“Without EXIM, I don’t think we would have had the confidence to pursue business internationally.”
Debbie Askin, CEO of Team Askin Technologies, Inc.
Team Askin Technologies, Inc. (TATI) is a women-owned small business information service provider based in Fairfax, VA. Founded in 1992 by CEO Debbie Askin, TATI started off working on software development projects as a government contractor. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was TATI’s first large client, and throughout their 15-year partnership, TATI developed expertise in the subject matter of aviation safety, supporting the FAA with a wide range of IT services. Throughout the years, TATI has expanded its business reach and has also worked with many other clients, including the Department of Labor (DOL), Apptis, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
THE OVERSEAS OPPORTUNITY
With an impressive track record with the FAA in developing aviation regulatory systems, TATI was then presented with the opportunity to work with FAA’s equivalent in Saudi Arabia: the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
With this potentially fruitful international opportunity before them, TATI turned to the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) to help mitigate the greater risks associated with exporting their services to a foreign country. For all U.S. exporters, the international marketplace presents a unique set of challenges that are not applicable to domestic markets. For a small business like TATI, in addition to adapting to the unfamiliar foreign business laws and cultures, getting access to capital was a particular obstacle. The Principal of TATI, Steve Askin, knew of EXIM’s services though prior experience in the private banking world and recognized EXIM as the perfect fit for TATI’s needs.
To help TATI gain access to working capital, EXIM provided the company with its Working Capital Loan Guarantee (WCLG). The guarantee empowered TATI to unlock cash flow, borrow more with the same collateral, and secure winning performance and bid bonds. Through the Working Capital Loan Guarantee, EXIM works with TATI’s lenders and backs 90% of TATI’s borrowing debt in the event that something goes amiss. With decreased repayment risk, TATI became a much more attractive client to lenders, increasing their lenders’ willingness to extend loans to TATI for its overseas project with Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, EXIM provided TATI>Export Credit Insurance, which insures their foreign receivables against international buyer non-payment and covers both political and commercial risk, empowering TATI to extend credit terms to foreign customers. With EXIM’s products in hand, TATI is now equipped with a newfound confidence to pioneer their path forwards into new markets and has subsequently also worked on a pilot licensing system with the FAA’s counterpart in Singapore.
Today and the Future
With EXIM’s continued support at its back, TATI’s international sales have burgeoned and the company’s multi-year ventures overseas have brought in $10-15 million in revenue. Looking forward to the future, TATI hopes to continue working with regulatory management systems in other countries where there is a recognized need for compliance based solutions and a desire for U.S. knowledge and expertise that TATI is well-positioned to provide.
Drawing from her own business experiences and success, TATI’s CEO Debbie Askin encourages other U.S. small businesses to recognize the rewards that come with having a diverse business portfolio that spans across borders, and advises them to pursue the opportunities of international markets. In today’s truly global marketplace, Askin recommends U.S. small businesses to use EXIM’s products as a way to help open up avenues in the exporting world that may otherwise be unavailable.
To find out more about how export credit insurance can help your business mitigate risk and increase competitiveness,check out our FREE E-Book “A Guide to Export Credit Insurance”.