Small Business Success of the Week: Florida and Washington State Partner with Export-Import Bank US to Help Local Businesses Grow

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two state agencies seeking to help their local businesses grow joined forces with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) through the Bank's City/State Partner program, to better prepare their small businesses to create jobs through exports. The Florida Export Finance Corporation (FEFC) and the Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington State are working with small businesses in their states to determine which Ex-Im products would be best for their needs. They were the first two City/State Partner agencies to become Global Credit Express Originators.

"Our strategic partnerships with regional economic development organizations, private lenders, and advisors are opening new doors for small businesses in communities across America," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "The goal of the City/State Partners program is to ensure that more small businesses and entrepreneurs know how Ex-Im Bank products can equip local companies to grow their sales and add U.S. jobs through exports."

In Florida, Florida Export Finance Corporation staff worked with Gus Vidauretta, co-founder of Top Secret Nutrition, to develop financial solutions for his small business.  Working together, they identified Ex-Im Bank's Global Credit Express program as a great way to expand the reach of Top Secret Nutrition. Global Credit Express enables exporters to set up a revolving line of credit in amounts up to $500,000, at no cost to taxpayers.  Gus and his team subsequently created three new, dedicated product lines for markets in the UK, Italy, and Brazil. 

"Ex-Im has been a key partner in several ways," said Vidauretta.  "Top Secret Nutrition first worked with the insurance side of Ex-Im.  Our ability to export and our level of security were both enhanced by the fact that our exports were insured.  Later we applied and received a loan from Ex-Im to create inventory for export.  Ex-Im is an incredible asset and partner to businesses like mine."

In Washington State, Whooshh Innovations, developers of an innovative product for transporting live fish and delicate fruit needed capital to complete orders from overseas buyers.  With a slim history of financing export sales, rising orders created a funding gap between the capital Whooshh needed to produce its machinery, and what commercial banks were willing to put at risk.  Doug Kemper, advising on behalf of Export Finance Assistance Center, matched his client's need with the Bank's Global Credit Express program.  The loan enabled Whooshh to increase its production capacity, in order to fulfill the foreign buyers' demand.  Combining the financing with Ex-Im export credit insurance gave Whooshh flexibility to offer open account credit terms to make their export sales more competitive.

Kemper called Ex-Im's Global Credit Express the perfect fit for Whooshh Innovations, which is "now on the cusp of some significant international sales."  Kemper's office and other strategic partnerships plan to repeat that success.  "This is a very unusual product that was created by [Ex-Im] Bank to fulfill a need that is definitely in the marketplace," he said.  "The relationship with Ex-Im is excellent.  GCE is very creative, and the support and backing by the Bank – the willingness to help – is certainly there."

ABOUT EX-IM BANK:
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that creates and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers.  The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance, and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.  In the past fiscal year alone, Ex-Im Bank earned for U.S. taxpayers more than $1 billion above the cost of its operations.

In FY 2013, Ex-Im Bank approved more than $27 billion in total authorizations to support an estimated $37.4 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 205,000 U.S. jobs in communities across the country.  For the year, the Bank approved a record 3,413 transactions, 89 percent of them for small businesses.  Small-business exporters can learn about how Ex-Im Bank products can help them increase foreign sales at http://go.usa.gov/ZVTd. For other information about Ex-Im, visit www.exim.gov.

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SOURCE Export-Import Bank of the United States



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