WISHH Perspectives

ASA/WISHH & Iowa Trade Expert Mark Fischer Mentor Asian Entrepreneur

ASA/WISHH has tapped more than 21 years of international market development expertise by having Mark Fischer contribute to WISHH’s work with Asian soyfood entrepreneurs through WISHH’s USB-funded initiative. Fisher retired from the Iowa Economic Development Authority after leading more than 70 different international trade missions to 30 different countries where he helped identify markets and new opportunities. 

Fischer knows Asian market opportunities and the culture as well as U.S. soy. He represented the Iowa Economic Development Authority Director on the Iowa Soybean Association Board of Directors. As a WISHH consultant, Fischer is working with WISHH’s entrepreneurs who are completing a series of online educational modules on topics ranging from product development to marketing strategies. Along with WISHH staff, he is playing a key role in answering questions and monitoring entrepreneurs’ progress.

“Mark is a great asset to our work with Asian soyfood companies representing three different countries,” says WISHH Asia Division Director Alan Poock. “He not only offers a wealth of knowledge, but he has been willing to work at all hours of the day and night to mentor entrepreneurs and companies with a 12-hour time zone difference.”

The USB-funded Mobilizing Entrepreneurs to Expand U.S. Soy Utilization in Developing and Emerging Markets Initiative works to compress the time for a new U.S. soybean market to go from emerging market entry to expansion market ready. The initiative attracts and mentors entrepreneurs who can invest in developing and emerging market soy enterprises, bringing new market sectors into the U.S. soy market pipeline. From CEOs to product innovation and market teams, WISHH is working with more than 50 employees of entrepreneurs in Asia, Latin America and Africa in the human food, livestock, and aquaculture feed sectors.

An example of the companies that have committed to WISHH’s extensive virtual training program is a Sri Lankan manufacturer of cereals and other foods that is interested in using U.S. soy for additional product lines. The virtual training is helping the company gain technical knowledge to expand its soyfood product offerings as well as evaluate its export market opportunities for those products.

Photo caption: Mark Fischer (shown upper left) advises soy entrepreneurs from Asia  along with WISHH Asia Division Director Alan Poock (center) and Purdue faculty member, Joan R. Fulton. The sessions are part of WISHH’s United Soybean Board-funded Mobilizing Entrepreneurs to Expand U.S. Soy Utilization in Developing and Emerging Markets initiative.

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