WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ex-Im Bank is celebrating its successful first year of Global Access for Small Business (Global Access), the agency's small business outreach initiative. This ambitious public-private partnership to engage more companies in exporting was launched at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last January as a part of President Obama's National Export Initiative (NEI).
"If my company can't offer credit terms, we can't close deals with many foreign buyers. Ex-Im Bank financing gives us peace of mind -- we would not be as successful as we are today without it," said Andy Malcolm, president of Advanced Protection Technologies in Clearwater, Fla.
Malcolm's comment represents what experienced exporters told attendees at dozens of Ex-Im Bank's Global Access forums across the country during the past twelve months. At these company owners learned how the Bank's financing, along with other government resources, is a critical tool to increase their foreign sales.
"The forums are very good - they provide small businesses the answers to their questions," stated Malcolm. "This would have helped my business when we were small. It is good to ask questions to those who have been through the 'exporter wars.'"
The financing that Ex-Im provides to small businesses is contributing to a significant increase in overseas sales. In fiscal year 2011 alone, the Bank increased small business transactions to a record $6 billion, up $1 billion from the previous year. Over 85% of all Ex-Im transactions directly benefit small business exporters.
Global Access Goals
Ex-Im Bank aligned its Global Access program goals for increasing small business export financing with NEI's objective, doubling U.S. exports by 2015. By 2015, Ex-Im Bank aims to double its annual small-business export-finance volume from $4.5 billion to $9 billion, add a total of 5,000 small businesses to its portfolio and approve cumulatively at least $30 billion in small-business transactions. To date, Ex-Im Bank has added a total of over 1,600 small businesses to its portfolio and authorized $15.5 billion in small business transactions.
"Ex-Im Bank's Global Access for Small Business is not just a brand, it's a mindset for us at Ex-Im Bank," explained Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "It is the Bank's top priority to dramatically increase the number of small businesses exporting and in the process help them create more jobs. We want to help them gain a competitive edge so they can sell to more countries and expand sales into existing ones."
"Global Access for Small Business program is equipping small businesses with the tools and resources needed to reach more customers around the world and expand foreign sales," said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Creating growth in U.S. exporting will help lead the U.S. to economic recovery and this partnership will continue to give small business the assistance needed to harness that growth."
New Small Business Products
To further support small business exporting, Ex-Im Bank is offering new financing and insurance products that complement existing Bank programs, as well as streamlining product delivery. For example, Express Insurance was launched in April, 2011, a streamlined application for a policy quotation and two foreign-buyer credit indications up to $300,000 within five business days. In the first six months, Ex-Im Bank approved over 100 Express Insurance policies.
Chairman Hochberg and members of the board of directors traveled across the country to meet with small business owners to discuss the benefits of exporting. On average, over 100 representatives from local companies attended each event. Global Access so far has reached approximately 5,000 small businesses that participated in the forums and in 12 on-line webinars over the last year.
Ex-Im Bank hosted 32 Global Access forums in 2011 at which representatives from local businesses, elected officials, and partner government agencies shared their expertise on how to successfully enter the global marketplace. A.R. Chem Tex Industries LLC of Edinburg, Texas, is a small business that exports chemical treatment products and equipment for gas wells. The company attended a Global Access forum in Weslaco, TX because it wanted to expand into new foreign markets but didn't have the ability to finance its product. After being approved for both an Ex-Im Bank working capital loan and small business multi-buyer insurance policy, the company not only expanded sales into existing markets in Mexico and Venezuela, but now is able to expand into Argentina and Colombia. Additionally, the company hired one new employee and plans to hire more as sales increase.
The following companies are also among those that are now Ex-Im Bank customers after attending a local Global Access forum – D.O. Weaver and Company (Aurora, Co.), Francis Torq Lite (Luling, La.), Richard S. Sternberg Metropolitan Washington Law Consortium (Washington, D.C.), Segway (Bedford, N.H.), Skelley Medical (Hollis, N.H.) and Southwest Windpower Inc. (Flagstaff, Ariz.).
Ex-Im Bank is continuing to hold Global Access forums across the country in 2012. To see where and when the next forum is being held, go to the Global Access events page (http://www.exim.gov/sbgport/SB_eximU.cfm).
Statements from Other Global Access Partners:
"Providing export financing to help more small- and medium-sized businesses reach buyers overseas is key to creating jobs here at home and strengthening the recovery," U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson said. "The more American-made goods and services U.S. companies are able to sell abroad, the more jobs will be created in communities across the country. It's just that simple."
"Small businesses in particular need the support of both the federal government and private sector to compete in the global market," commented United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. "Small- and medium-sized businesses benefit greatly from global trade. With 95 percent of the world's customers living outside our borders, we need to help small businesses face the challenges presented in a competitive market and win deals abroad."
"Manufactured goods exports represent more than 60 percent of all U.S. exports of goods and services and are essential to job creation," said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. "The Global Access Initiative provides small and medium-sized manufacturers with the resources to begin exporting or to expand sales overseas, resulting in more jobs here at home."
"By working with other federal agencies, we can help level the playing field for small businesses that want to begin exporting," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "U.S. small businesses have the innovative, high quality products that these countries are demanding. The Global Access initiative, along with SBA programs, is providing the financing to make these exports possible."
About Global Access:
32 Global Access forums were hosted in fiscal year 2011 in Manchester, NH; Philadelphia, PA; Minneapolis, MN; Kansas City, MO; Lafayette, LA; Los Angeles, CA; Denver, CO; Long Island, NY; New Orleans, LA; West Long Branch, NJ; Miami, FL; Wilmington, DE; San Leandro, CA; Wichita, KS; Charlotte, NC; Providence, RI; San Juan, PR; Fresno, CA; Houston, TX; Milwaukee, WI; Weslaco, TX; Baltimore, MD; New Haven, CT; Cleveland, OH; Beloit, WI; Chicago, IL; Phoenix, AZ; Grand Rapids, MI; Detroit (Novi), MI; and New York, NY.
Ex-Im Bank's Global Access partners were an integral component to Ex-Im Bank's small business outreach. New partnerships were forged over the last year including FedEx, PNC, Wall Street Journal, Bank of America, HSBC, and Wells Fargo.
About Ex-Im Bank:
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past six years, Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers $3.7 billion above the cost of operations. 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.
Ex-Im Bank approved $32.7 billion in total authorizations in FY 2011 -- an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6 billion directly supporting small-business export sales -- also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank's total authorizations are supporting an estimated $41 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 290,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.
SOURCE Export-Import Bank of the United States