Velázquez Works To Boost Small Business Exports

February 24, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BROOKLYN — Small businesses in New York and around the country may soon have additional tools to market their products abroad if Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan) has her way.

As the ranking member of the House Committee on Small Business, Velázquez recently introduced H.R. 3976, new legislation aimed at facilitating the participation of small firms in international trade.

The measure, entitled the “Enhancing Exports through Entrepreneurship Act of 2012,” creates new opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to market their products abroad.

“Selling American goods and services overseas translates directly into good-paying jobs here at home,” Velázquez said. “Many entrepreneurs would like to compete globally, but find it difficult to take the first steps. This legislation offers resources they need to start selling and marketing their products internationally.”

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Many provisions contained in the legislation are the product of a small business exporting workshop the Congresswoman hosted in the Lower East Side this past November. During that session, a number of New York entrepreneurs discussed how costly it is for small firms to begin exporting. Hurdles like shipping expenses, market research and compliance costs often dissuade small companies from competing globally.

H.R. 3976 would assist New York City firms with overcoming these barriers by offering tax credits to offset the costs of exporting to foreign countries. Under the bill, small firms can qualify for tax credits worth up to 25 percent of such expenditures, potentially saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“For small companies that are starting to market abroad, the upfront costs are significant,” Velázquez noted. “By providing targeted tax relief and new financing options, we can help entrepreneurs bridge the gap between when they begin selling their product abroad and when their overseas ventures pay for themselves.”

Small businesses interested in exporting their products would also enjoy new financing options through the legislation. Under the bill, the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation would boost their lending and investment to small firms.

Over the last five years, the Export-Import bank made more than $750 million available to New York’s small businesses seeking to market their products abroad. Velázquez’s legislation would expand and build on those types of investments.

“Access to capital is always a challenge for small companies, but for businesses that are taking on the new risk of shipping their product into new, foreign markets, it can be particularly daunting,” Velázquez noted. “With this bill we’re telling firms intent on exporting their product: we will ensure you have viable financing options.”

In addition to assisting small firms with revenue and capital needs, small businesses would benefit from technical assistance provisions in the bill. By making export-related information available through local resource centers like Women’s Business Centers, SCORE Chapters and Veteran Business Outreach Centers, entrepreneurs would easily obtain information such as demand for various goods and tariff schedules.

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