It is a tough time to be a small business owner; trying to support production and manage your team all during a global pandemic, looking for ways to diversify your customer base.

Expand Your Market

Have you considered the international market? By utilizing e-commerce opportunities, exporting could be your COVID response strategy. The primary benefit to exporting is resiliency. After the Great Recession, many exporting businesses attributed their survival to their diversified markets.

State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grants

Exporting can feel daunting, but resources such as the U.S. Commercial Service can help you research foreign markets and buyers. State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grants are available to travel to trade shows or translate your company’s website. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has three export loan programs designed for companies entering exporting or expanding exports.

Export Express

The Export Express program can cover international marketing costs, foreign trade shows, e-commerce and international patent and trademark protection. The loan limit is $500,000, and your lender receives a 90% guaranty from the SBA for amounts less than $350,000.

International Trade Loan

The International Trade Loan (ITL) can be used to purchase machinery, retool production or acquire a bigger facility.

Export Working Capital Program

Once you are in the export market and generating a steady stream of sales, you might find yourself in need of working capital. Those foreign sales can be used as collateral under the Export Working Capital Program (EWCP). Through the EWCP, you can purchase inventory and pay wages that support your export orders.

The loan limits for the ITL and EWCP are $5 million and your lender receives a 90% SBA guaranty.

Export Finance Solutions Assistance

Whether you are new to exporting or already exporting, the SBA can help you through export finance options with your bank. Let us work together to figure out what works best for you.

Patty Brewer is with the SBA’s Office of International Trade. She can be contacted at patricia.brewer@sba.gov.

You may also be interested in an upcoming webinar on exporting and trade on March 4, 2021.

You can also sign up for no-cost, confidential assistance on international trade and other small business topics from your local Wyoming SBDC Network advisor by clicking here.

 

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