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Explore small business export options during free Extension webinar

URBANA, Ill. – Selling abroad can be intimidating, but may be just the boost small businesses facing lasting financial challenges need.

University of Illinois Extension is co-hosting a free online webinar covering the fundamentals and benefits of exporting. Local, state, and federal programs are available for businesses in Southern Illinois to initiate or expand export efforts, says Nancy Ouedraogo, Extension community and economic development specialist.

The online webinar will begin at 11 a.m. CT Tuesday, Sept. 29. One must register at:

Collaborators for the webinar include the SBDC International Trade Center at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville which serves businesses in Southern Illinois and provides individualized, no-cost export consultation, identification of foreign buyers,  trade leads, and international market analysis. The ITC is funded, in part, by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and SIUE. It partners with the Illinois Office of Trade and Investment which maintains both foreign and domestic-based international trade and marketing experts. OTI also manages six foreign trade offices located in Belgium, Japan, Mexico, Canada, China, and Israel.

Silvia Torres Bowman, ITC director, will present the hour-long webinar, with opening remarks by Courtney Yockey, Richland County Development Corporation executive director. 

Torres spearheads entry into global markets for entrepreneurs, as well as small and medium-sized businesses in the Southern Illinois region. She manages a program of export consulting and training in international business planning, marketing, logistics and trade finance.

"As a native of Lima, Perú, Torres has unique knowledge, a solid network of connections, and years of experience in promoting and expanding trade opportunities in Latin America," Ouedraogo says. "She leads and participates in trade missions and industry shows both nationally and internationally to promote Southwest Illinois and the St. Louis region." 

Torres is a two-time recipient of the Governor’s Export Awards. She co-founded the Southwest Illinois Trade and Investment Council and is an active member and partner of several international trade organizations. She is highly regarded for her expertise and passion for export business, community engagement, and Latin American trade and is accredited as a Certified Global Business Professional, Ouedraogo says.

Yockey is a Certified Professional Community and Economic Developer with six plus years of experience in consulting local governments and working one-on-one with private businesses to expand operations, promoting economic development while creating and retaining employment opportunities.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. For reasonable accommodation to participate in the webinar, one may contact Ouedraogo at

SOURCENancy Ouedraogo, Extension Community and Economic Development Specialist
WRITER: Judy Mae Bingman, Extension Communications and Marketing Manager

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.