Through networking at an event hosted by the Princeton Innovation Center, I met Jean. She works for the State of New Jersey International Export Department. I followed up with her via email the following morning, and we setup a phone call. Here’s a quick video I published to Instagram from the event:
Jean asked me to be prepared to talk through how I plan to export Prethinc products and services overseas. Until I met Jean, I hadn’t actually thought through the process of going global, yet. It seemed like a helpful exercise. A few hours before our call I sketched through a few iterations of a storyboard. I sent her this prototype before the call:
While on the call, Jean explained to me that the above was a good start. However, if we want to create more jobs in New Jersey through international export then I would need to rethink my strategy. The above storyboard is how I would scale Prethinc and develop the local economic areas of the nations where we bring Prethinc, but I hadn’t yet thought through who would do the work and whether NJ or USA would reap rewards. I love my country, I love NJ, and Jean’s advice made sense to me.
Therefore, it seemed, I had to think through the initial conflict between “what is in the best interest of New Jersey” and “what is in the best interest of the global citizen”.
I quickly came up with a new iteration on the call. I asked for Jean’s feedback to find out if I wrapped my head around the export concept, or not. As a design thinking social entrepreneur, I naturally presented myself with this design challenge:
How might we scale Prethinc on the global level while prioritizing the economic development of my roots (NJ, USA), and also adding value to the nations of which we bring Prethinc?
I mentioned to Jean that part of what Prethinc does is offer digital learning modules to help empathetic entrepreneurs learn (at their own pace) how to turn their ideas into businesses. The more nations of which we bring Prethinc = the more jobs I can create in New Jersey.
Well, we will need to increase the depth and scale of learning modules each time we bring Prethinc to a new country. We would need translators to turn our learning modules into various new languages, instructional designers to produce content, and relatable individuals in the videos we produce (all of which are capabilities Prethinc develops from within our inernal teams).
Jean was excited about this idea, and let me know it was a win. She walked me through the process of applying for State of NJ funding that would reimburse Prethinc for translation services – as well as a series of other reimbursement funding related to exporting NJ products and services internationally. I was blown away at the type of services and support available through this great state.
Jean mentioned Canada might be the first country that would make most sense for Prethinc. Without a language barrier and its geographic proximity would make Canada “low-hanging fruit”, as Jean called it.
It wasn’t until this call did I have my mind opened to leveraging United States exporting services to create jobs for people in New Jersey while scaling Prethinc internationally. Jean was easy to speak with, and provided value throughout the call by walking me through the process of leveraging international export services offered through the State of New Jersey. If you’d like an introduction, please reach out.
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