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Small Businesses to Serve on EXIM Committees Working to Strengthen U.S. Exports
September 08, 2022 Office of Small Business and Office of Communications & External Engagement

A trio of small businesses who have relied on EXIM's trade finance tools to successfully sell their products worldwide will be providing guidance to help strengthen support of U.S. exports as members of EXIM's Advisory Committee and Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee.

Members of both committees are appointed for one-year terms by EXIM's Board of Directors.

EXIM Advisory Committee Includes Two Pennsylvania Companies

EXIM's 2022-2023 Advisory Committee will be chaired by former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp for a second consecutive term. The committee advises EXIM on its policies and programs, in particular on the extent to which EXIM provides competitive financing to support American jobs through exports.

The committee is composed of 17 members, representing agriculture, environment, production, commerce, finance, labor, services, state government, and the textile industry. Among them are leaders of two small businesses that have utilized EXIM's financing tools:

  • Archana Sharma, CEO of AKAS Textiles, a woman- and minority-owned small business that designs and manufactures textiles in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The family-operated business, which was named EXIM Exporter of the Year in 2021, has used EXIM's export credit insurance and working capital loan guarantee to support its international sales since 2013.

  • Venkee Sharma, Chairman & CEO of Aquatech International, LLC, a global leader in water purification systems and wastewater treatment technology headquartered in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Since 2014, EXIM has supported exports valued at more than $203 million for the minority-owned small business, which was named EXIM Exporter of the Year in 2009.

“EXIM’s Advisory Committee is integral to advancing EXIM as we push the agency into a new, modern era,” said EXIM President and Chair Reta Jo Lewis. “We welcome the insight of our newly appointed members and look forward to continued leadership and support from former Senator Heidi Heitkamp as she helms the committee for a second year.”

North Dakota Company Joins Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee

The 2022-2023 Sub-Saharan Africa Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be chaired by Jude Kearney, Managing Partner at ASAFO & Co. law firm. The committee  provides guidance and advice regarding EXIM’s policies and programs designed to support the expansion of financing support for U.S.-manufactured goods and services in sub-Saharan Africa. Members advise EXIM on the development and implementation of policies and programs designed to support EXIM’s engagement in sub-Saharan Africa and boost U.S. exports and American jobs.

The committee is composed of 11 members, representing trade/commerce, banking/finance, and small business, including:

  • Kristin Hedger, Senior Vice President of Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing (KMM), a manufacturer of electronic components for military and aerospace industries in Killdeer, North Dakota. The company, an EXIM customer, is the sole small business supplier of fiber optic bundles for an aviation manufacturing facility in Wichita, Kansas. In business since 1987, it employs approximately 460 people across four facilities.

“The recommendations and insight gleaned from the Sub-Saharan Africa Committee are critical as EXIM works to strengthen American exports across the continent,” said Chair Lewis. “I look forward to working with this year’s committee as we continue to support key EXIM and Biden-Harris Administration priorities to fulfill our mission and congressional mandates.”

To find out how EXIM can assist your business in starting or expanding your export journey , schedule a free consultation with a trade finance specialist today.

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.