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Bridging the Atlantic: How Eight Small American Businesses Succeeded in Europe (And How You Can Too!)

Bridging the Atlantic: How Eight Small American Businesses Succeeded in Europe (And How You Can Too!)

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Are you a small or medium-sized company executive who would like to go international? Wondering how to expand into the European Union (EU), a rapidly growing market of over 300 million consumers? There are many reasons to export or expand your operations to Europe. With an increasingly integrated economy, Europe is the world's largest trading bloc and a massive, affluent consumer market. All 15 member countries of the European Union enjoy the free movement of capital, goods and labor, and in 2002, willalso have one common currency, known as the "euro" (on Jan. 1, 1999, banking and finance industries began their changeover to the euro). The EU's success at reducing tariffs, eliminating border checks and unifying its currencies makes doing business throughout Europe almost as simple as doing business between Cincinnati and Dallas.

Including Europe in your business plan does not require you to be an expert in international business. There are now large numbers of small and medium-sized U.S. firms taking advantage of all Europe has to offer. Because of the enormous potential to American small and medium-sized business owners, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce decided to seek out a cross-section of private American companies that have successfully established themselves in the European marketplace.

In Bridging the Atlantic: How Eight Small American Businesses Succeeded in Europe (And How You Can Too!), the Chamber tells the stories of eight diverse companies -- a software engineer, advertising agency, lumber company, specialty food firm, biotechnology firm, producer of protective wrap for luggage, a winery and a maker of musical instruments. All share the experience of taking their expertise to Europe, either by exporting their goods and services, or by opening offices overseas. Michael Wilde, Partner in the featured San Francisco ad firm Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, said, "Everybody told us opening an office in London just doesn't happen. We made a statement to ourselves. We have it on our resume now."