How Do You Say Pickle in Chinese?

4:46 PM November 28, 2012

 By Ann Sulivan, WIPP Government Relations

Recently, I had the privilege to participate in a White House Business Council meeting focusing on the fiscal cliff. After briefings from Jeffery Ziets, the Obama Administration's point man on the federal budget, and Alan Krueger, Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, our group broke into smaller sessions. Since increasing women exporters is a WIPP priority, the session led by Chairman and President of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, Fred Hochberg caught my attention.

According to Chairman Hochberg's numbers, the Ex-Im Bank exceeded expectations in 2012 by financing over $35 billion in exports - a new record. That support translated to $50 billion in export sales, more than 250,000 American jobs in over 3000 companies covering every sector of commerce. More importantly, $6 billion flowed directly to small businesses while finance authorization to women-owned and minority-owned businesses affected in the FY 2012 Ex-Im Bank Annual Report - and you might be surprised at just which businesses are getting involved with export.

When I asked Mr. Hochberg for some advice to interest women business owners in exporting, he offered this example: "Miss Jenny's Pickles" is a women-owned small business (and I mean small - they only have 4 full time employees) in North Carolina that was not the most likely company to think about exporting in a tough economy. As the story goes, the owners approached Mr. Hochberg after he gave the presentation on exporting. And grow they did - selling more and more pickles to a surprising place. China.

By partnering with resources available to everyone (for free) - from the Small Business Administration to the Commerce Department, Ex-Im Bank and North Carolina's Department of Agriculture, their pickles - available in four flavors - are finding consumers not just in Tennessee and Virginia, but Beijing and Shanghai. The revenues have allowed for growth, and it all began with an export business plan and some help from the government.

Fred Hochberg's big takeaway: if a pickle company in North Carolina can do it, so can you. Ex-Im Bank is used to working with small businesses and offers insurance against receivables. The Bank doesn't lend - it guaruntees financing, assisting businesses in obtaining capital.

WIPP's ExportNOW program, launched last month is just getting started with webinars and information to assist you in becoming an exporter.

The global economy awaits. And by the way, pickle is 泡菜.


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