Top of the Hill Brewery started as a campaign to block a chain restaurant from capturing a strategic hill, and preserve this prime real estate in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for local businesses. Led by Scott Maitland, military veteran, serial entrepreneur and Professor of the Practice of Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, the original microbrewery, one of the first in the state, has grown to include a distillery of organic spirits (whiskey, vodka and gin), fueling the local economy as well as the community. In addition to providing award winning organic spirits and local jobs, TOPO Distillery is noteworthy for employing military veterans in all aspects of the business, and according to Scott, the team is key to success.
In a July 2013 interview with Food Newsfeed Scott says, “… I try to hire the very best people to handle the business of what we do … I have the background, especially from my Army experience, to put together a team with a synergistic ability to accomplish great things.” Next on Scott’s list of accomplishments for TOPO Organic Spirits is to expand the brand into international markets. Leveraging EXIM Bank’s export credit insurance, TOPO Distillery is able to offer credit terms to foreign buyers, secure in the knowledge that the company’s financial assets are protected from loss. Growing revenue streams, adding jobs and doing what’s best for the company is all in a day’s work for this veteran-owned small business.
Another veteran owned business, Jeco Plastic Products, credits EXIM Bank with helping them grow their business through exporting. Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Plainfield, Indiana, Jeco Plastic Products is an international leader in the development and production of plastic pallets. Over half of the company’s sales are to overseas clients in Western and Eastern Europe, North and South America, Japan and the Middle East. The company faces competition from local manufacturers in these markets and from China-based suppliers in all markets.
Since 1998, Craig Carson, CEO Jeco Plastic Products, has worked with EXIM Bank to protect the company’s foreign receivables from nonpayment by international buyers and raise working capital to manufacture pallets that are sold overseas. Speaking at a recent U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mr. Carson talked about the role EXIM’s export credit insurance and working capital loan guarantee played in the company’s growth.
"Our export business at Jeco Plastic Products has shown double-digit annual growth in recent years, in part because we were able to offer open account payment terms and still eliminate the risk of nonpayment by overseas customers. The security provided by EXIM Bank guarantees also allows Jeco to finance working capital on very favorable terms. As a smaller company, Jeco values greatly the assistance of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and we are proud of the effect our export success has upon our employees and the community."
“EXIM Bank is dedicated to the success of veteran-owned small businesses,” says Michael Jackson, EXIM Lead Business Development Officer. “Working with the Department of Commerce Vets Go Global team and the leadership of national veterans associations, we strive to educate veteran business owners on the variety of resources that can help them grow sustainable businesses.”
Join Craig Carson, Michael Jackson and Vets Go Global Team Leader Murat Muftari for a FREE webinar to learn how federal government products, programs and trade professionals can help your business thrive. Register for the webinar here!