World Tradewinds

May 2002 - June 2002 - Issue N. 113
A Publication of the Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA)


Pacific IDS

All World Currency Exchange, Inc.

Central Coast Angel Network

SOV Interactive Media

A Way With Words

Toma International

Equity Now




Language Line





Fri, June 7th
Trade Promotion Services for SMEs in the Global Marketplace

El Palomar Restaurant
Santa Cruz, CA
Time: 11:30am registration
noon lunch to 1:30pm
Admission: $20 members - $25 non members

Fri, June 28th
Demo on New Internet Services from SPRINT

Free Seminar
Applied Technology Center
San Mateo, CA
Time: 4:00pm to 5:30pm presentation
5:30pm to 7:00pm reception/hors d'oeuvres/networking
Admission: free
To register, click here.

Mon, July 1st
Think global and act local with Congressman Sam Farr

Old Fisherman's Grotto
Monterey, CA
Time: 11:30am registration
noon lunch to 1:30pm
Admission: $20 members - $25 non members
To register online, please click here

To register for MBITA luncheons, call 831-469-0148 or email including the event specifics you are signing up for in the subject line.

For more detail on MBITA business events, go to


Tony Livoti

Vice President
Shay Adams
Digital Tech Displays

Dr. Edward Valeau
Hartnell College

Jeffrey J. Munks
San Francisco State University (SFSU)

Victor Cordell
Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS)

Marcelo Siero

Jim Faith

Phil Cisneros

Cristina Polesel
Membership/Event Manager

MBITA Contact Info

725 Front St. Ste 104
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 U.S.A.
Phone: 1-831-469-0148
Fax: 1-831-469-0917

If you would like to have an article published on this newsletter please contact the editor by email.

This newsletter has been created by MBITA's editor
Cristina Polesel


MBITA has launched an eLearning/marketing campaign for small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and trade promotion service organizations in California on the new web-based, export transaction engine from New York- based NexGen Inc called EximHub. It is totally web-based with no software or hardware installations.

This is the first web-based solution I have seen that is affordable and easy-to-use for SMEs to automate their exporting processes online.

MBITA is now conducting free bi-weekly webinars every Tuesday and Thursdays on Companies wishing to automate their exporting logistics for only $50/mo can sign-up for the free webinar by clicking on the logo on MBITA's home page

Robert "Tony" Livoti
Executive Director

MBITA New Corporate Sponsor: All World Currency Exchange, Inc.

Hidden Profits in Foreign Exchange for Exporters & Importers

MBITA would like to introduce its new corporate sponsor, ALLWORLD Currency Exchange, Inc. ALLWORLD Currency Exchange, Inc. offers international businesses a cost-effective alternative to traditional foreign exchange services provided by banks.

Ed Casey, President of ALLWORLD Currency Exchange, Inc. founded the company in 1997. With sixteen years of management in the foreign exchange industry, Ed has built an organization based on customer service second to none in the industry. Doing business in over 120 countries, ALLWORLD prides itself on the long-term partnerships they have created with their clients. Their goal is to become your outsourced foreign exchange department.

Currency exchange is a component of all international trade, both export and import. Knowledge of the exchange process will increase profits for both exporters and importers.

Most importers are painfully aware of the cost of currency exchange and the percentage they are charged when sending payments to foreign vendors. Foreign bank draft fees, wire transfer fees, exchange rates, and receiving bank lift fees are cost potentials within every foreign transaction. All these costs are built into rates or fees and passed onto either the importer or exporter and occasionally both.

Exchange rates are based on the interbank rate, the rate the banks charge other banks when exchanging currencies. The interbank rate is based on the international currency trading market, which changes minute to minute. The retail rate of an individual transaction is equal to the interbank rate plus a percentage charged by your foreign exchange (FX) provider. If your bank or FX provider cannot tell you the direction that the dollar is currently heading compared to other currencies be wary. They are most likely brokering the transactions.

Regional banks, not large enough to justify a dedicated currency trading room, generally use corresponding banks which account for additional transfer fees. Banks large enough to justify trading rooms target customer service to their clients with larger transactions ($500K plus), which leads to increased fees and lead times for smaller transaction processing. Additional costs of exchange for exporters are also generated by the number of days payments take to be credited to the proper account. The average time wired funds are processed and credited to the beneficiary's account should be 48 hours.

Knowing the basic process, what should a company look for when building a relationship with a foreign exchange provider?

Does your FX provider:

  • Manage their own back office facilities to process wire bank transfers and foreign bank drafts or broker the transactions?
  • Manage it own bank account in the country you are exporting to or importing from?
  • Clear foreign currency checks the same day or place a hold on the funds until clear?
  • Offer same day tracking of transactions?
  • Have the ability to customize products and services to meet your company's special requirements?
  • Disclose all fees and charges up front?
  • Train your personal Account Executive as a currency trader to provide the up to date market information and trends?

As the newest corporate sponsor of MBITA, ALLWORLD offers to the membership an association volume discount and no transaction fees, along with consultation for your foreign exchange process with an emphasis on where can your process be more cost effective? ALLWORLD has helped their clients save hundreds of thousands of dollars on their foreign exchange transactions. They look forward to providing the same results to the members of MBITA.

"Come for the rates, stay for the service!"

Jonathan Ziegler
ALLWORLD Currency Exchange, Inc.
3705 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, 1st Floor
Lafayette, CA 94549
Tel: Toll-Free (US/Canada) +1-888-335-0204
Fax: 206-464-0214

MBITA New Corporate Sponsor: Pacific IDS

Pacific IDS: Seamless Design Solutions for a Global Marketplace

Located in Santa Cruz, California, MBITA's new corporate sponsor, Pacific IDS, brings affordable websites, printed materials (brochures, data sheets, manuals, product packaging) and interactive multimedia design solutions to small and mid-size companies worldwide. In today's global marketplace how you use the Internet has a profound impact on the success of your company. With the Internet's 24/7 availability, sales and marketing teams, distributors and consumers worldwide have immediate access to your information, products and services. In order to maximize their experience, your website, printed materials, and multimedia content must be easy to view, informative, and up-to-date. In addition, developing a central location where sales and marketing teams and distributors have access to the latest information, training, and product updates worldwide can be an invaluable asset to a company.

Pacific IDSdesigns and develops websites, printed materials, and interactive cd-roms that can assist in international business and communication. Train your sales teams, distributors, and customers with interactive tutorials, presentations, videos, and up-to-date information available 24/7 via the Internet or offline on a cd-rom. Pacific IDS can also convert your cd-rom projects for delivery on the Internet. Pacific IDS provides one-stop design services developing media rich Internet content, printed materials, and interactive multimedia content on cd-rom. By providing these design solutions seamlessly Pacific IDS can save you time and money.

When you work with Pacific IDS you are guaranteed a high-quality finished design that effectively represents the uniqueness of your company and is attractive to your target audience. Clients work directly with Pacific IDS designers on every project. Working directly with the designer can save you time and money. Pacific IDS also provides virtual design services over the Internet and phone.

Some of Pacific IDS's clients include Network Appliance, Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA), Foxlink Peripherals, SiPix, IXMICRO, MSC Software, 3CX, Cabrillo College, UDS, and JMC Design Inc.

Pacific IDS prides itself on being community conscious, client-centered, driven to solve design problems and easy to do business with. Pacific IDS is offering a design special to all MBITA members, 10% off all of your design projects with Pacific IDS. Pacific IDS will also take an additional 5% off of your initial project with new clients.

Visit their website or call Pacific IDS, 831.464.0755 to learn more about saving time and money on your next web, print or cd-rom project.

Michael Parker, Director
Pacific IDS
1225-29 17th Avenue
Santa Cruz, California 95062
Tel: 831.464.0755

MBITA New Member: SynapseFusion, Inc.

MBITA is pleased to introduce its most recent new member, Andreas Mueller with SynapseFusion, Inc.. Located in Aptos, Ca., SynapseFusion collaborates with US companies in the high tech sector, helping them get established in the European marketplace and vice-versa with European companies, giving them a foothold in the US. We interviewed Andreas Mueller, president of SynapseFusion to shed some light on his company.

SynapseFusion collaborates with US companies in the high tech sector, helping them get established in the European marketplace and vice-versa with European companies, giving them a foothold in the US. We interviewed Andreas Mueller, President of SynapseFusion to shed some light on his company.

Who can benefit from your services?

"Ultimately everybody in high tech will need to look at globalizing at one level or another. It's becoming a matter of survival. And looking beyond your traditional borders is a very exciting prospect, since it brings with it new customers, partners and strategic alliances."

What makes SynapseFusion unique?

"We work with various levels companies in the high tech sector. Our approach is results-oriented. We are seeing too many players who will sit around and supply you with market studies, reports and plans of attack. Then when it comes to moving products or services, they collect their check and it's still up to you. We like to jump in, determine the right direction and make things happen as soon as possible. Our step-by-step process allows you to create online marketing activity in Europe to determine response rates and get an initial customer base. Then we set up meetings with partners and prospects. All this can be done quite efficiently, before you invest in a costly infrastructure overseas."

What does your typical customer look like?

"We do prefer working with high tech companies in the early stages of development, or firms breaking new ground with a product launch. This is where a lot of sizzle can be created from a novel idea and it's the most invigorating environment for everybody involved. "

Do you have any examples how you work with a customer?

"I do. Currently I'm working with a client in the high tech automobile sector who has developed and prototyped a unique hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). What makes his technology so revolutionary is the fact that it will reduce fuel consumption by 85% with no change in driving habits. That's like having your cake and eating it too. Plus you can charge the vehicle right from a standard 110/220V wall outlet."

But aren't other companies working on similar projects?

"True, but none can boast the fuel economy figures coupled with the convenience of easy charging. Just imagine: You could commute to Silicon Valley, work at the office, drive back home, plug in the car and you're all set for tomorrow. But you still have a gasoline engine to complement the electric motor, giving you a range far superior to the current electric-only vehicles. This translates into very infrequent stops at the gas station."

So what is your global strategy for this client?

"He has already pitched his technology to US companies and has received only lukewarm responses. So now we're taking his venture to Europe and trying to set up strategic alliances with companies there. Especially the smaller companies in France, Italy and seem to be more receptive to these ideas. And that's where MBITA ties in as a synergistic partner."

Andreas Mueller, President
SynapseFusion, Inc.
7960 B Soquel Drive, Suite 219
Aptos, CA 95003

MBITA Russia Initiative

On May 6, 2002, at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS), the Monterey Bay International Trade Association (MBITA) hosted a delegation of Russian businessmen representing a number of small-to-mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in the production of equipment and materials and providing services for the telecommunications industry. The delegation's visit was sponsored by the San Francisco-based Center for Citizen Initiatives and the Santa Clara County-Moscow Sister County Commission. This activity represents the latest in a series of steps begun by MBITA in the second half of 2000 to expand its program of identifying meaningful business opportunities in Russia for California SMEs. Key to this program is the partnership established with the Vladivostok-based Far East Center for Economic Development (FECED), with the objective of integrating the Russian Far East economy more fully into the Pacific Rim and global economies. Building on its ties with and support for the high technology industries, MBITA is seeking to achieve this objective by improving Russian companies' access to the Internet and their use of Internet functions to improve business performance. Central to this initiative is the Global Trade eCommerce Portal (GTEP), being developed jointly with FECED.

GTEP is a web portal designed to provide a collaborative, online environment to inform, train, and support Russian Far East and U.S. West Coast SMEs. GTEP will enhance the skills of entrepreneurs and SMEs in order to facilitate their participation in global eCommerce. These objectives will be accomplished by awareness and better utilization of an existing knowledge base of trade promotion and economic development websites from both the public and private sectors. In addition to these SMC-oriented technology efforts, there will be focused efforts on reaching the multiplier organizations, or promoting to business associations, trade unions and training associations.

MBITA's Russia Initiative is headed by Tony Livoti, MBITA Executive Director. Mr. Livoti has participated in Winrock International and ACDI/VOCA programs in Russia and is keen to see Silicon Valley companies take advantage of opportunities presented by the gradually liberalizing Russian marketplace. The MBITA Russia Initiative enjoys the support and impetus provided by Jim Faith (15-year Silicon Valley veteran), Lilian Surkova (a former developer with WebMDproject manager for several Silicon Valley companies and a native of Irkutsk), and Jeff Procak (former World Bank Country Officer for Russia).

MBITA members who would like to participate in hosting similar commercial delegations in the future should contact MBITA with suggestions regarding sectoral preferences. Similarly, any members who would like to share any previous experiences they've had with Russian business partners are welcome to do so, as we would like to compile a database of reliable (as well as unreliable) business partners for the benefit of the membership at large.

The Russian marketplace is fraught with risk and requires special knowledge of Russian specifics. MBITA would like to do its best to help in minimizing risk. MBITA also stands ready to assist its members in identifying and following up on potential business opportunities in Russia. Stay tuned for more on MBITA's Russia Initiative in the next issue of World Tradewinds.

MBITA Partner: California Central Coast Angel Network

This June, the Central Coast chapter of International Angel Investors (IAI-CC) celebrates its first year of holding monthly meetings at La Scuola restaurant in Castroville, CA.

The purpose of the group is to bring together entrepreneurs, investors and service professionals to start and grow businesses in Central California.

Central California is a unique area. It's near perfect weather and natural beauty makes it among the geographic wonders of the world.

From the human resource side of the equation, it is home to University of California, Santa Cruz; California State University, Monterey Bay; Monterey Institute of International Studies; and the Naval Postgraduate School, as well as several fine junior colleges. There is a huge pool of talented and well educated individuals.

Right now the area has much potential that has not been realized. The leading industries are agriculture and tourism, low paying industries. Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties trade places every few quarters as the two least affordable places to live in the country. This is because the kind of jobs that are here do not pay enough to live here.

The solution to this problem so far has been somewhat unfortunate for the area. One fifth to one fourth of the workforce in the area commute to higher paying jobs in Silicon Valley. This is bad for the area because people spend money where they work, not where they live and people that do not work where they live are disconnected from the schools, political system and other aspects of the community. This has lead to government by default and decaying infrastructure.

Cicely Hansen and Don Steiny are two long time residents that believe that we do have the people and the resources to start businesses in this area so that people can work where they live. They got permission from their friend and mentor, Hal Nissley, founder of International Angel Investors to start a chapter. Hal has many years experience helping companies get started and grow. The purpose of the chapter is not just to educate people about various aspects of business, but to get people together to meet each other, develop relationships and build the social capital needed to make the Central Coast a strong community.

The meetings take place at La Scuola restaurant in Castroville, on the last Monday of the month, unless it is a holiday. The reason for the selected location is because it is pretty close to half way between Santa Cruz and Monterey. The meetings draw people from the whole Central Coast, with several people coming from San Luis Obispo. About one-fifth of the people come from Silicon Valley, very often from Marin County and even Los Angeles and Seattle.

The meetings start with networking and dinner, presentations by companies, a panel discussion or other educational portion and then more networking.

Over the year IAI-CC has had diverse and interesting programs, including the lively "Preparing for the Upswing" where Stanford Economics professor, Rodney Chun put the downturn into a calm perspective while John Flinn from Silicon Valley Bank compared it to a hangover where we were "still looking for the cool spot on the pillow."

Dr. William Miller, Chairman of the Board of Borland, Scotts Valley, CA and founder of the Stanford Computer Science department, has talked about Silicon Valley. Camel Yamamoto, best selling Japanese author, has compared Japanese culture with American. The session on energy drew people from a large area and exposed the group to many new ideas.

The May 20th session is on Biotech. It will feature local and Silicon Valley companies, experts from UCSC and Silicon Valley.

No matter how great the programs are, some feel that the audience is the best part. Just getting to know that fabulous people that live and work in the Central Coast area can be the best part of the meeting. To find out about the monthly meetings, join the mailing list at

Cicely Hansen, Executive Director
Don Steiny, CEO
Infopoint, Inc.
Tel: 831 471-1671

MBITA & the Federation of International Trade Association (FITA) schedule seminar at SPRINTíS Applied Technology Center in San Mateo (CA) on June 28th

MBITA and the Federation of International Trade Association (FITA) are conducting a special seminar at Sprint's Applied Technology Center in San Mateo, California. A demonstration of Sprint's Online Presenter, Internet Protocol VPN and their new PCS cell phone services will be given.

"We wanted to have Sprint tailor a special seminar for small businesses that need the latest technologies for their global marketing operations", said MBITA's Tony Livoti.

"FITA has just inked a new affiliate program with Sprint and we are now working with MBITA to reach out to the SMEs involved in international business in the Bay Area. Sprint has really been great to put together such a seminar for SMEs", says regional manager for FITA, Anthony Castronovo.

The seminar is free and will take place on June 28, 2002 from 4:00 p.m. to 5: 30 p.m. Refreshments will be served after the presentations from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Please call the MBITA office to make a reservation.(831-469-0148)

Small Business Development Corporation Technology Advisory Program (SBDCTAP)

MBITA would like to introduce the SBDCTAP' second issue of the Small Business Technology Review, the leading magazine dedicated to helping entrepreneurs understand technology as a real business tool.

As an affiliate of MBITA, you are entitled to receive a free copy of this magazine. You can download your free copy at

"This issue is dedicated to the Internet as an effective and efficient business tool available to help you better manage your small business," declares Andrea Peiro, Director of SBDCTAP. "We have packed it with exceptionally useful information to help you harness this incredible environment and change the way you look at it: think business, think profits, think saved time. This is our food for your thoughts, go ahead and devour it," Mr. Peiro concludes.

If you wish to invite your business associates and friends to receive a copy of this magazine, feel free to forward this email to their attention or to visit

SOV Interactive Media

SOV Interactive Media is a local Santa Cruz new media design studio, that creates customized multimedia experiences in web, animation, interactive video, and sound.

Some of SOV's services include

  • Corporate web site design and development
  • Broadband video/audio webcasting, streaming , and production
  • DVD and CD-ROM applications production
  • Motion and graphic design for demos, flash web apps, and DV videos
  • Interactive multimedia demos for sales, training more
  • Online marketing and tradeshow event promotions

Please contact:
Tel. 831-251-7684
for further information on how to promote your business interactively!