Benefits of exporting
Nearly 96% of consumers live outside the U.S., and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries. If you’re a small business owner, here’s how to work with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for your trade needs.
Get export and trade assistance
It may be easier to expand your market than you think. Even small businesses can get into exporting with the help of mentors and modern technology.
Trade Tools for International Sales
SBA's Office of International Trade provides information on its Trade Tools for International Sales page to help small businesses explore opportunities in other markets. Learn about U.S. trade agreements, find information on regulations and laws, and explore programs and services for small businesses who want to go global.
U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs)
USEACs help you explore the process of exporting at centers across the country. Each one is staffed by professionals from public and private organizations with experience in export assistance for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
SBDCs can also help. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities and state economic development agencies, and are partially funded through a partnership with SBA. Their advisors offer free business consulting and low-cost training services.
International Trade Hotline
SBA’s Office of International Trade can help any small business that faces barriers in accessing international markets. The office publicizes the small business benefits of U.S. trade agreements and helps protect the rights of small businesses under these agreements. Contact the toll-free trade hotline at 855-722-4877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find export trainings near you
Find international buyers
Many small business owners don’t realize foreign sales opportunities are well within reach. To reach them, all you need to do is take advantage of federal programs designed to build the bridge to new markets.
State Trade Expansion Program (STEP)
STEP provides financial awards to state and territory governments to help small businesses with export their products.
State-level STEP grants help small businesses:
- Learn how to export
- Participate in foreign trade missions and trade shows
- Obtain services to support foreign market entry
- Develop websites to attract foreign buyers
- Design international marketing products or campaigns
Most states receive STEP support. Find out if your state does, then contact your local office to see how they can help you export your products and services.
Export finance programs
Most U.S. banks view loans for exporters as risky. This makes it harder for you to get loans for things like day-to-day operations, advance orders with suppliers, and refinancing existing debts. That’s why SBA created export finance programs to provide lenders with up to a 90% guaranty on export loans.
To learn more about SBA export finance programs, contact your local SBA export finance manager or the SBA's Office of International Trade.
Find a list of participating export lenders.