Company

What does TradeBuilders do?
Who are the company’s principals?
How does online collaboration benefit groups?
What are Best Practices AcceleratorTM services?
How can Virtual Trade MissionsTM help companies?


What does TradeBuilders do?

TradeBuilders, Inc., headquartered in Washington, DC:

  • Creates and facilitates online forums and online communities for US and international clients, and helps them share information and ideas
  • Helps organizations develop and organize knowledge from online discussions, and serves as an accelerator for sharing best practices
  • Provides trade facilitation services and Virtual Trade MissionsTM. The company’s founders used videoconferencing and online conferencing to conduct the world’s first virtual trade mission in 1998, with funding from IBM, Lucent Technologies and Royal Bank of Canada

TradeBuilders’ team includes experts in organizational development, economic development, entrepreneurship, communications and international trade. The company helps clients use the Internet, videoconferencing, videostreaming and other technologies to facilitate professional networking, improve organizational development and build global alliances. Clients include business associations, government economic development and trade offices, international organizations, and companies that want to improve their collaboration and increase sales.
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Who are the company’s principals?

Virginia Littlejohn, Chairman and Co-Founder, has worked with a high-level global network from more than 100 countries, including entrepreneurs, association leaders, senior corporate executives from Global 500 companies, and government and trade officials. She was the first Chairman of the International Trade Committees for three organizations: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Council on Small Business, the US Small Business Legislative Council, and the American Express Small Business Partnership. She served as President of the Professional Services Council, which represents the professional and technical services industry in the United States. She is also a Past National President of the National Association of Women Business Owners in the US, and former Vice President of the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs. She currently serves as Senior Advisor to and the North American representative for the 112-country World Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME), headquartered in India.

Elizabeth Vazquez, President and Co-Founder, is an online conferencing expert and international consultant. She has worked with companies such as IBM; banks such as the Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Ireland; and organizations such as the Organization for American States and the Center for International Private Enterprise in Washington DC, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. She holds a Masters of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she studied development economics and international negotiation as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
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How does online collaboration benefit groups?

When groups cannot easily meet face-to-face, TradeBuilders helps them work together effectively, share information and ideas, and secure solid results through private websites for internal and external communication and collaboration. External participants can include non-members, partners, clients and suppliers.

Online conferencing includes secure web-based communication that can be accessed and analyzed by participants at any time, because it does not require live or real-time communication. TradeBuilders’ basic conferencing services include customized success plans for achieving client objectives, customizing and hosting of secure conferencing sites, communication and site facilitation, knowledge management, help desks, and participant training. TradeBuilders can also provide website design services and integrate online project management solutions into conferencing sites.

Conference Planning Case Study: A section of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) based in Paris used TradeBuilders’ services and technology to identify potential international speakers and topics for a 50-country conference on entrepreneurship, globalization and the knowledge-based economy.

Research Case Study: For its client, Project Tsunami, TradeBuilders created an online forum of entrepreneurial researchers from around the world to identify cutting-edge research, develop opportunities for collaboration, identify funding sources, and improve comparability of entrepreneurial research methodologies across countries. Next, these global researchers will help the OECD conduct a multicountry research study that will be released in Istanbul in June 2004 at a 75-country OECD Double Ministerial meeting of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprise Ministers.

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What are Best Practices AcceleratorTM services?

TradeBuilders’ knowledge management experts facilitate online discussions to help clients identify good practices and best practices. The company also helps clients analyze and harvest learnings from online forums, and develop white papers, case studies and best practices in knowledge-based areas such as entrepreneurship, eGovernment, information and communication technologies, security and international trade. Utilizing its online polling and ranking capabilities, TradeBuilders can help clients clarify their objectives, reach consensus, and promote strategic alignment in developing their Best-Practices Action Agendas.

Entrepreneurship Case Study: TradeBuilders is providing Best Practices AcceleratorTM services to Project Tsunami, a global accelerator for women’s entrepreneurship that will be working with policymakers and entrepreneurial experts in 75 countries by the end of 2003. Project Tsunami uses facilitated online forums, videostreaming, online polling, a Global BrainTrust of experts, a best-practices database, online project management, and online action plans to accelerate positive change. Areas of policy and program focus include research, data and statistics; entrepreneurial education and training; access to finance; access to markets; and access to technology.

eGovernment Case Study: TradeBuilders, in partnership with Tarr-Whelan Associates, is providing facilitated online forums, videostreaming and Best Practices AcceleratorTM services to the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development, an arm of the Organization of American States (OAS). Experts from Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will share eGovernment best practices with participants from North America, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

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How can Virtual Trade MissionsTM help companies grow?

TradeBuilders provides an Internet-based platform for governments and business associations that want to help companies in different countries find each other and then build valuable business relationships. TradeBuilders' Virtual Trade MissionsTM help companies learn about foreign markets, while they identify business opportunities at a very low cost and no real risk. Expert business facilitation, online coaching of participants, and carefully structured videoconferencing are the keys to successful Virtual Trade MissionsTM.

At a time when travel and marketing budgets have been slashed and executives are less willing to fly because of security concerns, long delays at airports, and fears of a global respiratory epidemic that can be spread through international travel, a Virtual Trade MissionTM can help to ensure that executives have a solid business opportunity waiting for them in a foreign market before they leave their office for a week or more. These virtual missions can be used to expand international supplier networks, and can also help companies expand their business in domestic markets.

Virtual Trade MissionsTM are designed to complement, rather than replace, face-to-face meetings. Prior to a face-to-face trade mission or trade show, they can help to better prepare participants and increase the likelihood of good matches. Afterwards, they can help facilitate follow-up and negotiation of deals. Virtual missions are also used to handle some of the communication needs and logistical challenges associated with traditional trade events. In addition, they provide a forum to showcase videostreamed presentations by senior trade officials.

Case Study: TradeBuilders has successfully conducted Virtual Trade MissionsTM to such countries as Canada, Germany, India, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. Areas of focus have included knowledge-based industries such as software development, digital asset management, content management for websites, eGovernment, eLearning, wireless, facilities security, cyber and data security, and security training. Clients and partners have included companies such as Delta Airlines, Ernst & Young, IBM and Royal Bank of Canada; government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Small Business Administration, Invest UK and the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC; and organizations such as the Greater Washington Board of Trade’s International Gateway and gotoBavaria. Baroness Symons, the British Minister for Trade and Investment, provided a videostreamed keynote address for TradeBuilders’ virtual mission between the United Kingdom and the U.S.

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