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Export Working Capital Program

Financial Resources For Northwest & West Central Ohio Entrepreneurs


Purpose of Program

SBA’s Export Working Capital Program (EWCP) loans are targeted to small businesses that are able to generate export sales and need additional working capital to support these sales. Since most banks in the U.S. do not lend against export orders, export receivables or letters of credit, SBA provides lenders guaranties of up to 90 percent on export loans to ensure that qualified exporters do not lose viable export sales due to a lack of working capital.

Eligible Businesses

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

Eligible Use of Funds

EWCP loans are used for transaction financing. For example, an EWCP loan will support 100 percent of supplier costs for an export transaction. EWCP loans can also be used to even out cash flow when exporters have negotiated longer sales terms and cannot carry the resulting receivables with their own working capital. The EWCP loan can be a short-term loan for a single contract or in the form of a line of credit that supports ongoing export sales for a period of 12 months. 

Eligible transactions include:

The exports being financed must be shipped and titled from the United States; there is no U.S. content requirement for the product being exported.

The exports 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.

“Indirect” exports to domestic buyers who subsequently export qualify for EWCP   financing. 

Loan Amounts

The maximum EWCP line of credit/loan amount is $2 million. Participating banks receive a 90 percent SBA guaranty provided that the total SBA-guaranteed portion to the borrower does not exceed $1.5 million. In those instances where the SBA-guaranteed portion reaches the $1.5 million cap, banks can still get a 90 percent guaranty thanks to a co-guaranty program between SBA and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). Under this program, the bank still submits only one loan application to the SBA and receives a 90 percent U.S. government guaranty that is backed by both agencies.  For the EXIM Bank guaranteed portion, a higher fee may apply. 

Repayment Term

EWCP loans are typically issued for one year.  

Interest Rates

The SBA does not establish or subsidize interest rates on loans. The interest rate can be fixed or variable and is negotiated between the borrower and the participant lender. 


The SBA fee for an EWCP loan with a 12-month maturity or less is percent (0.25 percent) assessed on the guaranteed portion of the loan. For example, for a one-year $1 million line of credit with a 90 percent guaranty ($900,000 guaranteed portion), the guaranty fee is $2,250 ($900,000 x 0.25 percent). The SBA can reissue EWCP loans on an annual basis and the guaranty fee remains percent. 


Collateral, Security

The export-related inventory and the receivable generated by the export sales financed with EWCP funds will be considered adequate collateral. The SBA also requires the personal guarantee of owners with 20 percent or more ownership.


Participation Requirements

Additional Considerations

With increasing regularity, foreign buyers are asking for open account terms from their U.S. suppliers. In that situation, small and medium-sized exporters are faced with the prospect of either losing sales to their foreign competitors (who offer terms) or finding a way to balance the increased cash flow strain and the risk of non-payment by the foreign buyer that comes with providing terms. While the SBA EWCP loan can provide cash flow support, it is credit insurance that minimizes the risk of non-payment. Credit insurance is a special insurance product designed to protect a company's trade credit exposure from bad debt loss caused by insolvency, default or political risk. EXIM Bank as well as private sector providers provide credit insurance. The SBA and EXIM Bank have teamed up to provide small businesses that have an EWCP loan with a 25 percent premium discount on an EXIM Bank Small Business Export Credit insurance policy. SBA administers its EWCP program through a network of SBA Senior International Credit Officers located in U.S. Export Assistance Centers throughout the country. These specialists understand trade finance and are available to explain SBA’s export lending programs and application procedures. They can also link companies to specialists in increasing export sales and managing foreign payment risk. Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center to learn more about the Export Working Capital Program (EWCP) and whether it is the appropriate tool to meet your export financing needs.

Program Funding Source

How to Apply

A small business applies directly to a participating lender. The lender reviews/approves the application and submits the request to the SBA staff at the U.S. Export Assistance Center location servicing the exporter’s geographic territory. Exporters can apply for EWCP loans in advance of finalizing an export sale or contract.  With an approved EWCP loan in place, exporters have greater flexibility in negotiating export payment terms, secure in the assurance that adequate financing will be in place when the export order is won. 

Links to Loan Application and/or Specific Information

Small Business Administration
Columbus District Office
401 N. Front Street, Suite 200
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Go here for West Central Ohio SBA Participating Lenders

Useful Information

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Glossary of Important Financial Terms You Should Understand

How To Prepare A Business Plan to Obtain Money

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