There are opportunities, programs to boost your business amid the pandemic

The World Ag Expo is a virtual experience this year, but organizers are using the online platform to help farmers, entrepreneurs and small businesses as they emerge from a year of lockdowns and turmoil.

The pandemic sent shock waves through our hometown and global marketplace, but a number of programs are available to help U.S. businesses recover and grow.

Speaking to the virtual World Ag Expo, Alicia Rios with California Employer Engagement Global Trade says that there are opportunities to boost your business.

“There’s still companies who continue to grow, particularly in export sales,” Rios states. “Worldwide demand continues to engender international trade.”

Government programs at both the federal and state level can help small town entrepreneurs get a foot in the door to a global market.

“For example in the state of California, we have certain activities that companies can participate in and then there’s also, within that same program, is the ICEP which is the Individual Company Export Program where you are able to get funding for shipping products, for the possibility of translating your website,” she states.

While programs can vary from state to state, she mentioned the Step Grant Program for client acquisition, export express for export development, export working capital to fulfill export orders, and international trade loans that are for expanding exporter capacity. Each of these, and others, can be found through the Small Business Administration; Rios says that if you have tried before with no success, try again.

“Don’t assume that they don’t cover your sector, because they have multiple programs,” she adds. “Every year it changes a little bit, so it might be different.”

The assistance available and requirements can vary state to state, but officials can guide you through the process.

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