Bernadette Wiltz-Lang, SUSTA
Reflecting on 2021
Finding Positive Outcomes in a Turnaround Year
It’s June, which means we’re half-way through the 2022 program year and we’re done with our six-month follow-up reviews from all the 2021 activities that took place. The bottom-line, as you all know, is that the ongoing disruptions of 2021 were challenging.
First, let me thank all of you for completing your activity surveys; the data and feedback we receive is vitally important, and has been even more so over the past two years. I especially want to thank those of you who gave detailed comments about the challenges you faced in 2021, whether it was higher costs, labor availability, transportation costs and booking, or issues going on in your target markets that impacted you participation in SUSTA’s programs. All of this gives us important insights into how to be more effective in supporting your future efforts.
While there is no getting around the fact that overall exports sales in 2021 were well below pre-pandemic normal, there is a lot of good news that I wanted to share with you. For example, 94 companies made export sales under SUSTA’s Global Events and 50% CostShare programs in 2021. These sales reflect the increases in the number of products introduced, buyer connections made, and new distributorships established during the year as a result of marketing through SUSTA’s programs. All those categories were up in 2021 and will provide momentum into 2022.
Overall, SUSTA companies’ products were exported to a total of 47 countries, from Australia to Zambia. That includes 31 first-time export sales made to a new market. Those new-to-market export sales included exceptional sales growth in the Latin America and Caribbean region and shipment to proven markets in Europe and the Middle East. These sales to new markets will provide those companies a book of business to grow in the coming years.
We also received great feedback from the more than 550 companies who participated in our one-on-one consultations with SUSTA’s in-country consultants, participated in our educational webinars, and engaged with our Export Helpline. These offerings helped companies refine their marketing strategies, conduct due diligence on new markets, and just learn more about the how-to of exporting.
All these educational and support activities are still available in 2022, as well as a number of great export promotions from live trade shows to inbound and outbound trade missions during the rest of the year.
Go to your MySUSTA account to see what is coming that can help you build your export business plan. Let us help you make 2022 your year for export success. .