Diamond Fortress Technologies Inc. (DFT) is a Birmingham-based biometric security software firm. Started in 2012, the company was the first to successfully develop a patent-pending software-based biometric solution that uses a device’s camera to capture a user’s unique fingerprint. In order to survive financially, DFT knew that they had to grow their customer base as quickly as possible and could not afford to postpone the potential of foreign markets.
DFT asked the Alabama SBDC Network for assistance in navigating its international expansion. The International Trade Specialists provided: market research to target and rank the best potential markets, in-house customized training on export procedures, the identification
With the support of the SBDC’s Alabama International Trade Center at the University of Alabama, Diamond Fortress now exports its technology to seven countries, and is in discussions with potential customers in 20 other markets. “The assistance we’ve received has been outstanding. They have shown us so many valuable resources that we didn’t even know were available,” says Chace Hatcher, CEO of Diamond Fortress Technologies. “…more importantly, they’ve introduced us to some of our largest partners.” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey presented DFT with the Trade Excellence award in recognition of the company’s contribution to Alabama’s growing economy.
Small businesses with foreign customers are a BIG BUSINESS in Alabama, and the economic development community recognizes that collaboration is the key to success. The Export Alabama Alliance, launched in 2004, is a seamless network of international trade organizations with the fundamental objective of helping Alabama companies grow their business internationally. Exports have grown 140% since then, placing AL in the top 10 states for export growth. Companies can leverage the research, training, and advising capabilities of the SBDC with the Gold Key Services of the US Department of Commerce, the state’s targeted trade missions, and SBA’s STEP grant to successfully launch and grow a foreign customer base. Like the Alabama SBDC, the Export Alliance has moved beyond simple “headcount” metrics, and is focused on tangible results: export sales and jobs go hand-in-hand.