Free export research for Ohio companies

ODOD Global Markets Division

ODOD Global Markets Division

What?  Free you say?

You may be surprised to learn that your state tax dollars pay for a whole division of certified professionals whose only goal is to help Ohio companies sell more abroad, to export more in more markets.  The Global Markets Division is housed within the Ohio Department of Development and also has offices around the world.  They provide a bunch of free services (and some pay like trade missions).  This blog post will cover the free research + consulting assistance they provide.  On July 30, I had the chance to meet with more than half the GMD staff.  A great experience.

Who is the best candidate for these services?

According to Deputy Director Kuehn, GMD staff spend a lot of time working to find the appropriate companies.  Most companies have never heard of GMD and the services they offer.  What are the companies most suited to take advantage of these services?  The sweet spot, according to Kuehn, is usually companies up to $50M in revenue, but with a range of $5-100M.  They have a quality product that is proven in US marketplace.  Ideally, it is also a company that has some level of experience exporting. 

Step 1 – Meet with a Global Trade Development Manager

The usual first step is for a Trade Development Manager (GTDM) to meet and/or talk to a company, go over services that the State has and determine whether ODOD’s services are potential good fit.  If the answer is yes, the company moves on to Step 2, filling out the EAA.  The GTDM for the Springfield MSA (Clark County) is Kari Garnes.  You can reach Kari at or by phone to set up an appointment.   

Step 2 – The Export Assistance Application

If it’s determined that there seems to be a fit, a company will be asked to fill out the 5-page Export Assistance Application (EAA).  It asks for background information about the company, its products/services, and what markets they’re in.  The EAA is then reviewed internally in Columbus and by the international offices.

Step 3 – Market Prioritization

After reviewing the application, and typically within 24 to 48 hours, assuming everything is correct, the exact service (QCR, CMR, or IMA) is determined as well as the markets ODOD will help with.   Typically, the company selects four top markets, and ODOD helps them with one or two.

Step 4 – Reports

The turnaround time on the deliverable back to the company from the State can range from two weeks to six months, depending on what’s going on in the Global Markets Division at the time (e.g., Governor’s mission).  It usually takes 50-200 hours to complete the reports.  Three are three types of reports:

  • Qualified Contacts + Basic Market Research Report (QCR) – the State works to identify potential agents and distributors interested in selling/rep’ing the product (not end customers).  Basic industry and country information is also provided in addition to contact info.  Companies that want to travel to visit the market can get additional assistance from Ohio’s international office in that market. 
  • Custom Market Research Report (CMR) – the State works to answer a very specific question or information request from a company. 
  • Initial Market Assessment (IMA) – quick and dirty assessment of a product or service’s viability in a market.  Columbus staff and international offices discuss and provide feedback.  No formal report. 

Springfield MSA/Clark County companies that have used GMD services


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