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Published February 25, 2021
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By guest author Patricia Brewer, export finance manager, Small Business Administration Office of International Trade
It is a tough time to be a small-business owner, trying to support production and manage your team -- all during a global pandemic -- while looking for ways to diversify your customer base.
Have you considered the international market? By using e-commerce opportunities, exporting could be a COVID response strategy for small businesses. The primary benefit to exporting is resiliency. After the Great Recession, many exporting businesses attributed their survival to their diversified markets.
Exporting can feel daunting, but resources, such as the U.S. Commercial Service, can help small-business owners research foreign markets and buyers. State Trade Expansion Program grants are available to travel to trade shows or translate a company’s website.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has three export loan programs designed for companies entering exporting or expanding exports.
-- The Export Express program can cover international marketing costs, foreign trade shows, e-commerce, and international patent and trademark protection. The loan limit is $500,000, and your lender receives a 90 percent guarantee from the SBA for amounts less than $350,000.
-- The International Trade Loan (ITL) can be used to purchase machinery, retool production or acquire a bigger facility.
-- Once you are in the export market and generating a steady stream of sales, you might find yourself in need of working capital. Those foreign sales can be used as collateral under the Export Working Capital Program (EWCP). Through the EWCP, you can purchase inventory and pay wages that support your export orders.
The loan limits for the ITL and EWCP are $5 million, and your lender receives a 90 percent SBA guarantee.
Whether a small-business owner is new to exporting or already exporting, the SBA can help small businesses through export finance options with their banks. The SBA can work together with small businesses to figure out what works best for them.
To contact Brewer, email her at email@example.com.
Small-business owners may be interested in an upcoming SBA webinar on exporting and trade Thursday, March 4. To join the event at 2 p.m., go to the Wyoming SBDC Network website at www.wyomingsbdc.org/events/export-and-trade/.
You also can sign up for no-cost, confidential assistance with international trade and other small business topics from your local Wyoming SBDC Network adviser.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2020 alone, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 95 new businesses; support 6,954 jobs; and bring a capital impact of $18 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. SBA.
All opinions, conclusions and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.