A workshop for small businesses in the Pacific Northwest organized by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government's development finance institution, drew 100 small business owners from nine states as well as Brazil and India today, educating participants about how OPIC products can help them take advantage of lucrative investment opportunities in emerging markets.
The Expanding Horizons workshop, held at the Grand Hyatt Seattle, was the latest in a highly successful series that has educated more than 2000 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 SMEs in the Pacific Northwest 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.
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.
Other speakers included senior officials from the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the U.S. Department of Commerce, including the U.S. Commercial Service and the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S.
Since its establishment in 1971, OPIC has committed $620 million in financing and political risk insurance to projects sponsored by companies in the Pacific Northwest, supporting more than 4200 U.S. jobs and $755 million in U.S. exports.
Organizations supporting the Pacific Northwest Expanding Horizons workshop were the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle; Washington Small Business Development Center of Spokane; Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington; African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest; Washington State Department of Commerce; International Trade Alliance of Spokane; World Trade Center Tacoma; World Trade Center Seattle; Global WA; Tie Seattle; and the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.
Since 2006, OPIC has held Expanding Horizons events in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Houston, San Francisco, Boston, St. Louis, Denver, Philadelphia, Orange (CA), Raleigh, New Orleans and New York City.
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.
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