Export working capital

Working capital financing enables U.S. businesses to obtain loans that facilitate the export of goods or services by providing the liquidity needed to accept new business, to grow international sales, and to compete more effectively in foreign markets.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) - Export Working Capital Program(EWCP): Provides up to $5 million in short-term, transaction-specific working capital loan guarantees to U.S. small business exporters. Loans guaranteed under this program can be used for pre-export financing of labor and materials and for post-shipment financing of the accounts receivable generated from transaction-specific overseas sales.

Eligible export transactions

  • Must be shipped and titled from the United States (no requirement for U.S. content requirement of the product being exported.
  • Must comply with all U.S. Export Administration Regulations and cannot be shipped to a country where the United States has imposed trade embargos or sanctions.
  • Include “indirect” exports, whereby a small business sells to domestic buyers who subsequently export the finished goods.


Financing is available for manufacturers, wholesalers, export trading companies and service exporters. EWCP loan borrowers must meet SBA 7(a) eligibility and size standards (fewer than 500 employees for manufacturers, fewer than 100 employees for wholesalers) and have been in business for at least 12 months. SBA can waive the 12-month in-business requirement if the applicant can demonstrate sufficient export expertise and business experience.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank)- Working Capital Guarantee Program: provides loan guarantees for transaction-specific working capital loans made by commercial lenders to U.S. exporters. Uses of this financing include purchasing finished products for export; paying for raw materials, equipment, supplies, labor and overhead to produce goods or to provide services for export; covering standby letters of credit serving as bid bonds, performance bonds, or payment guarantees; and financing foreign receivables. The Ex-Im Bank’s Environmental Exports Program provides enhanced levels of financial support, including the working capital guarantee, for a broad range of renewable energy and other environmentally beneficial exports.

Eligible exports:

  • Must be shipped from the United States.
  • Must have at least 50 percent U.S. content. (or if less than 50 percent, can be supported only up to the percentage of the U.S. content.)
  • Services must be performed by U.S.-based personnel.

Eligible exporters:

  • Must be located in the United States
  • Must have at least a 12-month operating history.
  • Must have a positive net worth.

RE&EE exports in action

  • Southwest Windpower, located in Flagstaff, Arizona, used SBA’s EWCP to expand its distribution of battery-charged small wind generators to more than 120 countries. Nearly half of its sales in 2008 came from international markets. Realizing the significant growth opportunities overseas, the company is doubling its export efforts.
  • United Solar Ovonic LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices Inc. headquartered in Rochester Hills, Michigan, used a $25 million revolving credit line guaranteed under Ex-Im Bank’s “Fast Track” Working Capital Guarantee Program to finance the export of its thin-film solar laminates to customers in Europe and Asia in 2008. “Our ability to access a line of credit of this size based on export-eligible receivables and inventory has been tremendously helpful. The reduced amount of time involved has enabled us to move quickly to expand our export sales,” said Sanjeev Kumar, vice president and chief financial officer of Energy Conversion Devices Inc.

Where do I start?

To learn more and to to apply for these programs, please click on the links for each description.

The U.S. government also provides finance related events and online training to further assist in exporting your products and services.

To receive counseling on how these programs can help you achieve your international sales goals, please contact your local U.S. Commercial Service international trade specialist.

More financing programs

Return to the online guide "Financing" section to read more about programs that can help RE&EE exporters.