LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) -

As technology advances, it's becoming more important for businesses to think on a global scale.

Friday is the start of Global Initiatives Week in the La Crosse area.

La Crosse has a diverse mix of businesses -- from manufacturing to health care.

Technology has not only helped connect the La Crosse area with the rest of the world, it's also created more competition, and it's made some more aware of the responsibility of helping others.

After more than 20 years in the steel-detailing business, La Crosse Technical Consultants felt like it needed to branch out.

“For many years we were seeing the marketplace becoming more competitive globally,” said James Brennan, director of LTC Inc. “We were feeling a lot of margin pressure from foreign competitors.”

In 2012 the business decided to expand into the Philippines, and the results have been better than the company could have imagined.

“We've been able to grow, going up to 56 employees in the Philippines, and we've been able to maintain all of our domestic workforce,” said Brennan.

“There's never a week where we don't ship to Japan, Australia (and) all points of Europe,” said Dave Rogers, owner of Dave’s Guitar Shop, in La Crosse.

Rogers too has felt the competition on a global scale.

About 40 percent of his business is a result of international sales.

He said there's just something about American guitars.

“Something about the finishing that they do, something about the woods that are available here, it's an icon,” said Rogers.

While the global market has helped businesses in the area thrive, it's also allowed some to help people in areas less fortunate.

Members of Gundersen Health System's Global Partners make about a dozen trips a year to places like Ethiopia and Nicaragua to provide training, resources and educational opportunities that may not otherwise exist.

The program's director, Liz Arnold said, as La Crosse progresses into a larger global economy, it's important to remember small gestures can make a big difference.

“What it is is understanding as individuals, but also as organizations and businesses, that the decisions on a day-to-day basis impact communities around the world, and actually, we are also impacted every single day by those communities and by those cultures,” said Arnold.

LTC and Dave's Guitar Shop are constantly looking to expand internationally. Both say China may be one of places they're looking into next.

There is also a group through Gundersen's Global Partners headed to Nicaragua Saturday.

They will spend about a week there providing medical resources and looking for ways to help with community development.

The La Crosse area will be hosting events throughout next week as part of Global Initiatives Week.

The events include things like seminars, dances and presentations to increase awareness on global issues and inspire action.

More information on events is available on the La Crosse Area Visitors and Conventions Bureau website.