help them export,” said Linda Conlin, President of the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia. “We are proud to work with Beth and Export Delaware to increase growth and prosperity in our communities by helping these companies access new customers in promising markets around the world.”

“Selling to the World,” with its new Global Supplier Diversity Initiative, provides export education, training, and mentorship from experts in the field of exporting and global supplier diversity so these MWBEs can compete in the global marketplace. This unique approach will help businesses increase their sales through exports.

Exports Are a Profitable, Long-term Business Strategy

With over 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside of the US, exporting has proven to be a profitable and sustainable long-term strategy for small businesses. “Now, Delaware WMBEs will gain unparalleled access and opportunity to global supply chains of multinational firms,” said Beth Pomper, Export Trade Director of Export Delaware. “We are delighted to partner with Linda and her team at the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia on this ground-breaking initiative.”

Ecommerce, global supply chains, free trade agreements, and export funding assistance have helped make the world’s global customers more accessible. According to the International Trade Administration, companies that export have a better chance of “riding out” fluctuations in the US economy, as they are sustained by demand from customers worldwide. By offering this new Global Supplier Diversity Initiative, minority- and women-owned businesses in Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia region will be equipped to grow and flourish in the coming decades.

“Our goal for this program is to enable minority- and women-owned businesses to be able to enjoy these benefits, so they can continue to grow, expand and create more local jobs,” said Pomper.

This program is designed to directly support minority- and women-owned businesses in Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia region. However, all eligible businesses are welcome to apply, not just those that women and minorities own.

This program is funded by a grant from the US Economic Development Administration, a cooperative agreement with the Small Business Administration (SBA) via the State Trade Export Program (STEP) Grant, and the private sector.

Interested companies in Delaware should contact Beth Pomper at Export Delaware: beth.pomper@delaware.gov. Those in Pennsylvania and New Jersey should contact Dino Ramos at the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia: dramos@wtcphila.org.


Export Delaware is an initiative of the Delaware Department of State and the official export resource for Delaware’s small businesses wanting to export their products and services worldwide. To learn more about Export Delaware, click here.


Export Delaware Now Accepting Applications for STEP Grants

Export Delaware, the State’s official export resource for Delaware’s small and medium-sized businesses, is now accepting State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant applications from qualified businesses. STEP Grants offer eligible Delaware businesses assistance to help launch or expand export activity. Grant funds can be used to reimburse Delaware businesses for up to 50 percent of all pre-approved, eligible, export marketing expenses, up to a maximum of $7,000 per fiscal year, per company. Funds now can be used on several marketing/sales initiatives without ever leaving Delaware.

“The global marketplace holds real promise for Delaware companies, and their success in pursuing opportunities abroad will be one of the key factors in our state’s ability to thrive in the 21st century economy,” said Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Businesses around the world have an appetite for U.S. products, especially those from the manufacturing, bioscience and technology industries, where Delaware’s small businesses excel.”

Eligible, export marketing expenses include international business travel, website translation and global optimization, design of international marketing material, export education and training, CE Mark and compliance testing, translation of product information/user manuals, and exhibiting at international trade shows to name a few.

In its history, the STEP Grant Program has supported 96 Delaware small businesses with over $1 million in grant funds. As a result of the activity, the participants have achieved $148 million in export sales and 52 Delaware jobs have been created.

“We encourage Delaware small businesses to take advantage of the STEP Grant Program to help offset the costs of their export marketing efforts,” said Export Trade Director Beth Pomper. “Export Delaware programming does all the heavy lifting for you. We identify potential customers and distributors for our Delaware companies and organize business meetings for you to meet clients overseas in their markets. These grants make international travel affordable. If you meet with a potential customer who goes on to generate $1 million in business for your organization, it’s clearly worth the investment.”

Delaware small businesses who have been in business longer than one year and have an export plan are encouraged to apply. Interested applicants are encouraged to download the application here and apply now. Contact the Export Delaware team with any questions at 302-577-8464 or via email at export@delaware.gov.