Alabama International Trade Center
|Parent agency||U.S. Small Business Administration|
The Alabama International Trade Center was created in 1979 as one of the first international SBDCs. Since its inception, the AITC has provided export trade research, education, finance, and training throughout Alabama. The AITC is located at and is funded by the through the . The ASBDC is an accredited affiliate of the national network of Small Business Development Centers and a member of the
History & Personnel
Dr. William R. Bennett, Emeritus Professor of Marketing and International Business at the University of Alabama, founded the Trade Center in 1979. AITC was one of the first university-based small business development centers in the country that focused specifically on international trade. Following Dr. Bennett's retirement in 1983, Ms. Nisa Miranda, who had helped Bennett establish the Center while completing her MBA, was promoted to Director. Miranda would oversee the Center's growth and development for the next 21 years, helping the Center become designated as SBA's State Model of Excellence in International Trade. (Miranda has since moved on to become Director of the University of Alabama's )
In 2004, Mr. Brian Davis, who had served as the Trade Center's Associate Director since 1985, took over as Director. Davis is the former president of the Alabama World Trade Association (AWTA) and NASBITE International. In addition to serving on the University's Advisory Board for International Business, Davis also teaches an import-export class at the Culverhouse College of Commerce & Business Administration.
AITC currently employs several consultants:
- Michael J. Brooks, Assistant Director - Research & Training
- Carolyn Turner, International Trade Specialist
- Pablo Diaz, Export Trade Consultant
- Deborah van der Toorn, Export Trade Consultant
- Amber Summers, Project Accountant
- Karla Jordan, Administrative Assistant
In addition to the professional staff, AITC employs up to 20 Research Fellows as part of its research staff. The Research Fellows are hired on a competitive basis, and consist of graduate and undergraduate students with expertise in market research, business strategy, foreign relations, political science, and foreign languages. Mr. Brooks has been in charge of hiring and training the research staff since 1998; Brooks also serves as the Center's Senior International Trade Specialist.
The Trade Center is part of the, a statewide network of 10 management and technical assistance centers.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a United States government agency that provides support to small businesses. The SBA was created by way of the Small Business Act of July 30, 1953.
The mission of the AITC is to increase the level of export trade activity throughout Alabama, fostering development and expansion of the state’s economy. Its goals are: 1) to serve existing industry on a one-on-one basis, 2) to assist the State of Alabama and other agencies by initiating joint projects, researching industries, and targeting foreign markets, and 3) to further the University’s mission of research and service by focusing on practical international trade education and training.
Export Alabama Trade Alliance
The Alabama International Trade Center is a founding member of the Export Alabama Trade Alliance. Export Alabama is a group of government agencies, business and professional associations, and economic development entities in Alabama that share the fundamental goal of helping Alabama companies to grow their business internationally. The list of Export Alabama partners includes:
- Alabama Development Office
- Alabama International Trade Center
- Alabama State Port Authority
- Alabama World Trade Association (AWTA)
- Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Madison County Commission, International Trade Development Center
- Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce
- North Alabama International Trade Association
- Port of Huntsville
- US Chamber of Commerce
- US Department of Commerce, Birmingham & Tallahassee Offices
AITC maintains a nearly comprehensive list of trade events occurring in Alabama, the Southeastern US, and around the world as part of their. The majority of these events are sponsored, co-sponsored, or hosted by one of the members of Export Alabama.
As part of the Export Alabama team, AITC provides input that helps drive the Governor's Annual Trade Strategy.
Small Business Services
The AITC offers a variety of programs designed to facilitate entrepreneurship and assist small businesses:
- Export Market Research
- Targeted Export Assistance & Management (TEAM) Training Program
- Export Trade (EXTRA) Financing Program
- Certified Global Business Professional Program(CGBP)
- The University of Alabama
- SBA 504 Loan
- Small Business Administration
- SCORE Association
- Export-Import Bank of the United States
- New York State Small Business Development Center