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Organizations are always looking for ways to grow, but the idea of international growth can be daunting.
For CEO and founder of Integrated Trade Finance LLC (ITC) Jeffrey Kamins, however, there is no choice but to get competitive by getting your business into the foreign market – and it all starts with financing.
Kamins spoke at the Chamber’s International Business Council meeting on June 21 about how his company can help increase trade and finance at the international level. ITC is a global finance and market development company with agents in over 50 countries worldwide that help with areas like program development.
“Everyone wants to grow internationally, and we are on a crusade to help with that,” Kamins said.
Kamins explained how ITC can help businesses expand and strengthen their involvement internationally through a proactive approach to financing – essentially putting the exporter in the driver’s seat.
“Anytime you’re reacting to a deal and trying to organize funding after, the deal probably isn’t going to work,” Kamins said. “We take a proactive approach by offering financing upfront.”
Kamins said the best way to do that is to make sure a local bank is involved in the process.
Drew Felling, vice president of international trade with Commerce Bank, often works with ITC and also spoke at the meeting about the benefit of using certain letters of credit to enhance international trade finances. He said these letters of credit allow businesses to have a bank locally that works for them and can mitigate the risk from buyers and sellers.
“I spend my time building exporters for the future, and trade credit insurance is a valuable tool,” Felling said.
With this partnership, businesses can increase their reach throughout the community and connect internationally using local financial institutions.
Along with letters of credit, both Felling and Kamins highlighted the opportunities that the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) provides for global finance.
Both speakers called the EXIM Bank an underused and commonly misunderstood resource. EXIM Bank is an export credit agency of the federal government, used for key account buyers and strategic selling, Kamins said.
Felling and Kamins encouraged utilizing EXIM Bank for international financing needs, as “most suppliers who use this bank are small companies,” Felling said.
Kamins added that to help grow international sales, businesses need to establish a connection between finance and sales. This includes being committed to international sales, being proactive, creating relationships, and always having back-up options.
Ultimately, Kamins left attendees with the idea that to grow – and grow globally – financing needs to be in the discussion no matter what you’re selling.
“You have to look at finance like infrastructure,” he said. “For it to be effective, you have to properly build it.”