This post is sponsored by the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.

U.S. businesses are increasingly discovering the rewards of exporting. DemeTech — based in Miami Lakes, Fla. — is one such company. Since 2000, DemeTech has grown to be one of the most successful surgical suture factories in the world. As it began to grow and increase its international sales, DemeTech had difficulty meeting its foreign customers’ demands to provide credit terms.

Export credit insurance from the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (EXIM) equipped DemeTech to improve its business operations. With EXIM support, DemeTech was able to access capital from its bank and confidently provide credit terms to its foreign customers. Since starting to use EXIM in 2009, DemeTech has grown its revenue by 400 percent. In this Q&A, Luis Arguello, Sr., chief executive officer of DemeTech, talks about how export credit insurance empowered his business to grow.

Question: What was your main trade finance problem or challenge before working with EXIM?

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It’s budget and buying season for many schools and districts. April reflected this with several new product releases for the classroom. Here’s what SmartBrief on EdTech readers liked this month in Product Showcase:

Math@Work: Math Meets Homebuilding. Scholastic and TV host Ty Pennington are working together to help students connect math with real-world careers through their new webisode series, Math@Work: Math Meets Homebuilding. The 15-minute videos, available at no charge on Scholastic’s site, feature Pennington showing student builders how to apply math to projects such as installing solar panels and building a walkway for a home.

Studystorm. High-school students can use a new, free Android application to prepare for tests and college admissions exams. Studystorm, by Brightstorm, offers study guides and videos for 21 subjects, including ACT, SAT and AP tests. The mobile app is available now at no charge from the Google Play store.

Adobe Slate.

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Last month, I worked with a manager who was eager to develop her staff, but was overwhelmed by her senior management’s charge to accelerate top performance with highly ambitious goals.

In her company, performance standards directed employees’ efforts to be “excellent,” “exceptional” and “outstanding.” Sound familiar? These targets were intended to be aspirational and inspirational. Yet, for her employees who were continually striving to grow new skills and increase competencies, these targets failed to even be motivational.

On the path to growing new skills, establishing the standard of “good enough” gives employees a green light to move into action. Such a standard removes barriers that can stifle employees who feel the level of their contribution is not high enough or who are concerned about making mistakes. Having this testing ground to apply new skills is a crucial step toward true mastery and increases their understanding of what will be required to use those skills at the highest level.…

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I recently fell down a retail reading rabbit hole. A biography on Amazon.com entitled “The Everything Store” led me to “Sam Walton: Made in America,” the autobiography of the legendary Wal-Mart Stores founder, one of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ inspirations, perhaps not surprisingly. Walton explained the rise of shopping centers in small towns all across America and how these enabled Wal-Mart to compete against the big city department stores.

So when I sat in the audience of the “Fast casual strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities: Is there still time to get in on the game?” panel at the most recent Restaurant Finance and Development Conference and heard Darren Tristano, Frank Paci, Jim Mizes and Philip Friedman talk about their real estate woes, I better understood the origins of their predicament: a fight for end-caps, as Einstein-Noah Restaurant Group CEO Frank Paci explained. In these shopping centers, a restaurant can either take space in-line or on an end-cap (versus standalone real estate not connected to other stores in a center).…

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The circumstances surrounding the arrest of Navinder Sarao for his actions related to the Flash Crash have been covered widely, but there is one angle that seems to be slipping through the cracks: Sarao’s intent. Or more precisely, his lack of intent.

Considering the volume of trade orders Sarao is alleged to have placed and then canceled, it seems likely his intention was to manipulate the market. And if Sarao ever stands trial and it is proven that he was “spoofing” or manipulating the market in some other way, then he should be punished accordingly.

However, I find it hard to believe Sarao woke up on the morning of May 6, 2010, and said to himself, “Today I am going to crash the market, drive shares of Accenture to one cent, raise Apple shares to more than $100,000 and then call it a day.” In fact, his actions after the Flash Crash suggest he had no idea his trades played such an allegedly large role in the day’s events.…

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