Holá Empresario!

The SBA is recruiting entrepreneurs for a low-cost trade mission to Mexico City

Interested in doing business in Mexico? The U.S. Small Business Administration is coordinating a two-day trade mission to Mexico City in late March with the goal of introducing small businesses to potential customers, partners, and investment opportunities.

The program includes a one-day conference offering entrepreneurs a crash course in cross-border trade, with seminars on shipping, customs regulations, and introductions to pre-screened Mexican companies.

Such trips are particularly useful for companies that have never done business outside the U.S., says Richard Ginsburg, a Mexico trade specialist with the SBA, which, along with the Commerce Dept. and the Mexican government, is sponsoring the mission. As far as government-sponsored excursions go, "this is going to be the cheapest," says Ginsburg.

The fee for translators and the business-to-business matchmaking service is $600. Ginsburg estimates the total cost of the trip, including the fee and travel-related expenses, would be about $1,500 -- far less than the typical cost of trade missions to Eastern Europe or Asia.

More information is posted on the SBA's Web site. The deadline for registration is Mar. 9, but the SBA will entertain latecomers if space is still available. Of course, there's no guarantee the junket will pay off in new sales: Even with all the official handholding, clinching the deal is still up to you.

By Julie Fields in New York

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