David M. Glaccum
Associate Administrator, Office of International Trade
We have a team dedicated to working with other federal agencies and SBA resource partners to identify small businesses with global sales potential, prepare them for success and facilitate new market opportunities.
In line with baseball and apple pie, there’s nothing more American than a small business. So I mean it when I say that I’m blessed to work at the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), where we are singularly dedicated to small business success. At its core, the SBA’s mission is to protect the interests of small businesses to preserve free enterprise and strengthen our nation’s economy. We do this, and we do it well.
Developing small business
But one of SBA’s growing offices is one that has the potential to help your small business develop faster, hire more employees and secure economic longevity — the Office of International Trade (OIT). Our mission at OIT is easy to explain: Help small businesses reach global customers. And small business expansion into international markets is an area where we believe there is tremendous growth potential.
Nearly 96 percent of consumers live outside the United States, and two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power is in foreign countries. Ninety-eight percent of U.S. exporters are small businesses, accounting for a third of total export value — roughly $730 billion. That sounds significant — and in fact, is significant — but with a global gross domestic product (GDP) of nearly $85 trillion, 28 percent of which is export related, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. And with only about 1 percent of America’s small businesses exporting, our job is to find out what’s holding the rest of them back and break down those barriers.
Exporting for small businesses
Fortunately, we have some information on this. According to the National Small Business Association’s 2016 Small Business Exporting Survey, 37 percent of small businesses said they don’t know where to start. Another 24 percent said the regulatory environment is too complex. And 17 percent said they can’t get financing. These are all solvable problems. In fact, OIT is mandated to address these very challenges. And while selling your goods and services in other countries may seem like a risky endeavor, our team of dedicated specialists stands ready to get you where you need to go — creating a value chain for your small business as you seek to grow your customer base in global markets. Allow me to explain how.
Functions of the SBA
We have a team dedicated to opening global markets to small businesses, fostering small business-friendly ecosystems to promote sales opportunities for American small businesses abroad.
We have a team dedicated to working with other federal agencies and SBA resource partners — such as Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers — to identify small businesses with global sales potential, prepare them for success and facilitate new market opportunities.
We have a team that seeks to expand small business global market entry through the State Trade Expansion Program, or STEP, which provides grants to states and U.S. territories to assist small businesses to succeed in the international marketplace. The states pass the funds on to their small businesses to encourage and support global market growth through participation in trade shows or other export promotion activities. In seven program years, STEP has supported export activities in 127 countries. Over the last three completed years, $44.25 million has been awarded, resulting in almost $1.5 billion in U.S. export sales reported.
And we have a team that, in partnership with our private sector lenders, helps finance global sales through loan programs that can guarantee up to 90 percent of export-focused loans. In Fiscal Year 2018 alone, we booked 476 export finance loans for nearly $735 million, supporting over 10,900 jobs and $2.6 billion in reported export sales.
But we want to do more. So please, reach out to us. The SBA stands ready to support your small business any way we can. And the Office of International Trade stands ready to help you go global, turning your small business into big business.