About the Chafee Center

The John H. Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University is named for the late Rhode Island Senator, a longtime advocate of international trade and the benefits of introducing new markets to our nation's businesses.

The Chafee Center provides comprehensive international trade services for businesses to expand into international markets. Through global market research, corporate training, and strategic consulting, the Chafee Center helps local, regional, and national companies get their products and services to more customers in more places around the world.

International Business Consulting 

The Chafee Center provides comprehensive international trade services for businesses to expand into international markets. The Center has an extensive network of strategic partners around the world. In addition to our partners, we have an in-house staff, a team of international specialists and student researchers from Bryant and other regional universities and colleges to help companies reach their international goals. We assist companies both locally and regionally by providing:

  • International market research

  • Market entry strategies for countries around the world

  • Assistance in developing international channel partners

  • Assistance in developing global pricing models

  • SWOT analysis: (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)

  • International business plan writing

  • Assessment of a company's global supply chain strategy

Through these programs, the Chafee Center assists more than 200 companies with international consulting needs annually.

Research and Studies

The Chafee Center provides companies and government agencies with comprehensive independent research. The comprehensive reports are used in a wide range of activities, covering areas such as economic planning; measuring the impact of existing or planned regulations; solving budget problems; making best use of local, regional or national resources; determining best markets; taking advantage of emerging opportunities in clean energy and high technology; improving and expanding infrastructure; and determining export opportunities. Some examples include:

  • Rhode Island Port Study

  • Economic Studies

  • Energy Studies (e.g. cost of sales)

  • Country Specific Studies

  • Rhode Island vs. National vs. Global Trade Export/Import Studies

International Business Student Practicum

In addition to providing international business consulting services, the Chafee Center also works with Bryant’s International Business faculty to partner with regional firms who want to expand globally – some for the first time and others who want to move to the next level in exporting their products and services. Working in partnership with the Chafee Center, students enrolled in Bryant’s International Business (BSIB) program work in teams as part of the senior year IB practicum to study these firms, conduct market research, and develop actionable strategic plans to help them achieve their goals.

World Trade Center Rhode Island and Rhode Island Export Assistance Center 

The Chafee Center houses  the World Trade Center Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Export Assistance Center. Strong partnerships with the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) and other regional and national business development programs enable the Chafee Center to offer a range of resources for companies, universities, and government organizations.

International Business Training 

The Chafee Center offers numerous options for training in a wide range of international business topics, including both import and export issues. Recent programs have included:

  • The International Professional Series at Bryant University provides an opportunity for trade professionals to enhance their knowledge of pertinent international business topics and prepare them for Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) Certification . The series of six half-day seminars provides a platform for business professionals to expand their knowledge base, remain up-to-date on the latest trade issues, and learn best practices in six core areas: Global Business Management, Global Marketing, Global Supply Chain, Export Regulations, Import Regulation and Trade Finance.

  • One or two-day Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) seminars   providing in-depth training in import regulations, 

  • The annual  Northeast Supply Chain Management Summit  brings together executives, business owners, supply chain experts and professionals for in-depth conversations related to best practices, innovative technology trends, and the rules and regulations affecting the supply chain.

The Global Competency Series is a unique program that allows companies to involve as many of their employees in the training as they would like and allows them to focus the training on areas related to their international business activity.

Customized programs 
In addition to half day or full day seminars open to all companies and individuals, the Center also offers the option to design customized programs that would address an individual company’s specific needs and interests and could be held on-site at the company’s own facility. Contact the Chafee Center at 401-232-6407 to find out more about how to develop a custom training program for your company. 

Rhode Island Economic Development Partnership 

Through the Center’s strong partnership with the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) , additional programs are available to support local companies in their export activities. RIEDC's Export Management Training Grant program provides funding to Rhode Island companies for customized export training programs, including business plan development, market entry strategies, export logistics, international trade show development, certification training and foreign language training. This program is offered in partnership with the Governor's Workforce Board.

Eligible Rhode Island companies may apply for up to $5,000 in matching funds to address their international training needs. Consortiums may receive additional funding. The goal of the Export Management Training Grant Program is to create jobs in Rhode Island by boosting exports.

The International Trade Office  

Work with businesses to develop customized training to fit their export needs. Companies may implement training in the following areas: International Business Plan Development; Market Entry Strategies; Export Logistics; International Business Development Mission/ Trade Show Development; Language Training. Customized export training is funded by the Governor's Workforce Board and administered by the RIEDC.

International Organizations Linkages

Through its relationship with the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), the Chafee Center provides a trade mission program that coordinates trips to foreign countries for Rhode Island companies interested in exporting. The RIEDC export assistance team helps companies develop detailed export sales and marketing goals, compelling product descriptions and distribution strategies. Based on a company's needs, the export assistance team can provide market research in target countries and schedule customized country visits. RIEDC also provides in-country logistical support, as well as pre- and post-mission support services.

Chafee Center Events  

Bryant Economic Summit
At the Bryant Economic Summit each year, usually in March, some 200 business, government, and academic leaders from throughout Rhode Island and the region discuss and debate the local and regional economies.

World Trade Day 

At World Trade Day held in May each year, business leaders from around the region attend for: 

  • An insider’s view into regional firms achieving global success.

  • Interactive discussions on best practices for navigating the global marketplace.

  • Networking and collaborate to build relationships, partnerships, and processes to achieve their goals.

L.I.F.E. Program 
The annual LIFE Program is open to minority high school students who have international interests.

Northeast Supply Chain Management Summit 
The annual  Northeast Supply Chain Management Summit held each year in August brings together executives, business owners, supply chain experts and professionals for in-depth conversations related to best practices, innovative technology trends, and the rules and regulations affecting the supply chain.

World Trade Center Rhode Island Services

The World Trade Center Rhode Island (WTCRI) is a partnership between the State of Rhode Island and Bryant University's Chafee Center for International Business. For an annual fee of $250, members gain access to a powerful worldwide network of companies and individuals in both the public and private sector. This network provides access to business, academic, governmental and cultural relationships and opportunities. By utilizing this network, it becomes easier to understand local business practices and cultural nuances within a country as you extend your organization globally. Whether you need market entry assistance, directions within a city or help finding suitable accommodations for lodging or business transactions, the WTC Association is there to help. Other services include:

  • World Trade Center website membership access

  • WTC Network Card - offers discounts and connections to worldwide meeting facilities, hotels and airfares through the network of over 300 member WTC's

  • Trade Card - your link to electronic commerce

  • One free seminar

  • 25% discount on the ITDN for an individual subscription

  • Access global relationships through 279 offices worldwide

SBA 8(a) and 7(j) Trade Leads Matching Program

The international business experience of the Chafee Center team, the availability of the Bryant University faculty, staff and International Business students, and the ability to leverage previously developed in-house web technology has enabled the Chafee Center to provide a unique export training and one-on-one consulting service for 8(a) and 7(j) companies for the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA 8(a) and 7(j) Trade Leads program, now in its second year, is serving 300 companies across the U.S. The program is the model for what is needed on a much greater scale in the U.S. to train more companies in what it takes to develop the ability to export their products and services, to find trade leads, and thereby grow their business and provide more jobs in the U.S.

Rhode Island Economic Development Team Member

As part of the Rhode Island Economic Development Team, the Chafee Center plays an important role in actively marketing the benefits of Rhode Island regionally, nationally and internationally. One example is the initiative to develop “Rhode Island Ranks High,” a compilation that clearly shows the strong positions Rhode Island already holds across many categories, including business climate, economic incentives and policies, technology and energy environment, health and safety, higher education, location, and lifestyle and entertainment. This report can play a substantial role in the marketing of RI to attract businesses and people to our fine state.

The Chafee Center also works to support Rhode Island business development by supporting initiatives that include access to capital, and other programs at EDCs. Partner organizations include:

  • U.S. Department of Commerce

  • SBA -- U.S. Small Business Administration

  • SBDC -- Rhode Island Small Business Development Center

  • RIMES -- Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Partnership

  • RIMA -- Rhode Island Manufacturing Association

  • CWE – Center for Women and Enterprise

  • PTAC – Procurement Technical Assistance Center

  • Chamber of Commerce networks

  • OSBDA – Ocean State Business Development Authority

  • Universities and colleges

  • Private business partnerships

Manufacturing Reinvention and Global Business Development Strategy

The U.S. continues to lead the world in the dollar value of manufacturing output. However, the overall manufacturing industry has been on a decline in the U.S. for three decades as many labor intensive industries moved their manufacturing operations offshore and as growing nations took advantage of market opportunities. Today, less than 10 percent of U.S. employment is in manufacturing. As GE CEO Jeff Immelt has noted, “There is nothing predestined or inevitable about the industrial decline of the U.S., if we as a people are prepared to reverse it.”

The Chafee Center is working with key groups, such as RIMA (the Rhode Island Manufacturing Association) and RIMES (the Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Partnership) to help renew manufacturing in the U.S. by focusing on export opportunities. While three-fourths of the world’s market is outside of U.S. borders, few U.S. companies export. A January 2010 report from the U.S. International Trade Commission shows that less than one percent of the 27 million U.S. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) export. Given the current state of the U.S. economy and the need for jobs in the U.S., more companies need to find new markets. There is a clear opportunity for these companies to take advantage of the potential demand for their products and services in the global market. Such companies clearly need help in getting started, finding the opportunities, understanding the process and acquiring the needed financial and other resources. This is the key value provided by the Chafee Center through many of its programs, including a unique Global Business Opportunity Center planned for 2011.

For more information, please contact:
John H. Chafee Center for International Business
Phone: (401) 232-6407
Email: chafeecenter@bryant.edu