The International Trade and Investment Office (ITIO) is a division within the Missouri Department of Economic Development that encourages trade outside of our own nation’s borders. With financial assistance and strategic introductions, the ITIO program is of exceptional value for new and seasoned businesses alike. We recently spoke with the president of Holtec Gas Systems, Thorstein Holt, who has traveled with the governor through this program. Thor shared his experience with the program, and why he thinks other business owners could benefit, too.
What is your business and how is international trade important to your bottom line?
Holtec Gas Systems manufactures nitrogen generators that are exported all around the world. In 2014, we received the Global Growth Award from St. Louis World Trade Center. In 2015, we received the International Growth award from Missouri Association of Manufacturers. The export market is a very important part of what we do.
To expand business, Holtec must continue to grow our exports, which are over 50% of our business. The exports exceed 50% so far in 2017.
How does a gubernatorial trade mission differ from a regular trip? How does the governor add value to your trip?
When we attend a trade mission and the governor attends, not only are the MO-DED staff able to set-up meetings with potential customers; they are able to set-up meetings with the top management in various companies. I could never call these companies myself and set-up those high-level meetings. Traveling with the governor of Missouri has introduced us to top management in key companies that will hopefully lead to increased exports. On my last trade mission with Governor Nixon to the UAE, he gave a thirty second promotion speech of Holtec and our nitrogen generators during a cocktail party hosted by the US Consul General. This was very unexpected and made my trip even more valuable.
I have also traveled to Cuba, Colombia, and Peru with the program. We are now quoting distributors in Colombia and Peru for our nitrogen generators and will be shipping a large nitrogen generation system to Peru this month.
We are glad to see that participants are capturing business growth opportunities from each trip they attend. To learn more about the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri International Trade and Investment Office, you can visit their website for upcoming events and how to get involved.