MU International Trade Center Global Market Research & Training

Photo: The MU contingent at the 20204 NASBITE International Conference.

The goal of the MU International Trade Center is to promote economic development and aid in the international decision-making of Missouri businesses, while providing MU students, tomorrow’s business leaders, with opportunities for experiential learning. 

For the past ten years, the MU ITC has utilized the time and talent of student interns and MU faculty, along with leading market research databases, to conduct customized research to meet the needs of small- to medium-sized business across Missouri. Each semester, the center works to recruit four companies that have interest in expanding their sales internationally and 16 undergraduate student interns to complete the research and data analysis required to support completion of these projects. 

The research completed provides the participating business with information they can use to effectively evaluate global market opportunities in a timely, meaningful and affordable way. Working with the MU ITC better positions them to strategically enter new markets and expand in the global marketplace. The participating students gain direct hands-on experience in connecting with business leaders, insight into the dynamics of identifying and evaluating potential markets, and opportunities to enhance their project management, global market research, data analysis, communication, and teamwork skills.

Since Fall 2014, 107 company projects have been completed, involving 396 student interns. 

Each fall, the MU ITC, along with trade assistance partners from across the region, hosts the Mid-America Trade Summit. The summit, modeled after NASBITE International’s National Small Business Exporter Summit, brings together top exporters, global trade leaders and trade assistance providers from across Mid-America (Missouri and the surrounding 8 states). Outstanding exporters are invited to share their export stories, highlighting best practices and lessons learned that have contributed to their export success. The summit's fast-paced, high-touch format provides exporters, trade assistance providers and educators with direct access to high-level networking and shared-learning opportunities designed to guide export expansion. This is a premier regional event for companies focused on advancing trade and driving business growth.

Launched in 2018, the trade summit has attracted more than 600 attendees. Originally held as a face-to-face event, the summit transitioned online during COVID. Participant feedback shows support for overall convenience and cost reduction, so we have retained the virtual delivery format.