Guest Commentary: The trade world is knocking at Delaware’s door


Carla Sydney Stone is president of World Trade Center Delaware (, which provides support and training to help Delaware businesses sell to the world.

When Mohamed Cisse traveled to Africa on his first trade mission with World Trade Center Delaware in April, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

Two days after returning to the U.S., his company, Tungsten Global Consulting, closed a deal on lab equipment to a connection made in Ghana. He’s bidding on a laboratory information management contract with another prospect. And he’s projecting $250,000 in sales for the year from the trade mission alone.

That’s just one of many success stories that have emerged from Delaware’s recent history with World Trade Center and which we’re highlighting for this year’s World Trade Week.

Thanks to the careful stewardship of multiple legislatures and governors, Delaware is best known as the corporate capital of the world. But we’re so much more than that. Delaware traded $5.2 billion in exports last year — $4.2 billion in manufactured goods.

Cisse’s story doesn’t stand alone. Thousands of Delaware businesses sell goods abroad. Small businesses are a particular bright spot. About 1.3 million small businesses nationwide currently sell internationally, with the total market at 2.6 million, according to new U.S. Small Business Administration data released in March.

Research found that small ventures led by minority women were likelier to export than others and that the highest concentration of exporters were in manufacturing, medical equipment, computer systems, chemicals and plastics, and wholesale.

Nationally, less than 5% of small businesses export, and nearly 60% of those sell to just one country. That’s a lot of room for growth. At World Trade Center Delaware, we work daily to connect rising businesses with opportunities for that growth — including helping small businesses sell to the world.

Just this year, we have been flying Delaware’s flag in Southeast Asia and Africa for global trade events representing our great state. And we’ll be returning to Africa for the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Botswana from July 11-14. We’ll be taking along interested businesses for trade talks and conversations, if you’re interested.

As Cisse would tell you, global trade is a force multiplier, benefiting local businesses, employees and markets, as well as communities abroad. We’re proud to assist with their successes and help shape many more in the future.

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