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OPIC Workshop in Detroit Draws 110 Small Businesses from 8 States

May 7, 2015


DETROIT – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, today drew more than 110 guests to its first-ever Expanding Horizons small business workshop in Detroit, Michigan.

The event is the 25th in a decade-long nationwide series OPIC hosts to educate small businesses about the opportunities of expanding into developing markets, and the ways OPIC can support this growth.

Featured speakers included OPIC's President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield, Rep. Brenda Lawrence from Michigan's 14th Congressional district, and a video from Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

"Over the past five years, small businesses have comprised over 3/4 of the projects OPIC supported, so today's bold ideas from Detroit-area business leaders and diaspora business communities have real potential to contribute to international development while creating jobs and growth at home," said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC's President and CEO.

“OPIC can offer Michigan’s small business owners the power and resources necessary to expand their customer base to international markets,” said Rep. Lawrence in her welcoming remarks.

OPIC speakers outlined the innovative tools including financing and political risk insurance that the agency has provided for more than 40 years to help U.S. businesses successfully invest in emerging markets. Other speakers at the workshop included senior government representatives from the U.S. Trade Development Agency, the U.S. Export Assistance Center, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.

Private sector organizations joining the event included Michigan State University, International Business Center, Ann Arbor SPARK, American Arab Chamber of Commerce, Tejara Global Business Development Center, East Michigan District Export Council, World Trade Center Detroit/Windsor, Van Andel Global Trade Center of Grand Valley State University, Dearborn Chamber of Commerce, Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce, Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, West Michigan District Export Council, and the Council of Ethnic Chambers.

Since its establishment in 1971, OPIC commitments of $1.7 billion of financing and insurance commitments to projects sponsored by Michigan companies has supported over 10,000 U.S. jobs, generated $1.9 billion in exports and an estimated $334 million in procurement of goods and services from the state. 

The 2015 schedule of Expanding Horizons Workshops includes workshops in Long Beach, Calif. on June 16 as well as Nashville and Boston in the fall.

OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. 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, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. 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. 

 All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker's rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC helps raise the industry and regional standards of the countries in which its projects operate. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.