As a small business owner, you may hear the buzz of World Trade Month and be compelled to explore international markets. The fact that 96% of the world’s population and more than 70% of the world’s purchasing power is outside of the United States speaks to you.
Beyond the plain insights of these statistics, you have also seen firsthand developments in your own industry where your competitors are increasingly selling to overseas buyers and where industry innovations have international undertones. You know that in order to continue to grow and thrive, international markets should be part of your future. But you may also wonder if your business is large enough to compete in the international marketplace.
Rest assured that U.S. small businesses do in fact export. Over 98% of all U.S. exporters are considered small by U.S. Small Business Administration SBA size standards. Additionally, 70% of all U.S. exporters have less than 20 employees. Small businesses can and do compete in the international marketplace.
Before deciding to compete internationally, you know that expansion like any other will cost money. How will you be able to pay for this growth? The SBA has established a loan program designed to meet the specific needs of small businesses trying to sell to international markets - Export Express.
Export Express is a streamlined program that allows small businesses to borrow up to $500,000 from their local participating bank with the support of an SBA loan guarantee. Most importantly, Export Express funds can be used for virtually anything that will help your small business enter or grow an export market.
Let’s say that you have worked with your Local Trade Specialist of the U.S. Commercial Service and have identified the perfect international trade show for your business to exhibit at to start identifying foreign partners – Export Express funds can be used to cover this cost. Perhaps your business is very technical in nature and your brochures, user manuals and website will need to be translated in order to be successful overseas – Export Express funds can also be used for this purpose.
To learn more about how your business can finance your international sales with the Export Express program, contact one of SBA’s Regional Export Finance Managers located at U.S. Export Assistance Centers across the United States.