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Company helps others expand international business.

Heightened concerns about international travel and security doesn’t mean the global trade effort has been put on hold. Washington-based TradeBuilders Inc. has delivered an alternative solution–and an incentive–to companies looking to expand their business internationally. We recently spoke with Elizabeth Vasquez, co-founder of TradeBuilders, about the company and its virtual trade missions.

What does TradeBuilders do?

TradeBuilders Inc. uses the Internet and other technologies to help facilitate business networking and global alliances. Clients include business associations, government economic development offices, and companies seeking clients and partners in foreign markets.

When was the company founded?

TradeBuilders was founded in 1999. Virginia Littlejohn and myself founded the company.

You’ve teamed up with the Washington, D.C., Technology Council, among others, to host a virtual trade mission starting April 22. How does this kind of forum work and what will the focus be?

The Washington, D.C., Technology Council, the Greater Washington Board of Trade’s International Gateway, the U.S.-Israeli Business Exchange, and TradeBuilders will host a virtual trade mission for companies and government agencies in the Washington, D.C., region that are interested in doing business and developing partnerships with Israeli security firms. It will be the region’s first Internet-based trade mission with Israel, and it will provide companies, governments, and organizations with an efficient and cost-effective opportunity to network and collaborate on securing safe, reliable solutions to perceived threats. TradeBuilders provides the online technology platform, virtual trade mission process and expertise, and helps to coordinate all the organizers in participating countries.

The online environment will provide all participants with access to discussion areas for business networking, a member directory complete with Web site links, a library of valuable resources, and access to guest experts. Guest experts from both countries will include security and procurement specialists, as well as trade, tax, finance, law, accounting, insurance, and other relevant professionals.

How can virtual trade missions help companies, especially given the current economic climate?

Virtual trade missions help companies learn about foreign markets and identify business opportunities at a very low cost and no real risk. At a time when travel and marketing budgets have been slashed and executives are less willing to fly because of security concerns and long delays at airports, a virtual trade mission can help to ensure that executives have a solid business opportunity waiting for them in a foreign market before they leave their office for 1-2 weeks.

What else can we expect to see from TradeBuilders in the near future?

TradeBuilders will be working with the Washington, D.C., Technology Council and the Greater Washington Board of Trade International Gateway on virtual trade missions in 2002 in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and China. TradeBuilders will also continue working with companies in countries such as Canada, India, and Singapore.

In addition to offering virtual trade missions through influential organizations such as DC Tech and the International Gateway, TradeBuilders will be offering e-seminars for international market readiness and penetration. The first pilot will be offered to technology companies in India that want to do more business in the United States, and the seminars will be expanded to meet demand in other industries and locations.

Do you know a local company we should cover? Let us know about it. Send your local profile candidates to Christy Mulligan.

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