Equilibar, an engineering and technology company in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, was launched in 2007 in the basement of inventor and founder Jeff Jennings. Since then, the team has grown to 25 people who design and manufacture fluid control instruments for research and industry around the world, often collaborating on technological breakthroughs in alternative energy, aerospace, and other emerging fields. In the spring of 2019, the company was awarded the Presidential “E” Award for Exports, the highest recognition a US entity can receive for making a significant contribution to US exports.
From the beginning, Equilibar successfully tackled difficult cutting-edge applications. The company, however, was reluctant to take the financial risk of selling on open account credit terms to smaller, unknown foreign businesses. “They were kind of keeping us lying awake at night because we couldn't guarantee whether or not we would get paid,” said Julie Detmering, Equilibar’s Customer Service Manager. If a foreign buyer did not pay, the resulting financial loss could be devasting to the company.
To mitigate the risk of selling to small, unknown companies, Equilibar has been using EXIM’s export credit insurance. The insurance safeguards the company from not getting paid due to commercial and political risks. If a foreign buyer fails to pay its invoice, EXIM covers Equilibar’s invoice up to 95 percent.
“They promised us that we would get paid for the products that we sold. We pay a small premium rate to the federal government based on the value of our invoice, and the federal government would insure that invoice. So even if a customer didn't pay us, we'd just file a claim with EXIM and government would pay us 95 percent of that value,” states Ms. Detmering.
Equilibar’s international orders have increased, sometimes reaching 44 percent of total sales in a quarter. By reducing its nonpayment risks, the company is more confident in entering new markets and increasing sales in existing ones. EXIM has supported $287,000 of Equlibar’s export sales since 2015.