North Florida companies reap benefits of trade mission to Costa Rica

E.Benson, CEO, B & G Educational Innovations, meeting with Physicians and Adminstrators from UCIMED, San Jose, Costa Rica

E.Benson, CEO, B & G Educational Innovations, meeting with Physicians and Adminstrators from UCIMED, San Jose, Costa Rica




By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

6 hours ago

Two North Florida tech companies are already seeing results from a trade mission to Costa Rica conducted Feb. 26 to Mar. 1.

Jacksonville-based B&G Educational Innovations LLC, a manufacturer of medical and veterinary training devices, and Gainesville-based GreenTechnologies LLC, a manufacturer of slow-release fertilizer, were among more than 20 Florida businesses who took part in the four-day trade mission to Costa Rica.

BGEI CEO Elizabeth Benson said the trade mission, put on by Enterprise Florida Inc. and the U.S. Commercial Service, was seamless.

"There was no downtime," said Benson, whose company was a 2016 One Spark award winner. "They had us set up morning to evening with people who wanted to do business with us."

Benson is already negotiating contracts with three groups in Costa Rica, she said, and a medical school told her that BGEI products are already on its budget for next year.

Doing business during the mission was simple, Benson said. She had bios of everyone she met before she met them, had the help of an interpreter and was supported financially by a grant.

"It was like a well-oiled machine," she said.

Benson is looking to ramp up her company's manufacturing in Melbourne, find an international distributor and hire more in Jacksonville to help with order fulfillment. She is already looking for opportunities to go on other trade missions and has received invitations for trips to Brazil and South Africa.

Marla Buchanan, COO of GreenTechnologies, also had a successful trip.

"The trade mission will result in additional export sales for GreenTechnologies, not only in Costa Rica, but Honduras and other Latin American countries as well,” Buchanan said in a statement.

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