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South Carolina District Export Council Elects New Officers

Webber, Patel and Kerekes to Lead the DEC

Columbia, SC, January 21, 2018 --( Cherod Webber, CEO of Innovative Global Supply, LLC; Anita Patel, International Trade Manager, South Carolina Department of Commerce; and Charles Kerekes, Kerekes Business Financial Consultant will lead the South Carolina District Export Council for 2018-2020.

District Export Councils are organizations of leaders from the local business community, appointed by successive Secretaries of Commerce, whose knowledge of international business provides a source of professional advice for local firms. Closely affiliated with the Commerce Department’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers, the 58 DECs combine the energies of nearly 1,500 exporters and export service providers who support the U.S. Government’s export promotion efforts throughout the country.

The South Carolina DEC (SCDEC) actively promotes awareness of export opportunities to SC firms, working closely with the three U.S. Export Assistance Centers of the U.S. Commercial Service in the state. The South Carolina DEC brings a comprehensive array of export services directly to local firms.

The new officers are:
Cherod Webber, SCDEC Chairman Greenville, SC
A social entrepreneur, Cherod Webber established Innovative Global Supply (IGS) to identify and solve social problems on a large scale. IGS launched in 2008 as a global supplier of high-quality nutritional products to malnourished populations around the world. As President and CEO, Mr. Webber has expanded the strategic focus of IGS to further its social impact. Today, IGS is focused on promoting innovation, sustainability and global wellness in a variety of ways thorough work in Health and Wellness, Infrastructure, Economic Development, Renewable Energy and the Agriculture sector.

Mr. Webber serves as Honorary Consul between the City of Columbia, SC, and Ghana and the Greater Western and Southern African Regions. He is also a member of the United States Global Leadership Coalition South Carolina Advisory Board for which he has annually briefed members of the South Carolina Congressional delegation. Mr. Webber also served as a member of the U.S. Export-Import Bank Advisory Committee where he chaired the Small Business Committee.

He was recently appointed to the Furman University Alumni Board of Directors. Mr. Webber received his Bachelor’s degree from Furman in 1989 with a degree in Political Science and International Affairs and was a member of the Furman Football team when it won the NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship in 1988.

Anita Patel, SCDEC Vice Chair Columbia SC

Anita Patel is the International Trade Manager for the South Carolina Department of Commerce (SCDOC), where her mission is to assist companies with increasing their sales and revenue through exporting. In this role she manages the deliverables for the Export Incentives program for the state. Patel duties also include providing export counseling, implementation of trade workshops/seminars, organizing international trade missions, managing program goals, client and partner relations, communication and referral system, conduct evaluation and assessments, grant management and report generation and surveying.

Prior to joining the SCDOC, Patel was the Director of Research for ECI-Find New Markets, a private non-profit organization. In this role, Patel worked with companies to identify new markets for their products and services. She also assisted with product positioning and creating customized market entry strategies to help clients grow their business. Additionally, she managed three U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants and a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) grant. She is a member of the Midlands International Trade Association (MITA) and the South Carolina International Trade Coalition. Patel is a graduate of Francis Marion University with a bachelor’s in marketing.

Charles Kerekes, SCDEC Treasurer Edisto Beach, SC

Charles Kerekes serves as Principal of Kerekes Business Financial Consultant. Founded in 2005, the firm works with small and medium size commercial businesses in their financial needs, to include: debt re-structuring, specialty financing programs and developing business plans in support of secure financing for the business.

His professional accomplishments include developing major corporate banking relationships resulting in $60 MM in deposits and managed a $35MM loan portfolio; oversight of an economic development commercial loan portfolio that grew from $2.5MM to $9.5MM per annum over a four-year period and Supervision of the first successful sale of an economic development loan portfolio in the United States. The sale included $11MM economic development loan assets of the Company.

In addition, he developed a new pre-export working capital guarantee program for a South Carolina State Agency involved in financing economic development projects. The guarantee program helped South Carolina exporters to receive working capital loans from commercial banks which otherwise would not be available. South Carolina was the only state in the southeast, and one of the five in the United States who has offered this innovative financing to their exporters at the time the program was approved.

Statement from SCDEC Chairman Cherod Webber, “This is an exciting time for South Carolina businesses. Now more than ever it is important for our businesses to explore opportunities in exporting. The SCDEC along with U.S. Department of Commerce's Commercial Service is here to support those endeavors. I am absolutely delighted to work with South Carolina business leaders in forging a path to success in the international market place.”
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U.S. Commercial Service
Amina Brock

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