Gov. Pat Quinn announced the state of Illinois has entered a new marketing partnership with the Export-Import Bank of the United States that is expected to accelerate export business and create job growth.
The Ex-Im Bank partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) gives thousands of exporters, especially small businesses, access to information about the bank's resources.
"This agreement is a win for small businesses and a win for the state of Illinois," Governor Quinn said. "This partnership will bolster our economy and help Illinois businesses boost their exports and create new, well-paying jobs."
The partnership is expected to accelerate export business and job growth by connecting bank products and services to a statewide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and International Trade Centers (ITCs), where entrepreneurs meet export finance counselors and learn how to grow their businesses. The partnership with international trade educators and business experts in Illinois aims to build upon existing successes in the state. Twelve International Trade Centers are located in Illinois, mostly on university campuses, and these centers focus expertise upon how export businesses start, grow and gain profits.
"We are committed to helping our small and medium sized businesses in Illinois gain access to capital to expand to markets outside the U.S.," DCEO Director Adam Pollett said. "Small businesses are driving economic growth in Illinois, and this partnership with the Ex-Im Bank will give small businesses the additional support they need to export globally,"
Through the partnership, Ex-Im Bank offers Illinois enterprises expanded access to products such as its Global Credit Express, which helps exporters acquire low-cost working capital up to $500,000, as well as Express Insurance, which simplifies small business access to export credit risk insurance on their foreign accounts. The bank has designed an array of low-cost loans, guarantees, export credit insurance and supply-chain financing structures to enable both small and large businesses to export globally without fear of nonpayment.
"Ex-Im Bank has a lot to offer Illinois businesses that want to grow their exports, and this partnership will put Ex-Im's financing benefits on display for them," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "Owners of small and medium-size businesses already come to the SBDCs and ITCs to improve their understanding of export trade; now they will get specific Ex-Im Bank information as soon as they walk through the door, and they'll learn about Express Insurance and other cost-effective tools we offer. We trust this new connection to support increased sales and job growth."
Export sales growth from Illinois over the past four years has exceeded the national average, increasing by 63 percent compared to the nation's average 47 percent. In 2012, direct exports accounted for ten percent of the Gross State Product. The new Illinois/Ex-Im Bank partnership aims to increase those numbers and generate new jobs in the process.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps to create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years Ex-Im Bank has earned nearly $1.6 billion above its cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
Besides its new Illinois partnership, the Bank cooperates with two other City/State Partners in Illinois: Global Midwest Alliance LLC and the Chicago Trade Accelerator, organized by World Business Chicago. The Trade Accelerator was inaugurated February 18 in a joint announcement by Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.