|US Small Business to Get Help in Going Global|
American small business, long renowned for its amazing contribution to the U.S. economy, will now be assisted in expanding into emerging global markets thanks to a joint initiative of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Announced on September 19 in Washington, the new OPIC Small Business Center represents the first step in the integrated efforts of SBA and OPIC to promote the expansion of U.S. small businesses into emerging world markets.
Through the OPIC Small Business Center, which officially opens on October 1, small businesses wishing to expand beyond the borders of the U.S. will be able to:
- tap the expertise and assistance of OPIC in the development of international small business deals, and
- take advantage of a streamlined approval process aimed at reducing the costs incurred by the small business.
In announcing this groundbreaking initiative, U.S. Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-Illinois, 16th), said it "represented an unprecedented step toward helping Americas small businesses compete in the global marketplace. Pooling the resources of OPIC and the SBA will generate tangible opportunities for U.S. small businesses to expand into dynamic emerging markets."
Rep. Manzullo, chairman of the House Small Business Committee added, "In the post-September 11 world, it is hard to overstate the importance of this development for American economic interests both here and abroad."
According to OPIC President and CEO Dr. Peter S. Watson, "Small businesses have long been the primary engine of American economic growth. That fact, we believe, will hold true for emerging markets as well, and by coordinating the expertise of OPIC and the SBA, we will go a long way toward unleashing the capacity of U.S. small businesses to generate growth, better standards of living and entrepreneurial spirit among our allies in the developing world."
Speaking on behalf of the SBA, Administrator Hector V. Barreto stated, "his partnership between the SBA and OPIC will help to make sure that American small businesses that want to export American products have the opportunity and resources to do so. More than ever before, it is clear today that world trade is essential to the health of the American economy and to the growth of thousands of American companies. Entering the overseas marketplace offers exciting opportunities for small businesses to increase sales and profits, and our agreement with OPIC is a tremendous union of energy and expertise."
What the SBA/OPIC Partnership Will Do
According to the terms of the OPIC/SBA Small Business Initiative:
- Each agency will provide training on its programs to the others personnel
in order to better serve U.S. small businesses.
- The SBA will train OPIC personnel about SBA business information centers,
finance and technical assistance programs. These programs will enable both
agencies to make qualified referrals of financial and technical assistance to
- OPIC and SBA staff will meet regularly to share information about economic,
financial and political developments, business development, and risk mitigation
and management. Ad hoc working groups to support specific initiatives will be
established; for example, the agencies will create a working group to support Americas
Partnership for Prosperity with Mexico.
- OPIC and the SBA will make staffs available to travel in the U.S. to participate in trade shows, conferences and seminars focusing on small businesses and commercial lenders.
About the OPIC
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) was established as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. It helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy. OPICs political risk insurance and financing help U.S. businesses of all sizes invest in more than 150 emerging markets and developing nations worldwide.
Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers.