News at Smith

Maryland Partners in International Trade Hosts Webinar on Financing Exports

Jul 28, 2020

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The Center for Global Business presented the fifth installment in an ongoing series of webinars by the MAPIT Alliance, “Show Me the Money: Financing Exports in Uncertain Times.” Building on the previous webinars that focused on shipping, logistics, and market research, this edition was created to share financing resources available to help companies export and showcase an example of a local Maryland company that has been successful in accessing these resources and exporting globally.

The webinar featured insights from Kwabena Osei-Sarpong, president and CEO of RIFE International, Federico Manno, vice president of Fulton International Group, Elizabeth Thomas, director of outreach and education of the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of the U.S., and Bill Houck, export finance manager of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Rebecca Bellinger, executive director of CGB at Maryland Smith, hosted the discussion, and along with other partners of the MAPIT Alliance, rounded out the webinar by connecting Maryland companies with existing resources and programs from their respective institutions and organizations. Osei-Sarpong shared how RIFE International, an energy efficiency, sustainable development, and construction services company, has been successful in leveraging financial and other support resources to grow their finances and market shares in international markets. He presented a list of questions companies should consider when exporting whether they are new exporters or not while emphasizing the importance of accessing resources from the partners of the MAPIT Alliance, and other resources, such as EXIM Bank and the SBA. Accessing resources from state and federal institutions is critical when developing financing for your exports; however, a company will need to work with a private bank to provide structured trade finance. Manno discussed why this is important, and the value and services a private bank can provide when working closely with exporters, such as risk mitigation and negotiating trade deals.

While EXIM Bank supports all U.S. businesses of all sizes, Thomas pointed out that EXIM particularly supports small businesses and that 90% of their transactions support small business exporters. “No company or no transaction is too small.” says Thomas, “We support sales, export sales of just a few thousand dollars.” Thomas also discussed why asking for cash in advance can be risky and how companies can be more competitive by offering open account credit terms through Export Credit Insurance. Houck, focused specifically on small business in the U.S., explained SBA’s programs provide loan guarantees and help companies finance any export-related activity. Such programs include Export Express, Export Working Capital Program, and the International Trade Loan, all of which can be covered by the SBA Debt Relief Program. “Now is the time to look at your working capital needs to get through this next year.” stressed Houck, “If you have uncovered assets, now is the time for companies to think about tapping into valuable cash with extremely low-interest rates by working with their bank to keep them competitive.”

Jessica Reynolds, senior director at the Maryland Department of Commerce, Andrew Glass, commercial officer of the Baltimore Export Assistance Center at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Philip Grove, chair of the Maryland-D.C. District Export Council, and Bellinger concluded the webinar by introducing resources offered by each of the partners of the MAPIT Alliance including Export University, ExportMD Grant Program, ExporTech, and the Maryland Global Export Consulting Program, which provides companies with access to talented undergraduate or graduate Maryland Smith students to deliver solutions to their international business challenges.

The MAPIT Alliance is a partnership of Maryland Smith’s Center for Global Business, Maryland-D.C. District Export Council, the Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of International Investment and Trade, and the U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) in Baltimore.

Watch the recording of the webinar. Learn more about the MAPIT Alliance and the Center for Global Business. If interested in applying to the Maryland Global Export Consulting Program for the fall, contact the center via email at smithglobal@umd.edu by August 1.

This event was sponsored in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

— By Marina Augoustidis, associate director, Center for Global Business

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