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Small business, big goals

On the second floor of the Regnier Center of Johnson County Community College sits a quaint office with a long name.

John AddessiThe Kansas Small Business Development Center is an example of how the college gives great service both to its clients as well as the community at large. John Addessi is one of the Kansas SBDC staff members.

He has been hard at work this year to bring even more knowledge to this growing center, which serves nearly 500 clients and nearly 1,000 seminar attendees every year by helping to fund, build and grow their small businesses.

Addessi’s hard work to improve his value for clients begins with the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators(NASBITE). This organization sets the bar for international trade knowledge and offers one of the most difficult certifications to receive — the Certified Global Business Professional.

“I studied for months,” Addessi said. “[Other people taking the test] walk the walk and talk the talk of international trade every day. I’m not from that world.”

Addessi is now. Despite a grueling 165-question test with only three hours to complete, Addessi passed.

“It’s not very well known,” Addessi said. “About 1,500 people across the United States have (this certification).”

Addessi didn’t stop with this certificate in making himself more knowledgeable for clients. He was recently honored with a Kansas State Star for his efforts and work in the Kansas SBDC. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate excellence in work performance. Addessi and the other Kansas SBDC staffers hope to increase awareness of the tools and knowledge they can bring to the community’s businesses. They’re making an impressive case for themselves so far.

“Our core service has always been financial analysis,” Addessi said, “The Small Business Association (SBA) was really pushing for additional training in exporting. They paid for the test and everything.”

This push for more certified professionals lines up with President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address announcing the National Export Initiative with a goal of doubling the United States’ exports in the coming years.

“We’re hoping to grow businesses through exporting to other countries.” Addessi said, “The U.S. is a great market, but it’s 5 percent of the world. America is still innovating beautifully, and it is still getting stuff out there. (But) the companies that do (export)… tend to grow faster and with higher profits.”