Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Raleigh, North Carolina – A seminar for North Carolina small businesses organized by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, and North Carolina’s Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC), drew 64 participants from across the state today, educating business owners about how OPIC products can help them take advantage of lucrative investment opportunities in emerging markets.
The Expanding Horizons seminar, held at the Raleigh Durham International Airport Authority, was the latest in a highly successful series that has educated nearly 1600 small and medium-sized business owners across the United States about OPIC products and services.
“Small businesses are the essential engine of the American economy, generating two-thirds of U.S. jobs and roughly half of our GDP – yet they depend on the same opportunities to succeed as others. OPIC is uniquely positioned to enable North Carolina SMEs to make the most of investment opportunities in high-growth emerging markets – and business owners certainly took full advantage of that today,” said OPIC Director of Public Affairs Dr. Lawrence Spinelli. “We were extremely pleased by the large turnout, due in large part to outreach by our partner, SBTDC.”
“What makes the Expanding Horizons seminar so timely is that SBTDC and OPIC share the same goal: helping North Carolina SMEs grow and create jobs. We’re pleased to partner with OPIC today to inform North Carolina small businesses about the many investment opportunities that exist in emerging markets, and to help them access the OPIC resources that can make their investments a reality,” said SBTDC International Business Development Specialist Alex Viva.
OPIC speakers outlined the innovative financial tools – among them financing and political risk insurance – that the agency has used for 40 years to help U.S. businesses successfully invest in emerging markets. Participants also received detailed guidance on applying for OPIC support.
OPIC has enjoyed a close relationship with North Carolina, enabling many of the state’s businesses to invest successfully in emerging markets. Since 1971, OPIC has provided $816 million in financing and political risk insurance commitments to projects sponsored by North Carolinian companies, which in turn have generated $910 million in U.S. exports and 2,819 U.S. jobs. Moreover, North Carolinian suppliers, half of which are small businesses, are expected to provide $172 million worth of goods and services to OPIC-committed projects, supporting 445 jobs in North Carolina.
Since 2006, OPIC has held Expanding Horizons workshops in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Houston, San Francisco, Boston, St. Louis, Denver, Philadelphia, and Orange, California.
The SBTDC has helped North Carolina businesses grow and create new jobs since 1984, by providing management counseling and business advice to small and mid-sized businesses. The SBTDC is the business and technology extension service of the University of North Carolina system and is administered by North Carolina State University and operated in partnership with U.S. Small Business Administration.
The SBTDC’s International Business Development (IBD) unit assists small and mid-sized businesses with exporting. Their IBD specialists are highly trained, Certified Global Business Professionals (CGBP) with extensive experience in international business development. Their goal is to provide export-related guidance and assistance to small and mid-sized businesses – enhancing their export success.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.
Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $75 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 276,000 American jobs.