Export Finance: 3 things your business should know

In June 2021, World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) hosted a series of export finance workshops in partnership with California International Trade Center (CITC).

We joined experts from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) and Banner Bank to discuss exporting resources, such as the Export Express Loan Program and Export Working Capital Program. We also joined experts from Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank), GBC International Bank, and Provident Traders Inc., to discuss open account payment structures, adding value to capital equipment, and EXIM export loan guarantees.

Here are three things we learned at our export finance workshops:

1. Export financing is a key tool in international expansion.

Export financing and export credit insurance can be important tools in your arsenal. With it, you can find more attractive payment terms and mitigate risk. For instance, export credit insurance can allow your business to offer competitive credit terms to foreign buyers for up to 180 to 360 days. Plus, it can protect you against non-payments by foreign buyers due to commercial and political risks.

2. Certain programs might be better tailored to your business needs.

You might have heard about SBA’s Export Working Capital or Export Express Program. But what’s the difference? And which is better for your business?

Export Working Capital provides vital resources for exporters to fulfill new orders, such as loan advances up to $5 million. You can use these funds to purchase finished products, raw materials, and supplies, or cover labor and overhead costs.

Export Express Program allows small businesses to borrow up to $500,000 from a local partnering bank. It is the simplest export loan program offered by the SBA, and offers flexibility and ease of use for borrowers and lenders.

3. A range of partners are here to help you. 

SBA is an independent agency of the federal government dedicated to providing aid, counseling, and assistance to small businesses in order to preserve free competitive enterprise and strengthen the overall economy. Companies receiving SBA services must meet the SBA small business definition.

EXIM Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. When private-sector lenders are unable or unwilling to provide financing, EXIM fills the gap by equipping small businesses with financing tools needed to compete in the global economy.

Finally, you can find a wide variety of lenders willing to assist. Lenders can be traditional banks or Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), such as Lendistry or CDC Small Business Finance.

Interested in learning more about export financing through a lender’s perspective? To learn more about export financing and the application process, tune in to these on-demand webinars:

On Demand – SBA Export Finance Tools for Global Expansion

On Demand EXIM Bank – Products to Increase and Finance Your Export Sales


World Trade Center San Diego operates as an affiliate of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. WTC San Diego works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment, and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad.

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Release: San Diego Global Trade and Investment Strategy serves to drive recovery, resilience

World Trade Center San Diego updates 2015 regional plan amid pandemic

Today, alongside Congressman Scott Peters, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and key regional business leaders and in partnership with the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) released its “Go Global 2025: San Diego’s Global Trade and Investment Initiative.” This regional strategic plan serves as the update to the inaugural strategy launched in 2015 and focuses on global engagement as an engine for recovery and resilience.

Available on web at goglobal2025.wtcsd.org, the strategic plan also includes an overview of San Diego’s economic and policy landscape, an interactive foreign investment map, perspectives from executives of global firms and more.


As the world collectively battles a pandemic and navigates resulting economic shutdowns, the global economy faces some of the most significant disruptions in a generation. Nations and cities have begun to look inward to focus on domestic needs including healthcare, education, infrastructure, equity and job creation. And yet, if this year has taught us anything, it is that we are a global society that is inextricably connected.

On the road to recovery, it is increasingly important for leaders at the metro level to articulate a compelling, data-driven vision of our place within the global economy and collaboratively execute a strategy that keeps us ahead of the curve.

“San Diego is filled with world-class innovation and smart people solving global problems. Now is the time for our big, binational City to show up on the world stage to help us reach our goals faster,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “As Mayor, I want to tell that story in a way that opens doors and enables more investment, jobs and opportunities for San Diegans and moves our city forward.”

While San Diego exports $22 billion in goods annually, the region is also a top 10 services exporter among U.S. metros. The region’s competitive advantage is in professional, scientific, and technical services, like research and development, cybersecurity, and engineering and software. These industries also capture the highest concentration of foreign direct investment (FDI) via mergers and acquisitions and venture capital investment. In fact, San Diego life sciences firms captured nearly three-quarters of the estimated $3 billion in foreign investment injected into the regional economy last year.

“As the “next normal” takes shape, San Diego needs to continue to prepare for where the economy is going by focusing on our most globally competitive industries. However, we need to be intentional about creating quality jobs at every skill level within those industries, and enabling San Diegans with the tools they need to fill those jobs,” said Nikia Clarke, Executive Director, WTCSD. “This will ensure that our businesses and innovators continue to export life-changing technology, and it will also make all our communities more resilient to future shocks.”


In order to drive quality job growth through expanding foreign investment and exports, deepen economic ties to strategic markets, and enhance the region’s reputation to drive competitiveness, WTCSD proposes five key strategies for the San Diego region:

  1. Lead with the region’s most competitive industries. Most growth and job creation will come from innovation–based industries.
  1. Leverage binational assets to attract foreign investment. Capture investment along the entire value chain in priority industries.
  1. Prioritize market access for small businesses. Small businesses create the most jobs but face higher barriers to internationalization.
  1. Invest in critical infrastructure that enables global commerce. Modernize, maintain and expand service through international ports of entry.
  1. Enhance San Diego’s global identity and reputation for innovation. Deepen public-private partnerships on focused international activity.

“The digital paradigm shift we’ve seen is just one of the many ways the global marketplace—and in turn, our business—has been revolutionized by the pandemic. This is why a regional strategic plan like the one WTCSD has outlined matters: there are real businesses, real people, real jobs who require the resilience that global connection provides,” said Ken Behan, VP of Sales and Marketing, SYSTRAN.

“The Port of San Diego is a vital economic engine for the region with San Diego Bay and the surrounding waterfront at the heart of it all. While it has been a difficult and uncertain year for us and many of our bayfront businesses, there are so many legacy-making decisions ahead. This strategy presents an opportunity for us to align not only in word, but in action. The impacts could be transformational,” said Commissioner Jennifer LeSar, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners.

The report was produced by WTCSD, with support by the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy at UC San Diego and sponsored by Illumina. It was unveiled today at a community event alongside Congressman Scott Peters; San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria; Dr. Renee Bowen, Director, Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, UC San Diego; Garry Ridge, Chairman of the Board & CEO, WD-40; Kathleen Lynch, Vice President, Global Government Affairs & Public Policy, Illumina; Maritza Diaz, CEO, iTjuana; and Dr. Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, General Atomics Global.

Founded in 1994 by the City of San Diego, Port of San Diego, and San Diego International Airport, World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD) operates as an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC. WTCSD works to further San Diego’s global competitiveness by building an export pipeline, attracting and retaining foreign investment and increasing San Diego’s global profile abroad. sandiegobusiness.org/wtcsd

Read the full strategy and report here