Reach Global Markets with the SBA

By Cassius F. Butts, Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Today, 98 percent of American companies that export are small businesses, but more than half of our exporters are only selling to one foreign market; usually Canada or Mexico. It’s time to take action to help more entrepreneurs reach new markets for their goods and services.

It is essential for Congress to renew Trade Promotion Authority to help open doors for small businesses that would otherwise remain closed. New trade agreements are critical to level the playing field for our nation’s small business exporters.  These exporters have fewer resources to overcome trade barriers and gain market access than larger companies.

Increases in U.S. exports have generated nearly one-third of our overall economic growth and supported 1.6 million new jobs. Last year, the U.S. exported a record $2.3 trillion of goods and services, an all-time high. One out of every five American jobs is created through exporting. These newly created jobs generally pay 20 percent higher than on average.

Under President Obama, SBA has supported $6.6 billion in small business export financing. This is more than any other President. We guarantee 90 percent of export loans (working capital, line of credit, or fixed-asset financing) on amounts up to $5 million. We also have an expedited approval process on export loans under a half-million dollars.

With two thirds of the world’s purchasing power residing outside the U.S., the SBA is acutely aware that trade agreements play an important role in the long-term success of America’s small businesses.  We are working diligently to help small business owners across the country grow their businesses in this global economy.

We carry a network of trade finance specialists located in U.S. Export Assistance Centers throughout the country. These centers provide training and consultation services on trade financing and U.S. government export programs to both lenders and small businesses.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to expand your customer base, there’s never been a better time to think globally before acting locally. I encourage you to work with your local U.S. Export Assistance Center at to reach untapped global markets.