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OPIC workshop in Denver draws more than 100 small businesses and entrepreneurs


October 13, 2016

OPIC Offers Financing and Political Risk Insurance to Support American Businesses Looking to Expand into Emerging Economies Worldwide

 

Denver, CO – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, drew more than 100 small businesses and entrepreneurs to the 10th Anniversary of the Expanding Horizons small business workshop in Denver today.

OPIC has hosted over 30 Expanding Workshops nationwide since 2006 to educate small businesses about the opportunities of expanding into developing markets, and the ways that OPIC can support this growth.

“We are excited to host our Expanding Horizons workshop in Denver as we continue to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series,” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “American small businesses can make valuable contributions to developing countries, but they often encounter many challenges when carrying out their critical role in the global economy. Expanding Horizons provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to meet key personnel to learn about the programs and resources that OPIC has to help them invest in emerging markets.”

OPIC speakers outlined the innovative financing and political risk insurance products that the agency has provided for more than four decades to help U.S. businesses successfully invest in emerging markets. Other speakers at the workshop included World Trade Center Denver, Chamber of the Americas, Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Salt Lake Small Business Development Center at Salt Lake Community College, and State of Utah’s Governor's Office of Economic Development, International Trade and Diplomacy, Rocky Mountain DEC, and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Randall Monson, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Envirofit International, a Fort Collins-based company, gave today’s keynote address. In early 2016 OPIC committed a $4 million loan to Envirofit, a social enterprise that innovates smart energy products to improve lives on a global scale. OPIC support helped Envirofit expand their business operations to provide cutting edge, high quality, low cost, clean cookstove technology across the globe.

Nearly half the world’s population still uses open fires or rudimentary stoves for home cooking.  Emitting the equivalent smoke of 400 cigarettes per hour, these stoves are a source of harmful household air pollution and have been cited as one of the world’s greatest health risks. In addition, open fire cooking contributes to 25% of global black carbon emission and can consume up to 25% of household expenses for people living in energy poverty.

To help confront this global challenge, Envirofit and OPIC are also both members of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an ambitious public-private partnership hosted by the UN Foundation that aims to foster the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels in 100 million households around the world.

Since 1971, OPIC has helped U.S. businesses of all sizes expand in emerging markets, and is open for business in more than 160 countries. OPIC has supported nearly $200 billion of investments and operates on a self-sustaining basis at no cost to American taxpayers. To date, OPIC has provided $1.7 billion in support to Colorado businesses investing in emerging markets ranging from agriculture to energy to infrastructure.

Expanding Horizons is a unique opportunity for businesses to hear directly from U.S. Government officials about programs that support U.S. companies entering developing markets. Regional companies and entrepreneurs are able to learn about OPIC’s finance and insurance products and how to take advantage of the resources OPIC offers to gain access to emerging markets overseas.

Expanding Horizons workshops have educated 3,000 U.S. small businesses and entrepreneurs since the program’s launch. OPIC will host an additional Expanding Horizons Workshop in Baltimore this fall. Details and registration are available at www.opicevents.com.

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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 commercial 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 aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.