HELENA, Mont. – The Department of Commerce next week will host a Montana pavilion at InterOpto, a photonics industry tradeshow in Tokyo where six Montana businesses will explore expanding their sales in Asian markets without the risk of going alone.
“Montana’s photonics industry is one of the most impressive in the United States, and it continues to grow,” said Sean Becker, bureau chief for the Business Assistance Bureau at Commerce. “Asia has been a region with great interest in quality Montana products and represents the best opportunity for this industry to expand and diversify its markets.”
Photonics, also known as optics, is the use of light in technology. Practical applications may include laser surgery, fiber-optic communications, and consumer electronics.
In 2012, Regional Technology Strategies identified Montana’s cluster of photonics businesses as one of the largest per capita in the United States. Since the early 1980s, this cluster has grown to more than 40 businesses.
Last year, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Japan all ranked within Montana’s top 10 export markets. Montana has strong relationships with Japan through its sister state of Kumamoto and a Japan Trade Office.
The ExportMontana office at Commerce is organizing the trip for the businesses, which will share a Montana-branded pavilion on the show floor. Funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program, Commerce is covering their tradeshow booth expenses and providing a travel stipend.
The tradeshow is Oct. 17–19. Participating businesses include Agile Focus Designs, Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Laser Lab Source, Quantum Composers, Resonon and Revibro Optics. All businesses are located in Bozeman, which is home to most of Montana’s photonics industry.