By David Glaccum, SBA Official
Have you thought about taking your business global? Businesses that sell to international customers grow more quickly, make more sales, and employ more people. What’s not to like about that?
May is a perfect month to get started as it happens to be World Trade Month, which celebrates companies that sell goods and services around the world, and highlights expanded opportunities trade can bring to companies of all shapes and sizes. This celebration began more than 80 years ago when President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the third week in May to be National Foreign Trade Week in an effort to emphasize the importance of regaining foreign markets to rebuild the American economy during the Great Depression. Following World War II, it was renamed World Trade Week, and since then, the celebration has grown from a single week to include the whole month of May.
As the world’s largest economy and the largest exporter and importer of goods and services, trade is critical to America’s prosperity. Leading the way are small and medium-sized U.S. businesses who account for nearly 98 percent of the roughly 300,000 companies that export.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is an important partner providing essential resources to assist small businesses reach the global marketplace. The SBA’s export loan programs assist U.S. small businesses in accessing the financing needed to sell their goods and services to global customers. Last year, the SBA supported over $730 million in trade finance loans to small business, supporting over $2.5 billion in international sales.
The SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) provides financial assistance to small businesses through awards to state governments. STEP has supported small business activities in 146 countries, with the top ten countries being Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, China, France, Australia, Korea, UAE, and England. In addition, SBA works closely with the U.S. Commercial Service and the U.S. Export-Import Bank to provide potential and existing exporters with a unified, one-stop approach to export expansion through 21 U.S. Export Assistance Centers nationwide.
During World Trade Month and any month during the year, reach out to the SBA and let’s explore ways how reaching global customers can help your business grow. But remember, even after the month concludes, the SBA will still be here with our partners, ready to support American small businesses looking to expand their business endeavors through trade…because every month is world trade month at the SBA.