Did you know there are non-profit economic development organizations across the U.S. that offer free or low-cost export counseling, export outreach, and technical assistance to U.S. businesses looking to export?
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has established relationships with many of these entities through its Regional Export Promotion Program (REPP). If a business needs advice on export-related issues, EXIM’s REPP members can provide the information and services that it needs to succeed. The North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) is one such organization that enables North Carolina businesses to become export ready, furthering the export of “Made in North Carolina” goods and services.
SBTDC offers North Carolina companies free and confidential international business advice and assistance. SBTDC works with EXIM and other federal partners such as the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce to equip North Carolina businesses to gain access to financing-such as export credit insurance and working capital - and to facilitate participation in programs that provide market research and help find qualified foreign buyers.
Slade Inc. is a company that SBTDC has worked with to increase its international market share. Based out of Statesville, NC., Slade Inc. is a manufacturer of fluid-sealing products for industrial equipment, specifically pumps and valves that serve the steam, nuclear and water hydro-electric plants, pulp and paper mills, and petrochemical and oil and gas industries.
With assistance from the SBTDC, Slade took advantage of U.S. Department of Commerce’s Gold-Key Matching Service, which it used to begin the process of identifying foreign customers and potential distributors in the global marketplace.
As Slade’s export business grew, it worked with the SBTDC to manage the risks inherent in exporting to unknown markets –such as getting paid by foreign customers – with help from EXIM.
Working with SBTDC, U.S. Commercial Service and EXIM, Slade has been able to expand its export sales with confidence – growing from just one export country in 1997 to 65 and growing today! Specifically, Slade has benefited from using EXIM’s Export Credit Insurance product, which is just as it sounds – an insurance policy for a business’ foreign accounts receivable.
Since 1997, Slade has made credit insurance a cornerstone of its business operations and has used EXIM’s Short-Term Multi-Buyer Credit Insurance to offer open account terms to its international customers (rather than requiring cash-in-advance). Export credit insurance allows Slade to export to foreign customers with confidence, knowing that should a foreign customer default or a sovereign government take an action that prevents Slade from being paid, EXIM will reimburse Slade for 95 percent of their export invoice. With “Getting Paid” never being an issue for Slade, it is able to better focus on business development.
The use of export credit insurance has also helped Slade to streamline and improve its own back office operations. Export credit insurance has simplified Slade’s credit reporting process and has simplified how the company establishes credit lines for foreign customers. In particular, the EXIM export credit insurance application allows Slade to download a ledger that quickly populates and processes a foreign customer’s credit line. This in turn allows Slade to process new sales more quickly. And, if Slade has a question about a foreign customer or a credit insurance application, it can receive timely feedback from EXIM which vets all of Slade’s foreign customers. The use of EXIM credit insurance has equipped Slade to become a highly successful exporter with a proven strategy for entering new markets and finding new customers.
Learn more about the SBTDC by visiting them at http: www.sbtdc.org/programs/export/