A record $184.4 billion in goods and services were exported by U.S. businesses in March 2012, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures. If you’re ready to join this growing export community, chances are you will need financing resources to take your small business to the international level. Consider the SmallBusiness Administration (SBA) and its partners for loan programs to assist you with the various financial needs involved in beginning your exporting endeavor.
Export Express Loan Program. Financing is available for export transactions including support for standby letters of credit and export development expenses such as product literature translation. The financing can be a term loan or a revolving line of credit.
To find the simplest and quickest financing avenue offered by the SBA, check with your existing lender to see if they participate—if so, you can apply directly with them—or go to the list of participating lenders by state which can be found on the SBA’sExpress Loan site.
Export Working Capital Program
This SBA program offers often otherwise hard-to-obtain financing of certain export related costs such as raw materials, inventory, labor, foreign accounts receivable and the overhead costs of filling export sales orders.
What is especially valuable about financing obtained through this program? Because a business can apply for a loan before an export sale or contract is in place, additional opportunities for export transactions open up.
A list of lenders by state participating in this financing program is available on the SBA’sWorking Capital site.
International Trade Loan Program
Available to borrowers expanding or developing new export markets or adversely affected by import competition, this program offers long-term financing for fixed assets as well as working capital. Loan proceeds may also be used to refinance existing loans.
Apply for an International Trade Loan through a participating lender.
Where To Start
Now that you know what’s up for grabs in export financing for small businesses, before you start the application process, take a two-step approach:
1. Check the SBA’s foreign investment website for information regarding whether your business qualifies for a financing program you’re interested in and the amounts available.
2. Contact an Export Assistance Center, and avail yourself of the expertise provided by SBA Senior International Credit Officers. From this resource you can obtain invaluable information about the application process and required paperwork for the SBA’s financing programs, as well as custom input to help make your exporting experience a successful one.
If you’ve done the groundwork and your business seems ready for exporting, don’t let the lack of financing stop you from tapping into this new revenue stream. Take advantage of the funds that are available and significantly expand your business’s reach and success beyond U.S. borders.
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