Begin exporting by taking advantage of local resources to help you get started in international trade. Whether you are a student who is looking to enter the workforce, an incumbent worker who is looking for international trade career development information or considering a career transition into global commerce, or a small and expanding business that wants to become export ready, the LA region has services available to you.

Many pre-venture businesses and business start-ups are categorized as “new-to-export”. Here we focus attention on helping nascent businesses become export ready, plan for export expansion, and know the resources available locally.  Many private sector service providers are able to assist as you move from one stage to the next. However, some businesses will also be eligible for public services which are often at no or low cost.

Become Informed

Keep current with global news, issues and policies that may have an impact on international trade. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce has a weekly global trade newsletter; the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) has a weekly Council for International Trade Newsletter and the federal government has many options to connect from their newsletters, blog, podcasts, and more.

Learn About International Trade Careers

The international trade career pathways video series looks at a variety of jobs within the four domains of international trade–global business management, global marketing, trade finance and supply chain management. The series allows you to access practical, real-world information from industry professionals for a better understanding of important skills. You will also learn about opportunities and resources for career development.

Join International Trade Education Programs (ITEP)

International Trade Education Programs (ITEP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that connects the international trade business community to the classroom in order to develop career-ready, college-prepared high school students. If you are a high-school level student attending one of the schools listed below, talk with your school adviser about how you can join your school’s global business academy.

  • Phineas Banning High School
  • Barstow High School
  • Carson High School
  • Gardena High School
  • Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School
  • San Pedro High School
  • Narbonne High School
  • McClymonds High School
  • Crenshaw High School
  • J.F. Kennedy High School
  • Washington Prep High School
  • Bassett High School

If your school is not currently working with ITEP but would like to learn how and start your own global business academy or if you are not a high-school level student but would like to be a supporter, either as an Industry Leader volunteer for student coaching or by making a financial contribution, contact ITEP, Inc. today.

Sign-up for the On-line Youth Entrepreneurship Program

The state-funded Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) provides young entrepreneurs with free business training and counseling in areas including business start-up, management, marketing, finance, and more. Online training modules are available in both English and Spanish for youth between the ages of 14 to 27 interested in starting a business or curious about self-employment as a possible career path.

Expand Your Professional Network

Joining professional organizations and industry associations will help you network and learn; meet international trade community members locally and see what hot topics and other issues are facing industry today. Many non-profit trade organizations will offer a reduced student membership rate.

Participate in Export & Import Training

Sign-up for export and import training through your local U.S. Export Assistance Center, Small Business Development Center and/or International Trade Center. Enroll in your District Export Council’s (DEC) Export University training for in-depth understanding.


Enroll in Export & Import Curriculum

Earn a  certificate or degree in international trade or a related field. AACSB accredited business schools and the directory of California schools.

Apply for Scholarships

Look for scholarships available to international business students. Many schools will use Fastweb to assist students with identifying different types of scholarships. In Los Angeles, the World Trade Week Education Committee awards a couple scholarships annually as does Women in International Trade-Los Angeles.

Seek out Internships & Apprenticeships

Learn by doing. Many organizations have student volunteer or internship programs. This is an excellent way to be introduced to international trade and identify what career path you are most passionate. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Global Initiatives, the U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC), and the California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD) offer international trade internship programs locally.

Achieve Professional Certification

Take the Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) examination to demonstrate your competence in understanding global commerce.

Become Export-Ready

Take the Export Readiness Assessment by the U.S. Commercial Service. This questionnaire highlights characteristics common to successful exporters. You will receive a score once you complete the questionnaire, which will help you to assess your export readiness, as well as an identification of areas your business needs to strengthen to improve its export activities.

Develop Your Export Growth Plan

It all begins with a plan–develop yours today! The Small Business Administration has the Export Business Planner which is a very helpful tool to help you get started. Manufacturers are eligible to enroll in ExportTech, a corporate management program that will develop an export growth plan while participating in a 24-hour training program that brings export-experts to you. The Export Champions program works with business students at both USC Marshall School of Business and UCLA Anderson School of Business where business teams will conduct primary market research in-country to develop your strategic business plan

Take Advantage of Business Counseling Services (Case Management)

Federal and state programs provide confidential one-on-one business consulting to assist with international trade development and market expansion. California-based entrepreneurs and businesses that are export capable but not yet “export-ready” may receive support from the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD), and California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC)–a Manufacturing Extension Partner for Southern California. Export-ready firms with U.S. products or services are eligible for assistance from the District Export Councils (DEC), the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Centers (for export promotion) and the Bureau of Industry and Security (for export regulations). Businesses interested in learning about U.S. export finance programs can also consult with the Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. All of the agencies and offices listed have a local or district office in the Los Angeles region.

Please note that while international trade counseling services are available at no cost to eligible businesses, appointments are often required in advance. Additionally, client in-take forms and business assessments may be required to satisfy public funding mandates. For example, SBDCs are obliged to account for the clients they serve, the services they provide, and their client outcomes resulting from their assistance. Accordingly, while the trade specialists and business advisors are happy to respond to questions at conferences or provide limited advice by phone, they respectfully require all clients seeking one-on-one appointments with counseling staff to comply with their office protocol.

Participate in International Trade Programs

There are a variety of trade-training and business-matching programs available locally for all levels of international trade expertise. Some programs are industry and/or market specific while others are more horizontal and available to all exporters; review the available options to see what best addresses your needs and interests.

Advocate for Free & Fair Trade

Become an advocate for free and fair trade by joining the California Chamber of Commerce’s (CalChamber) Coalition for Free Trade. This coalition is a broad-based group of companies and business organizations working to secure a national free trade agenda. In joining the coalition, you will be kept apprised of  international activities and your attention will be brought towards ways that you can be supportive of the free trade agenda.