Facebook pixel

Global Access for Small Business Launch

As Prepared for Delivery

Fred P. Hochberg

Jan 13, 2011 – Washington, D.C.

Before I acknowledge my colleagues, I'd like to make one quick point. We are all here today for one reason, and one reason alone: To create jobs—And to get more Americans back to work.

The importance of creating goodAmerican jobs—and growing our economy—is something that President Obama, the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and all of us here fully agree on.

It is the President's number one priority—and as Tom noted in his State of American Business speech on Tuesday: it is the Chamber's number one priority.

And it is what the partnership we are announcing today is all about: creating and supporting good American jobs through exports. And in the process building a more durable—and more resilient U.S. economy.

It is what President Obama directed our agencies to focus our time and resources on, particularly with regard to small business.

So let me start by recognizing my good friends Secretary Locke, Trade Representative Kirk, and SBA Administrator Mills. All of us joined the Administration together—within months of each other. And all of us here are working together to ensure that our agencies have a coordinated, cohesive and customer-focused approach to assist private sector companies in growing their sales and creating more jobs.

So with that, let me also thank Tom for hosting us this afternoon. And for partnering on Global Access for Small Business.

Let me also recognize my friend David Chavern at the Chamber. David formerly worked at Ex-Im—and has been instrumental in helping us to develop this partnership.

I also want to recognize Jay Timmons at the National Association of Manufacturers. If we are going to double exports, we need to engage more American manufacturers. And with Jay's leadership, I am confident we can make that happen.

I also want to welcome our financial sector partners here today seated in the front row: Wells Fargo, PNC, HSBC and Bank of America—Thank you for your commitment to this important work.

Today is just the beginning. I'd like to add many more partners. So in the future they will fill ten rows.

Global Access is a model for how government and the private sector can come together to support American business, stimulate private sector job creation, and strengthen long-term economic growth through exports. It is about understanding our customers—and better addressing their needs.

At Ex-Im, we work closely with many of America's largest corporations—the GE's, the Boeings and the Caterpillars. These companies already have resources and relationships throughout the world. What they need from us is financing to achieve the competitive edge to beat out their foreign competitors.

However, for small businesses, the need is different. They need access to capital - and to people who can help them navigate the global marketplace.

That is what Global Access is all about. It's about coordinating the tools and resources and programs we have available—at Ex-Im, at Commerce, SBA and USTR—and tailoring them specifically to meet the unique needs of small business exporters.

It's about streamlining government programs and processes—and cutting approval times. At Ex-Im, we reduced them by about a third in the past year. But we can still do better.

It's about working with the Chamber, NAM and our financial sector partners to build awareness of key opportunities to sell U.S. products and services abroad. And, it's about managing the risk of doing business overseas.

What's stopping many small businesses from selling overseas? Fear of non-payment. I hear it all the time. Small business owners say to me: I already lose sleep worrying about getting paid by my customers in New Jersey, New York and New Mexico. How on earth am I going to sell to New Delhi?

The partnership we are announcing today will ensure that more small business owners have the peace of mind and security to sell their products in the global marketplace. Last year, 85 percent of our work was with small businesses.

And we provided $5 billion in small business financing—a record for the Bank.

And, as a self-sustaining agency we are able to do this work at no cost to the American taxpayer. In fact, we have earned about $5 billion for taxpayers since 1992.

But we need to engage even more small businesses in exporting. That's why we created Global Access.

We need more companies like Air Tractor from Olney, Texas, to take advantage of our financing products.

I've asked Dave Ickert from Air Tractor to be here today. Dave sells agriculture aircraft, like crop-dusters. Now, there is not a great demand for these planes in the Beltway, but the demand is huge—as Dave will tell you—in emerging economies.

When we started working with Air Tractor, about 10 percent of its business was exports. This year, for the first time, more than 50 percent of their sales came from abroad.

And this export growth has allowed the company to hire more workers in the rural Texas community where it operates.

Helping more companies like Air Tractor is what Global Access is all about. Our goals are concrete and ambitious. By 2015, we will:

  • Approve at least $30 billion in small business transactions
  • Double our annual small business volume from $4.5 billion to $9 billion
  • Support over $55 billion in small business export sales
  • Add 5,000 new small businesses to our Bank's portfolio

These targets align the needs of small business with President Obama's NEI. And makes certain that small business is front and center in our efforts to increase exports, grow our economy and create jobs.

To achieve our goals, we developed new financing products with our customer in mind—the small business owner. So let me give you a few examples:

Solar Express: speeds up turnaround time for small renewable energy projects. Projects under $10 million.

Supply-chain financing: This increases liquidity for small business suppliers that sell to U.S. exporters.

And Export Credit Reinsurance will now allow us to cover the risk of non-payment and makes private insurance available to more small businesses.

Express Insurance: is great for first time users and for policies under $300,000.

In addition to these products, we are streamlining all of our turnaround times—so that we can get to yes quicker.

We also will be holding 20 Global Access forums across the country to build awareness for our products and services. And that's where the Chamber, NAM and our financial services partners come in. We need you to reach out to your members and customers who can benefit from exporting.

To further our outreach, we will be working closely with Members of Congress, mayors, governors and local elected officials to help sponsor these events.

These forums are more than just informational sessions; they lay the groundwork for deals and ensure that small businesses have the relationships, the resources and tools they need to export to more markets.

At each forum, we offer one-on-one counseling to small business owners. So we can tailor our guidance to meet the specific needs of their business.

We cannot grow our economy without growing our export sales. And we cannot grow export sales without small businesses. We know that there are tens of thousands of companies like Air Tractor across the country.

Through Global Access we can make sure that more small businesses are selling more products, to more customers in more countries—And in the process growing their business and adding new workers to their payrolls.

All of us are extremely excited about the opportunities Global Access presents.

And we are committed to its goals of: Helping more small businesses, growing our economy, and creating good jobs in communities across the country.