“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
In fall 2017, Chicago-based Woman Entrepreneurs GROW Global organization (WEGG) presented an export-training workshop in Chicago with EXIM Bank as a participant, to equip women-owned businesses with the tools needed to expand their global opportunities.
One of WEGG’s members, Sonat Birnecker Hart, president and co-owner of KOVAL Distillery with her husband Robert, hosted the workshop and also presented at the event. KOVAL Distillery, also known as KOVAL Inc., produces organic whiskey, liqueurs and specialty spirits that are sold throughout the US, Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia.
It was during the workshop’s question and answer session that the distillery recognized the benefit of using EXIM. At the time, KOVAL was primarily using cash-in-advance (CIA) payment methods. So when they learned about EXIM’s export-financing solutions, they realized they could streamline their exporting process and increase sales.A few months later, KOVAL signed up for an EXIM short-term insurance policy. The policy enables the business to compete and win deals against foreign competitors, offer open-account credit terms to buyers, and protect against foreign buyer non-payment.
“We recognized that as our export business grows, it would behoove us to have a system in place to be able to send over more product and build stronger relationships with our partners. Having the support of EXIM Bank allows us greater flexibility to meet the needs of our growing markets, while providing us with the security to aim higher,” Sonat explained.
Through collaboration and a passion to help small businesses succeed, EXIM Bank and WEGG were able to arm KOVAL with the resources and support needed to exceed its global business growth goals. The two organizations will continue to work together and cultivate these opportunities for women entrepreneurs throughout the US.
"WEGG exists to remove the barriers keeping women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide from going global. EXIM exists to create opportunities for export-ready U.S. businesses. Together, we are a match made in heaven for women entrepreneurs and business owners who aspire to take their businesses to the next level of growth," says Laurel Delaney, President of WEGG.
Since 2009, EXIM Bank has authorized more loans to help grow minority-and women-owned businesses (MWOBs) than it did over the previous sixteen years combined - making it the fastest growing sector in the Bank's small business portfolio. Not to mention that it has an MWOB unit solely dedicated to providing hands-on support and guidance to help women and minority-owned companies access EXIM financing.
“EXIM is proud of its success with WEGG this year and looks forward to more events together that can help women entrepreneurs stimulate their sales abroad and bolster opportunities for global growth,” said EXIM’s Director of the MWOB unit and Multiplier Outreach Division, Tammy Maxwell.