Qualifying for the SBA Loan Program for the International Trade Businesses

The SBA loan program for international trade businesses, also referred to as the SBA International Trade Loan program, is an SBA-sponsored loan program that is designed to help small businesses stay current with the changing markets.

How the Program Works

The loans involved with the SBA International Trade Loan program are provided by third-party lenders such as commercial banks of local, national and even international stature. The Small Business Administration, or SBA, does not provide the funds for a loan; it simply guaranties the loan, thus greatly decreasing the risk assumed by the lender.

Where to Start

In order to qualify for a loan, you will need to know where to begin the process. When you are ready to start looking for a loan through the SBA International Trade Loan program, the first thing you should do is talk to multiple banks that act as third-party lenders. Not all lenders are created equal and it will be worth your while to find out the differences between a few different lenders. Similarly, the interest rates on the loan will be determined by the third-party lender, not by the SBA, so it is important that you choose your lender with care.

Eligibility for the SBA International Trade Loan Program

For a business to be eligible for a loan through the SBA International Trade Loan program, there are some guidelines and criteria that the business must comply with. First, the business must be considered a small business in the eyes of the SBA. In this case that means that the business must have fewer than 500 employees. A second criterion is that you must be able to prove that the current international market has hurt your business and that you could make up for the losses by making your enterprise global and keeping a competitive edge in your market. A third guideline for eligibility is that you must prove that you are in a position to increase the success of existing export markets or to develop new ones. These criteria are set forth by the SBA and will be evaluated by both your third-party lender and the SBA.

How to Use the Funds

Before accepting a loan through the SBA International Trade Loan program, you should be aware of the acceptable ways to use the funds. The funds from a loan may be used to:

  • purchase necessary goods to make your business one of international trade
  • construct new facilities that will be of use to you as you go global
  • help you improve existing facilities to make them
  • refinance an existing loan that was used for any of the aforementioned purposes.