thomas_masters2_web.jpgRIVIERA BEACH — Mayor Thomas Masters says he is determined to bring both big and small business opportunities to Riviera Beach and this Thursday, Nov. 7, Enterprise Florida, a state agency, will partner with the city to host a free international trade seminar.

The free event will focus on exporting goods and services from Florida to around the world.

“This will be particularly good for small businesses in the city to get their products out there in an international market,” Masters said in a telephone interview. “We’re always looking for means to strengthen businesses and how they can expand their business. “This is a great opportunity. This seminar will teach people how to be exporters, which, in our global economy, can be a highly lucrative endeavor. Enterprise  Florida stands ready to help people be successful.”

 The event, called “Opportunities in International Trade,” will be held from 2 to 4 p.m.,  in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. It is open to the public and even those who are not yet in business are welcome to attend.

The seminar will be led by John Diep, Enterprise Florida’s regional manager of International Trade Development. The public-private agency is the state’s economic development arm and its vast array of programs and services focus exclusively on international trade, with offices and connections around the world.

“We wanted to bring the knowledge and contact information to Florida businesses. Last year in merchandise alone, we exported $90 billion in merchandise. It’s a big industry,” said Diep. 

Masters is hoping trade and tourism opportunities will open up as a result of Thursday seminar. “Out of this, maybe some trade and tourism opportunities [will materialize]. We are an international city, a port city, and we have a marina. This could prove to be an excellent opportunity for our marina,” he said.

The seminar will be an in-depth, two-hour seminar.  The discussions will cover a host of issues, including, identifying the right products and the right foreign markets for them, export financing and product pricing considerations and international business planning.

Masters met Diep in June when a sister-city delegation from Freeport, Bahamas visited Riviera Beach. While here, the delegation and Masters met with officials from the Business Development Board, Enterprise Florida and the Palm Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau to discuss trade and tourism. Diep later contacted Masters about the seminar. “I made the offer and he (Masters) recognized the vast opportunity here,” said Diep.   Masters is hoping big and small business owners will come out and take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves. Diep says he has been informed that 40 persons have signed up for the seminar.

Masters’ push for business growth is the second prong of a two-pronged approach that includes reducing crime so as to make the city more attractive to entrepreneurs. He says he wants the city to be known for its opportunities and resources instead of crime. The international trade seminar is another effort to put the city in a positive light, he said.