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OPIC to Hold Minority and Women-owned Business Workshop in Boston


Friday, July 17, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Lawrence Spinelli, Acting President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), announced today that OPIC will conduct a workshop in Boston for minority- and women-owned businesses in the greater New England area – the latest in a series that has educated more than 750 small and medium-sized business (SME) owners around the country about investment opportunities overseas and the OPIC products that can help SMEs take advantage of them.

The Expanding Horizons workshop will be held September 24 at the Westin Hotel at Copley Place.

Elizabeth J. Weber, co-founder and director of Edge Development Group, Inc. (EDG), a business consulting firm based in Ridgefield, Connecticut, will be keynote speaker. EDG has worked extensively in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, assisting governments in the formulation and the implementation of international inward investment programs. Ms. Weber is a past president of the Connecticut chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and a founder and past chair of NAWBO’s International Forum.

After opening remarks by Dr. Spinelli, the workshop will begin with a panel discussion on government programs featuring James Cox, Northeast network director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Commercial Service; John Joyce, New England export finance manager for the U.S. Small Business Administration; William Laraque, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic business development officer for the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.; Susan Rittscher, president and CEO of the Center for Women & Enterprise; Leslie Schweitzer, senior trade advisor for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and Richard Torborg, business development specialist for the Minority Business Development Agency’s Boston Regional Enterprise Center.

In an addition to customary workshop sessions on OPIC products such as political risk insurance and financing for SMEs, the Boston event will feature a new session on OPICsupport for renewable energy and clean energy technology projects, a new area of focus for the agency.

“OPIC’s Expanding Horizons workshops have informed hundreds of minority and women-owned business owners from coast to coast about how OPIC products can gain them access to emerging markets overseas. As such, they have been OPIC’s most successful vehicle for domestic outreach to date. We expect that success to continue in the greater Boston area, and look forward to meeting with business owners in September.”

OPIC held Expanding Horizons workshops in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles during 2006, and in Miami, Newark, San Francisco and Houston in 2007. Combined attendance for the workshops was 765 participants, representing 22 states. Sixty-seven organizations supported the workshops.