U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will join Delta Regional Authority leadership next week in Memphis to participate in the Authority’s “Made in Rural America” Regional Forum focused on boosting rural exports—Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced today.
The forum—to be held Thursday, July 17 at Southwest Tennessee Community College—will convene small business owners, industry representatives, business support organizations, and local, state and federal leaders to discuss ways to help rural businesses grow. Secretary Pritzker will participate in a keynote discussion with Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill about how to enhance opportunities for businesses in the Delta’s rural communities, focusing on increasing exports from the Delta’s many manufacturers, value-added producers, and service providers.
“Boosting export capacity for rural businesses provides a critical opportunity for economic growth in the Delta region,” Chairman Masingill said. “We are excited to have Secretary Pritzker supporting DRA’s efforts and contributing to the conversation at our Made in Rural America forum.”
Exports are critical to the American economy – they fuel economic growth, support good middle class jobs, and unlock opportunity for American companies, farmers, ranchers, and workers to compete in the increasingly global marketplace. More than ever, companies across the United States are seizing the opportunity to make global sales. In fact, exports have driven nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth since 2009. U.S. exports reached an all-time high of $2.3 billion in 2013 -- $700 billion more than in 2009 -- and now support 11.3 million jobs in communities across the country.
Secretary Pritzker recently reaffirmed the Obama Administration’s commitment to U.S. exporters, announcing the National Export Initiative/NEXT strategy in May to help more American businesses of all sizes – including rural businesses – capitalize on new and existing opportunities to sell Made-in-America goods and services abroad.
Rural communities and small businesses are often unaware both of the opportunity to export and the local, state, and federal resources at their disposal. This “Made in Rural America” Regional Forum—hosted by the Delta Regional Authority—will help connect rural communities and small businesses in the Delta region to critical resources and support services available.
The forum is the second of five regional forums to be held across the country as part of the White House Rural Council’s “Made in Rural America” Initiative. At the forum, experienced exporters in the region will highlight successful export strategies; local, state and federal assistance and financing organizations will present on opportunities and resources; and businesses will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with export counselors.