North Dakota Businesses Go Global
KVLY-TV, updated 4/11/2012 11:47:36 PM ET
Popular economics expert Ben Stein adds himself to the list of those pointing out north Dakota’s homegrown work ethic.
And other nations are taking note as well, as local businesses report a boom in the international market for homegrown goods.
North Dakota’s agricultural reputation is well-known internationally, but the North Dakota trade office is pushing products to international consumers local folks might not even realize are here.
Among them is West Fargo-based Roll-A-Ramp — a manufacturer of lightweight, roll-up wheelchair ramps that can boast business all the way from Buckingham Palace, to the Hermitage, to the appearance of Sir Stephen Hawking at a university in Israel — not to mention backyards across North Dakota.
Sales manager Greg Moll says theirs is one of a thousand different North Dakota products the Trade Office helps connect with international buyers.
At fifty-one countries and counting, Moll says the majority of Roll-A-Ramp’s business is international, like most of the companies represented at the Trade Office’s global conference. He says as more countries start to acknowledge their responsibility to make all buildings equally accessible to people with disabilities, it makes their product more marketable. However, he finds the work of the Trade Office invaluable. Trade missions like the one late last month to China help local businesses open doors overseas.
“When you fly in, they’ve done a lot of it for you, you have a lot of info. It eliminates chasing rabbits,” says Moll.
The Trade Office estimates the increase in North Dakota exports over 2010 to 2011 at about thirty percent. They plan to follow up their China mission with trips to Kazahkstan and the Ukraine in the coming months.