Small Business Growth and Resiliency Through Export Opportunities in U.S. – Korea Trade Conference

Greater Seattle Partners in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Commerce, Port of Seattle, and Coupang, Amazon and the U.S. Small Business Administration hosted a conference offering small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to learn more about growth through exporting with an emphasis on the South Korean market.

“South Korea consistently ranks as Greater Seattle’s top 3 trading partner for exports and imports with total trade exceeding $80 billion between us in the past ten years,” said Brian Surratt, CEO & President, Greater Seattle Partners. “This long-standing mutually beneficial relationship provides a strong foundation for more of our small to medium-sized companies to increase their exports to South Korea, while also diversifying risk and growing faster. The reception and conference was an excellent opportunity to gain invaluable global insights and connections from our expert trade partners.”

Leadership from the U.S. Small Business Administration gave remarks in addition to U.S. Representative Marilyn Strickland and the South Korean Ambassador. Ravenox CEO, Sean Brownlee, participated in the Business Roundtable: Seller Success in Korea Panel. He provided insights from over a decade of experience as a marketplace leader and helped guide entrepreneurs and veteran exporters with strategies for online selling and exporting.

(l-r) Coupang Director of Ecommerce Adam Poole, Coupang Marketplace Aggregator Mamenta Tommy Vogtman, Payoneer North America Director of Marketing Eduardo Fernandes, and Ravenox CEO Sean Brownlee speak during the business roundtable.

The Sept. 8 conference was geared towards small and medium-sized business owners or entrepreneurs who already export to Korea and want to expand or are interested in selling to the Korean market. The conference provided attendees with:

  • information on exporting to the Korean market
  • market opportunities
  • accessing capital to support exports
  • resources to help small businesses to export development, including finding buyers

“As the most trade-centric state economy in America, exporting represents a tremendous opportunity for Washington state companies to grow through accessing robust and growing international markets,” said Washington State Department of Commerce Assistant Director Chris Green. “Building on a long history of economic and cultural ties with Korea, we look forward to helping open doors for more small businesses and entrepreneurs through this exciting event.”

(l-r) Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Washington State Rep. Cindy Ryu, US SBA Administrator Isabelle Casillas Guzman, Seattle Port Commissioner Sam Cho, Washington Commerce Director Lisa Brown and Ambassador of South Korea to the US Cho Tae-yong spoke during the morning plenary session at an SBA-sponsored conference on export opportunities in US-Korea trade in Seattle.

“This group of partners has identified a unique opportunity to make a concerted effort to reach out to a specific community, the Korean diaspora in the U.S., to connect these small businesses to export opportunities in South Korea, one of the most dynamic economies of the Pacific Rim,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Sam Cho. “Through my own personal experience, I know the potential of this strategy, and the Port is working to explore every avenue to connect small businesses to the resources and innovative strategies they need to reach their full potential.”

Through exporting, companies not only grow their business but also build international relationships and create jobs that strengthen communities throughout Washington state,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “As the most trade-centered state in the US, STEP funding is one of the most effective tools we have to provide opportunities for businesses seeking to enter global markets and expand.”

For information about STEP export vouchers, Go Global or other Commerce programs that help Washington businesses grow, expand and locate in Washington State, please visit

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