“Since 2009, Ex-Im has demonstrated a historic commitment to small business exports, and our local partners were key contributors to that success,” says Formella. “Through REPP, the Bank will continue to grow our network of regional, state and local partnerships we need to ensure small businesses have additional tools and access to U.S. government resources for exporters.”
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Benefits of the program for executives, especially owners of small businesses, include assistance with outreach and counseling; introduction to marketing and training materials; and access to qualified finance experts, lenders, insurance brokers and other sources of support.
“I’ve seen first-hand how Ex-Im programs really help small businesses grow their international sales, create jobs and improve Alabama’s economy,” says Bill Cummins, executive director of the Alabama Small Business Development Center Network (ASBDC). In association with the University of Alabama, ASBDC “has a 35-year history of working with Ex-Im Bank programs, and we look forward to growing that relationship with the Regional Export Promotion Program.”
Showing no signs of a slowdown, in September Ex-Im announced that it was extending the compliance timeframes for program participants in all the areas hit by hurricanes this year. “Small businesses often have difficulty resuming operations, and these customers have a lot more on their minds than their export finance obligations,” Hall says. “We’re here to help them get back up and running as soon as possible by providing them with flexibility on deadlines relating to the use of our products.”
“It’s being considered on a case-by-case basis,” Formella adds. “It’s giving them some time to meet the requirements under the programs. Existing customers should check with their regional office to see what the situation is.”
Ex-Im’s overall mission includes “filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms – including working capital guarantees and export credit insurance – to promote the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad,” she explains.
The working capital provision provides funds for developing your export marketing efforts, and the insurance policy assures that you’ll be paid for whatever you sell if your overseas buyer defaults on the deal.