Luster Products: Leader in African American Hair Care Products Celebrates 6oth Anniversary

Fred Luster, Sr.

 

Luster Products, Inc. , the leading African-American owned manufacturer of premium personal care products, is celebrating its 6oth anniversary this year. Luster Products’ brands include You Be-NaturalPink BrandS-CurlPCJ, and YOU. The company’s product lines serve men, women, children and the stylist market — worldwide.

Today, Luster Products, Inc. employs more than 400 people worldwide. Luster’s products are sold nationally and internationally through a dynamic sales force and numerous retail outlets. The company’s main facility – corporate offices, plant and warehouse – is situated on 17 acres in Chicago’s Stockyard Industrial Park. An aerosol production plant is located in suburban Blue Island, Illinois. The company also has a branch office in London.

The phenomenal growth and success of Luster Products, Inc. has been attributed to the business savvy and commitment of the company’s founder and first president, the late Fred Luster, Sr., a staff of hardworking, loyal employees, and a family spirit that permeates the entire organization.

Chennault Named ‘Louisiana Airport of the Year’

Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles was honored by the Federal Aviation Administration with the “Louisiana Airport of the Year” award.

The award was presented at the 2018 FAA Southwest Regional Airport Conference in Fort Worth and accepted by Chennault representatives Randy Robb, Andrea LaFleur, Cortez Gallien, Loretta Hanks and John McMullen.

The award citation praises Chennault’s “utmost creativity” in developing a plan to create an alternate runway by widening and improving a parallel taxiway, followed by major rehabilitation of the main runway, resulting in two first-class runways. This plan avoids closure of the airport’s only runway for repairs, which would be “a catastrophic blow to the regional economy.” The new 8,000 x 150–foot alternate runway/taxiway “will allow the airport to maintain its contribution to the bustling of southwest Louisiana economy, while rehabilitating their primary runway.”

Chennault’s award citation states, “The airport’s efforts, coordination, and attention to the FAA’s standards of safety and operations, while utilizing the utmost creativity are the reasons Chennault International Airport Authority is being recognized for Airport of the Year.”

The FAA’s Airport of the Year award recognizes airports that “have created a positive safety culture, implemented sound and consistent capital planning, supported FAA initiatives and have enhanced safety at the airport.”

Chennault International Airport is an industrial airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana, operated by the Chennault International Airport Authority. The airport and its tenant companies employ more than 1,500 people, providing an annual economic impact of some $300 million. For more information, visit www.chennault.org.

Why Relationships Matter in Global Business

 

By Scott Ferguson

As Chief Executive Officer of an organization with a mission of growing trade, I often get asked a multitude of questions pertaining to the state of global commerce. The inquiries always revolve around the latest headline out of one country or another, or the most recent election, or just my take on the state of economic cooperation around the world.

But no matter the question my answer always stays the same: At the World Trade Centers Association (WTCA) we remain focused on one thing—our network.

This may seem selfish, or like we don’t care about the news. But this is not the case. Far from it. It is because the common thread that runs through our association of 300-plus members in nearly 100 countries, is stronger and more consequential than any one lurch in the ever-changing, seesawing nature of trade policy. Because our members often play a critical role in the local, regional and national economies where they are based, the WTCA and its membership roster are frequently in a position to bridge the divides that form from one administration to the next. Our relationships with one another are the bedrock of our organization. This network empowers each of us to continue to enrich our local communities, regardless of the coming or receding political storms.

Being a global organization made up of businesses as diverse as our members comes with challenges, for certain. But being able to call on fellow World Trade Centers from Bogota to Belfast, and Boston to Beijing, in a climate that often feels unstable, is the true value of WTCA Membership. And it is why now, more than ever, relationships matter.

Scott Ferguson is Chief Executive Officer of the World Trade Centers Association.

This article was originally published in the USA Trade Guide.

Louisiana Trade Guide Focuses on Export Promotion and Foreign Direct Investment

Louisiana Trade Guide Cover
Louisiana Trade Guide Cover

 

Online Edition Available at Louisiana.Think.Global

 

A free resource for Louisiana companies involved in international trade is now available online and in print from the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC). The fourth edition of the Louisiana Trade Guide, published in partnership between the LSBDC and ThinkGlobal Inc., features statewide information and resources to help both exporters and foreign direct investors.

The colorful, magazine-style guide includes an international trade resources section that makes it easy to find resources and services providers throughout the state. The guide also features a welcome letter from Gov. John Bel Edwards, as well as an overview of international trade-related programs and services offered by Louisiana Economic Development.

“The Louisiana Small Business Development Center spearheaded the development of the new edition of the Louisiana Trade Guide,” says Rande Kessler, state director of LSBDC. “Having a single point of reference in print and online guide is a valuable tool for Louisiana exporters, foreign investors, and service providers. The guide is a must-have resource for both new exporters and for companies looking to expand into new markets.”

The new edition of the guide includes 10,000 print copies that are being distributed throughout Louisiana. The guide will be distributed to exporters throughout the state by the SBDC network, other state and local economic development agencies, and private sector service providers. Links to the digital edition also will be sent to U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

“The 2018 Louisiana Trade Guide includes an updated resource section, with comprehensive data about Louisiana service providers and trade-related resources,” says Greg Sandler, publisher at ThinkGlobal. “The guide also features expert advice and answers to frequently asked questions, along with information about key resources, such as economic development organizations, ports, and other service providers throughout the state.”

To read the Louisiana Trade Guide online, visit: http://Louisiana.Think.Global

 

Contacts For More Information

DeRon Talley, LSBDC

318-340-9353

dtalley@lsbdc.org

Greg Sandler, ThinkGlobal

800-581-8533, ext. 808

greg@thinkglobal.net

 

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Best Practices for Promoting Exports and Foreign Direct Investment

 

 

 

Tapping into global markets helps generate jobs and economic growth throughout the United States. According to a recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department, 95% of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. The report, which draws on research by the Brookings Institution and the National League of Cities Center for Research & Innovation, notes that competition in today’s marketplace can be local, regional or global. The report also provides the following best practices to help local, state, and regional policymakers and business leaders develop global growth strategies.

Convene

Bring together regional and metropolitan economic leaders and assets – such as key corporations, service providers, workforce, and transportation infrastructure – to specifically identify your area’s advantages and competencies for export and investment promotion. Connect with businesses and develop strategies to better understand their needs.

Think Local

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to promoting exports and investment, and each community has unique market advantages. Identify your assets, and develop a brand. Gather local market insight and assess your industry strengths. When considering an investment attraction strategy, include operating costs, supply chain management, access to natural resources, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, access to technology, and quality of life in your assessment.

Foster Regional Collaboration

By creating a regional brand identity, and fostering collaboration, communities can successfully market themselves globally, and create effective export and investment plans.

Know Your Tools And Resources

Learn about the numerous federal, state, and local resources available on export.gov, which includes free access to tools such as the “Basic Guide to Exporting” and the “Trade Finance Guide.” For local assistance, contact your state trade office or the U.S. Commercial Service (see contact information in the resource section of this guide).

Tap into Global Markets

More than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is located outside of the United States. Successful exporters recognize that their competition may no longer be with each other, but with regions around the world.

Develop a Plan

With a regional identity and key players around the table, develop an actionable plan to promote exports and investment. The Brookings Institution has published “10 Steps to Delivering a Successful Metropolitan Export Plan,” to help business leaders take advantage of best practices and start planning.

Educate

Ensure that companies in your area know whether they have an exportable product or service and know about available resources at the federal and state level to help grow their business. Broaden the definition of exports to include activities, such as services exports, international visitors, and services to foreign students. For example, facilitate a briefing or seminar series to educate businesses about federal and state investment and export assistance resources and financing.

Improve Access to Information

One way to share up-to-date resources is to make sure that your city or regional website has a section dedicated to business assistance that provides information on opportunities and events related to exporting. Consider linking to local, state and federal trade resources.

Support Your Export Pipeline

Help identify export-ready companies and refer them to regional, state and federal assistance providers, such as the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). For investment promotion, work with state and local government agencies, local businesses, and/or universities, to identify foreign countries and cities that may already have a relationship with your city.

Partner with Higher Education Institutions

Higher education ranks among the country’s top 10 service exports. Tuition and living expenses paid by international students and their families brought in nearly $21 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2010-2011 academic year. As a source of investment, exports, and workforce development, educational institutions should be involved in your export and investment planning discussions. Area institutions also can serve as key partners, with a strong knowledge base, research, and potential for successful internship and workforce development programs. Establish a Business-to-Business Mentorship Program Connect established exporters and investors in your area with growing businesses to share expertise and know-how in a particular market or sector. Closely affiliated with the U.S. Commercial Service, the 56 District Export Councils nationwide are organizations comprised of export leaders from their local business community.

Consider a Foreign Trade Zone

A Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) helps encourage exports and investment by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise, as well as other savings. local governments and organizations, such as ports or economic development organizations, can apply to create an FTZ in their communities.

Organize

Consider organizing trade and investment missions to key global markets to promote your region for economic development. State trade offices and federal export promotion agencies, as well as non-profit trade organizations, often coordinate missions abroad. Globally, high-ranking U.S. federal officials, state governors and mayors are viewed favorably as top leaders representing their markets to tout its exports and its winning attributes for investment.

Build Exports and Investment into Your Broader Economic Strategy

With an eye to growth and global competitiveness, seek alignment between exports and foreign direct investment; innovation in manufacturing and services; investments in freight and logistics; and the development of a globally fluent workforce. A region’s success in the global marketplace can be enhanced with coordinated messages about trade and investment opportunities.

Discover trade promotion and foreign direct investment resources in the online edition of the USA Trade Guide.

 

After Initial Export Success in Asia, How Do You Scale?

 

Tractus Asia’s business Inc.ubator service allows you to have dedicated sales, marketing or technical support staff in Asia to grow your exports cost effectively and minimize risk. The situation is typical. You make a commitment to sell into Asia, achieve some initial export success after attending regional trade shows, and then you sign-on dedicated distributors in one or more markets. But, exports plateau or don’t meet your growth expectations. What’s wrong? Asia is the world’s largest market for your product, but you are underwhelmed by the performance of your distributors. The markets you are servicing, such as China, might have complexities that are frustrating your customers. Or perhaps, you are unable to operate your business model in Thailand in the same way as you would in the U.S. because of regulatory issues. If you can’t operate with the same business model, what do you do?

The simple answer is to have ‘boots on the ground’ in key markets – dedicated sales, technical support, or business development staff to troubleshoot these issues. The problem is the cost. To capitalize on opportunities in multiple markets in Asia – China, India, and Southeast Asia – you would have to incorporate in each of your key markets, hire staff to support your distributors, agents and customers, as well as manage operating a micro-multinational business across Asia. Not only is the investment and operating cost prohibitive, but how can you mitigate the costs and risk of needing to exit a market should you not be successful? The cost of closing a company in Asia can be 2 to 3 times what it takes to incorporate, and can take years to unwind. How do you balance your need for an in-market presence to grow your business with the costs and risks of operating a new business up to 10,000 miles away across the Pacific?

Tractus’ business Inc.ubator service is the answer. As a business Inc.ubator client you leverage Tractus’ network of offices throughout Asia to cost effectively support your business growth and minimize risk. Tractus works with you to recruit needed talent – technical sales, business development, customer support or marketing – based on a clear understanding of your needs. We conduct interviews, reference checks, and administer standardized tests as required. We then recommend a short-list of two or three finalist candidates that you interview in collaboration with our senior managers and directors. Once a finalist is selected, Tractus acts as the legal employer arranging for salary and statutory benefits to be paid and assists you to manage their performance. Your new Asia-based staff, while legally a Tractus employee, is dedicated full-time to your business.

We provide office space, administrative support, and most importantly, oversight and guidance by one of our senior managers or directors. While your new staff reports directly to you, Tractus provides the needed indirect supervisory support to ensure they are not ‘out of sight and out of mind’.

Our clients come from a wide range of industry sectors and have leveraged Tractus’ business Inc.ubator to accelerate their market entry, scale their exports to key markets in Asia, and successfully grow their international business. Please visit our website, www.tractus-asia.com, review our case studies and learn how Tractus’ business Inc.ubator can propel your Asian growth strategy or contact us on inc.ubator@tractus-asia.com for more information.

Best Practices For Choosing A Supply Chain Management Solution

Read ThinkGlobal President Greg Sandler’s story about how choosing the right supply chain management software can help keep your supply chain running smoothly.

Sandler talked to chain expert Daniel Stanton, author of Supply Chain Management for Dummies, who says that in order to manage your international supply chain you need a system that can handle planning, sourcing, production, delivery, returns and fulfillment.

Read the full story on the American Express Open Forum website.

Enterprise Florida: Making International Business Your Priority

 

By Manny Mencia

Enterprise Florida is one of America’s leading trade, export development, and foreign direct investment organizations. International is big business in our state and we know what it takes to make it happen.

As North America’s principal gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, billions of dollars in goods flowed through our airports and seaports last year, making Florida the seventh largest exporting state in the U.S., and a leading international business hub. Since 1996, Florida exports have more than doubled, growing from $21 billion to $52 billion in 2016.

Florida’s 60,000 exporters are second only to California and keep goods moving through the state 24 hours a day, while services exports of more than $38 billion rank Florida fourth in the U.S.

The state has significant advantages as a destination for foreign direct investment, ranking sixth in the U.S.in employment and first in the Southeast. Just ask the 260,000 workers who are employed by foreign-owned companies how important that is to them.

Ready to learn more about expanding, relocating, or exporting? Start by contacting Enterprise Florida’s International Trade & Development Division at 305-808-3660 or visiting www.enterpriseflorida.com.

Manny Mencia is Senior Vice President for International Trade & Development at Enterprise Florida Inc.