There are several funding mechanisms available to small businesses to help start or grow exporting.

State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Grant

The Idaho Department of Commerce has a grant program to assist small businesses with various export activities from going to trade shows to translating your product materials.

SBA Loans

Since FY 2009, SBA has guaranteed 6,400 loans to small business exporters worth over $3.3 billion, generating over $6.3 billion in exports.  Below are some of their loan programs.

Export Express Loan Program – Offers eligible small businesses up to $500,000 in financing to use towards any export development activity and is also the only government loan that funds participation in trade shows or trade missions.

Export Working Capital Program – Offers small businesses already doing some exporting up to $5 million who are looking for additional working capital to support those sales

International Trade Loan Program  – Offers up to $5 million to upgrade facilities or equipment in support of exporting

SBA Exporting Loan Home Page – For general information

USDA Export Guarantee Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides export financing to your international buyers by providing credit guarantees to foreign banks to encourage food and agricultural exports to buyers in countries where credit is necessary to maintain or increase U.S. sales, but where financing may not be available without the guarantees.

U.S. Export-Import Bank

The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) is an official U.S. government credit agency that assists businesses of all size with their export financing needs; essentially filling the gaps in trade financing and assuming credit and country risks that many commercial lenders are unable or unwilling to accept.  

Working Capital Guarantee Program – Offers a for small business exporters through lending partners with whom it has agreements

Loan Guarantee Program – Mitigates risk against non-payment by a foreign buyer or having the order go to a local competitor. Your foreign buyer is the lender and they must service the debt.

Direct Loan Program – Provides fixed-rate financing to creditworthy buyers.

Finance Lease Guarantee Program – Guarantees lease financing of U.S. goods and services to creditworthy international lessees.

More Information

For more information on these programs, contact your local U.S Export Assistance Center.

Also check out this useful SBA side-by-side comparison of U.S. government export assistance financing programs (PDF)

For general small business funding information visit the SBDC Funding Options page.

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