Over the past 12 months, SBA-backed loans for small business exporters and for small businesses aiming to export continued growing. SBA-backed loans totaled more than $923 million nationwide in FY 2012, supporting $1.7 billion in small business exports.
Providing the financial backing for small business exporters is a core mission for SBA, because it helps small businesses create good-paying jobs and provide economic benefits to local communities. SBA also promotes exporting by holding events around the country.
Moreover, there have been many businesses in Nebraska that have benefited from SBA support to expand their export operations and create jobs.
In March, representatives from Thurston Manufacturing attended Expo Agro, a trade show in Junin, Argentina, followed by Exportivia in Mercedes, Uruguay. The trip landed potential distributors for their BLU-JET fertilizer and tillage products. Sales through these contracts, according to John Twyford, the company's global trade and compliance, global logistics and projects manager, ranges around $1 million per distributor.
The company also visited a trade show in South Africa which connected them with two new distributors, one in Bothaville and another in Capetown.
"In 18 months we'll be in 15 countries," Twyford said.
Since incorporating in 1971 from their location just southwest of Sioux City, Thurston Manufacturing has become a leader in the manufacturing of farm equipment and side dump semi-trailers. They leveraged an SBA-guaranteed 7(a) loan for $750,000 in 1994 to help weather a downturn in the farm implement business.
As the producer of Circle R side dump trailers and BLU-JET fertilizer and tillage products, Thurston Manufacturing has seen tremendous growth within the last 24 months, from supplying family farms directly to reaching dealers and manufacturers who provide farmers with agricultural equipment.
Over the past year, the small business has hired 14 additional people to help meet new product demand and serve existing customers, and have even taken to local radio stations to advertise their urgent need to fill nearly two dozen more jobs.
Another Nebraska company attended an international mining trade show in Santiago, Chile, in April.
For 60 years, Elliott Equipment in Omaha has been a leading manufacturer of customizable truck-mounted hydraulic aerial work platforms and cranes designed for rugged and heavy-duty service work, including underground drilling. The SBA backed a $600,000 loan for the company in 1992; since then, they have been recognized as one of the top 20 fastest-growing companies in Omaha. Today, they employ 120 people.
As a result of the trip, Elliott Equipment already sold one Chilean firm a $230,000 aerial work platform to be delivered in November to demonstrate the potential of the company's capabilities. Dave Phillips, international sales manager, said if the demonstration effort goes well, there is a chance to sell as many as 50 to help replace the aging fleet of cranes currently doing work in a country recognized as a world leader in copper mining.
"It's hard to say what this will mean for us," Phillips said. "It could end up being half our business."