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(Salem, NH) – Expansion to overseas markets is one of the best ways for small businesses to grow and create jobs, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said today during a tour of photo booth manufacturer Innovative FOTO in Salem.  Innovative FOTO has already added four new full-time jobs this year, thanks in part to the firm’s exports, and Shaheen said other small companies could enjoy similar success by harnessing the power of international sales.

“With 95 percent of the world’s customers living overseas, there is tremendous potential for small firms to grow internationally and add jobs.  Yet only 1 percent of small businesses sell their products into foreign markets,” Shaheen said.  “In these difficult economic times, we need to make it as easy as possible for sharp companies like Innovative FOTO to succeed in international markets and put more Americans back to work.”

Headquartered in Salem, Innovative FOTO exports to 29 countries and does nearly $2 million in overseas business a year.

“We see tremendous growth outside of the United States, and our goal is to increase our exports and grow our international business significantly over the coming years,” said Innovative FOTO CEO Dale Valvo.  “We’re very grateful to Senator Shaheen for acknowledging our company in this way, and for the support we receive from her office to enhance our growth.”

A member of the Senate Committee on Small Business, Shaheen has consistently worked to aid small companies in reaching foreign customers.   In August, she hosted a Small Business Committee field hearing in Manchester with U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to examine ways to help small businesses export.  In January, Shaheen held a pair of roundtable discussions with New Hampshire small business owners on the federal resources available to help small businesses export with Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg.

In New Hampshire, exporting has become an increasingly important part of the state’s economy.  Last year, New Hampshire companies set a state record for international sales and ranked first among all states in export growth, increasing their exports by $1 billion.  In a difficult economic climate, this new revenue has provided a critical boost to many New Hampshire businesses.