National Recognition for OH-PA Export Initiative

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Global Trade Magazine has named Youngstown as one of the country’s best cities for export assistance in its fourth annual Best Cities for Global Trade report.

The magazine cited the OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative, a program created by the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber and Youngstown State University’s International Trade Assistance Center in January, as what sets the region apart from others.

“The benefits range from providing a one-stop shop for potential foreign investors, distributors and partners looking to do business with local businesses to arranging a meeting between local business leaders with Cuban officials in anticipation of new opportunities once relations are officially normalized,” the magazine reported.

The OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative offers assistance to businesses in Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties in Ohio and Erie, Crawford, Mercer, Lawrence, Butler and Beaver counties in Pennsylvania.

“We are pleased that our export initiative has already garnered such acclaim nationally,” Sarah Boyarko, the regional chamber’s vice president of economic development, said in a prepared statement. “The partnering agencies throughout the 10 counties have worked hard to encourage engagement from the business community, and we’ve already begun sharing export and supply chain opportunities, which will only strengthen our region.”

Each year, the magazine ranks 105 cities across 10 categories, including global vibe, site selection assistance and business environment. Last year, Global Trade Magazine named Youngstown as one of the 10 most employee-friendly cities in the nation.

Earlier this year, the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization in Washington, D.C., noted the program shows the region’s commitment to expanding the global economic reach by identifying the strengths of the area’s businesses. In 2014, the institute recognized Youngstown as the No. 1 area in the country for export growth between 2009 and 2012, as well as sixth in the “export intensity” of the economy.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Marek Gootman, director of strategic partnerships and global initiatives for Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, will meet with members of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, YSU and the Stateline Export Initiative’s steering committee. He also will tour several companies that are either already exporting or looking to start, splitting his time between Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Mousa Kassis, an international trade advisor at YSU’s Williamson College of Business Administration, noted that the Stateline Export Initiative has heeded some of the advice presented by the Brookings Institute.

“When we decided to establish the 10-county OH-PA Stateline Export Initiative, we utilized Brookings Institute research extensively, among other resources,” he said “Marek Gootman and his team provided guidance, directions and invaluable resources to advance our efforts. We are extremely appreciative.”

“We’ve communicated with Mr. Gootman for quite some time via phone and email, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to meet Marek in person,” Boyarko added. “Brookings has been extremely supportive of our current efforts and continually recognizes the Valley’s activity in exporting.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.