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Florida Women and Minority Entrepreneurs Widen Export Opportunities Via Florida Women's Business Center Partnership with Ex-Im Bank

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 13, 2006

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202-565-3200)

MIAMI, FLA. - The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and the Florida Women's Business Center (FWBC) today signed an agreement that will widen access to international trade opportunities by women- and minority-owned businesses and economically disadvantaged groups in Florida.

Under the agreement, the FWBC becomes a member of Ex-Im Bank's City-State Partners Program. The program is a national marketing initiative that brings export financing to small and medium-sized U.S. companies through Ex-Im Bank's cooperation with state and local governments and private sector organizations. The signing took place at Ex-Im Bank's Southeast Regional Office in Miami, Fla.

Since 2002, Ex-Im Bank has helped 464 Florida companies in 74 communities export nearly $3.6 billion in goods and services, said John Emens, Ex-Im Bank senior vice president, small business. Each of the companies we worked with had the opportunity to expand its workforce while reaching new markets. Our partnership with the Florida Women's Business Center will enable us to widen our reach and help many more Florida women- and minority-owned businesses grow and add jobs by exporting.

The agreement was signed by Emens and FWBC business development manager Maxine Pierson.

We are very excited to be the first member of the U.S. Small Business Administration's national network of education resource centers for women and minorities to partner with Ex-Im Bank through this program, said Pierson. As a result of this innovative agreement, we can walk entrepreneurs through the process of applying for a wide range of Ex-Im Bank financing tools, including working capital support, export credit insurance, and loan guarantees that will enable them to better compete in markets with increased export potential.

Ex-Im Bank will provide the support and resources FWBC will need to work with local companies, including training and marketing materials at no cost. Ex-Im Bank also offers a network of lenders, insurance brokers, and other U.S. Government export resources, as well as one-on-one trade finance counseling.

With the addition of FWBC, a public-private organization which makes the world of business accessible and usable by Florida women and minorities, Ex-Im Bank now has 46 city-state partners in 38 states, plus the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

FWBC assists individuals going into business with business plans, as well as making entrepreneurism business resources, loan packaging, and training available. To learn more about its services, visit its web site at www.flwbc.org, or call Maxine Pierson at 561-265-3790, ext. 112.

Ex-Im Bank this year marks its 72nd year of helping finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world. In fiscal year 2005 Ex-Im Bank authorized nearly $14 billion in transactions supporting almost $17.9 billion in U.S. exports. This represented 3,128 transactions, of which 2,617, or over 80%, directly benefited small businesses. To learn more, visit Ex-Im Bank's web site at www.exim.gov, or call the Ex-Im Bank Southeast regional office at (305) 526-7436.