Our previous two blog posts summarized product and program changes from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) as well as details about the PPP and EIDL provisions of the CARES Act administered thorough the Small Business Administration (SBA). These programs were implemented to provide federal assistance to the U.S. small business community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the state and local level, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) can personally support you in navigating these products and programs, completing their applications, and connecting you with representatives from these and other agencies.
Normally SBDCs provide a variety of support to small businesses, ranging from basic training in business fundamentals to more complex international trade guidance. They’re partially funded by the SBA and there are hundreds of locations around the country. Their focus is exclusively on small businesses and their services are offered at either minimal or no cost. During this COVID-19 crisis, most SBDC websites now contain a COVID-19 guidance section specific to their region and SBDC staff can advise you.
Many SBDCs are part of EXIM’s Regional Export Partner Program (REPP) whose membership also consists of World Trade Centers and Chamber of Commerce organizations throughout the United States. These groups bring state, county, and local nonprofit economic development entities together to expand export opportunities. REPP members must remain current with EXIM products and programs. In light of the COVID-19 situation, there is now an EXIM program compilation of fact sheets and evolving news about EXIM’s response to the pandemic. Find a REPP member in your area for more information.
In our next blog post later this week, How to Become Export Ready by Jeffrey Clare, you will learn about the Virginia Small Business Development Center’s steps to help companies become export ready.