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Export products

Benefits of exporting

Nearly 96 percent 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 Small Business Administration for your trade needs.

exporting

1

Get counseling & training

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.

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
Small Business Development Centers (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.

Trade Tools for International Sales
The SBA's Office of International Trade on its Trade Tools for International Sales page provides information 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.

International Trade Hotline
The 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 international@sba.gov.

2

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.

STEP helps 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.

3

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 the SBA created programs to provide lenders with up to a 90 percent guaranty on export loans.

To learn more about SBA export loan programs, contact SBA's Office of International Trade

See a list of participating export lenders.

Export Express loan
Export Express lenders can directly underwrite a loan without getting prior approval from the SBA, which allows you to get capital quickly. Loans are typically approved within 36 hours, and can be up to $500,000.

Export Working Capital loan
Export Working Capital loans allow small business owners to apply for loans in advance of finalizing an export sale or contract, giving exporters greater flexibility in negotiating export payment terms. These loans can be up to $5 million, and the turnaround time is usually five to 10 business days.

SBA gives select lenders delegated authority to process, close, service, and liquidate SBA-guaranteed Export Working Capital Program loans.  See a complete list of EWCP Preferred Lenders.

International Trade Loan
International Trade loans help small businesses enter international markets and make investments to compete with other importers. These loans offer a combination of fixed asset, working capital financing, and debt refinancing with the SBA’s maximum guaranty of 90 percent on the total loan amount. The maximum loan is $5 million in total financing.

Additional trade resources

SBA Office of International Trade

Export.gov

Full list of government trade agencies

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Getting to Global's Export Accelerator

 

Free Business Counseling
Connect with a SCORE, Small Business Development Center, Women's Business Center or Veterans Business Outreach Center adviser.

 

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